When the narrator begins telling the Golden Calf story, “the people” (the Israelites, v. 1) are acting as their own agent. But when the Lord gets wind of their reveling, God tells Moses to return at once to “your people” (v. 7). Moses will answer by asking why God’s wrath burns hot “against your people” (v. 11). And quick as that, “the people” became the responsibility of either God or Moses. Like the accusatory parents who say to one another, “Look at YOUR child!”
Family Court gathers in session, and the judge in this instance is the narrator, who sides with Moses by referring to them as the Lord’s people. Psalm 100:3 concurs, saying, “Know that the LORD is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” The Lord is stuck with us—thank goodness!
We couldn’t ask for a better parent. But oh, the heartache and grief we will bring. Yet as God’s precious children, we are relentlessly loved and pursued by a parent who pours God’s divine self out for us in daily renewals of grace. And for what?
More heartache, probably. But eventually, for homecoming, for joy, for reconciliation, relationship, and shalom. That is the promise.
In her poignant memoir, The Still Point of the Turning World, Emily Rapp reflects on the love, care, and attention she willingly gave to her child, Ronan, while he lived his 35 incurable months through Tay-Sachs. She said that he taught her “children do not exist to honor their parents; their parents exist to honor them.” Not that God honors our sin and willful ways, but God, who loves us to the end and back, honors our heartfelt cries. God listens when we pray. The question is, do we listen to God?
What am I praying for? How could I honor God, who honors me with daily renewals of grace?
God, thank you for loving me, your child. Help me to live a life that honors you. May I always remember who and whose I am. Amen.