At once Moshe bowed his head to the ground, prostrated himself and said, “If I have now found favor in your view, Adonai, then please let Adonai go with us, even though they are a stiffnecked people; and pardon our offenses and our sin; and take us as your possession.”-Exodus 34:8-9
When Moses falls on his face before the Lord pleading that the horrendous sins of the people be forgiven, what we’re witnessing is a perfect example of how we are to approach the Lord when we have sinned against Him.
This can be summed up in the following three steps.
Realize that a sin has been committed. No excuses or sidestepping here. Until you are aware of your sin and fully accept that what you did was wrong and wicked, we’re not even going to get to 1st base.
Confess with your mouth (using words) that you have sinned. Until you actually articulate in speech that you have sinned, you haven’t really confessed.
Finally, ask for forgiveness. Get down on your knees and beg for mercy to be restored.
Now I sense one fundamental difference between how things were for Moses and the Hebrews during this time and the post-crucifixion believer in Yeshua.
Moses had to wait for an answer from the Lord.
Would the Lord say “Yes I will forgive” or would He say “No I won’t”.
The truth is, people in Moses’ day were often worried and anxious if their sins had really been forgiven.
When someone committed a trespass against the Lord, it required a sacrificial ritual to atone for the act.
There were were fears that one’s sacrifice might not be accepted by the Lord if, for example…
…the sacrifice wasn’t performed properly
…it wasn’t done within a certain designated period of time
…the priest officiating over the ceremony was ritually unclean etcetera.
However, today, thanks to the shed blood of Yeshua, we can now have full assurance we are forgiven if we confess with contrite hearts.
The spiritual takeaway for today is one that must be noted with the greatest sobriety.
Notice that while God forgives Israel and restores them, He still has not agreed to dwell among them and He hasn’t gone back to calling them “My People” yet.
The Lord is still ticked off.
The lesson to be learned here is this: while the Lord has forgiven Israel, a portion of their privileges and the intimacy that existed between Israel and the Lord is going to be missing for a period of time.
This is God’s discipline at work.
There are CONSEQUENCES for our sins even if we are fully forgiven folks.
The modern evangelical teaching that Christians can sin without consequence is about as Scriptural as a roasted boar stuffed with shrimp is kosher.