Thursday, August 21, 2008

God's Forgiveness

In the first set of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), the Torah makes it quite clear that God will distance Himself from, and even punish, those who do not follow His commandments and will reward those who do follow the given path (see Exodus 20:2-6). Yet shortly thereafter, as the people wait at the foot of Mt. Sinai for Moses to return, they create and worship the Golden Calf. Logically, based on the covenant that had been forged at Mt. Sinai, upon sinning so grievously the people should have been immediately destroyed by God.

Only Moses understood how close to destruction the Israelites were, and only Moses had the ability to petition God not to smite them. Moses knew, the covenant of accountability notwithstanding, that God awaits the petitions and prayers of his people. In fact, God taught Moses how to elicit a more merciful response (Exodus 34:6-7), one that takes into account the peoples’ need for time to improve and change. If the people repent, the punishment will be averted.

Forgiveness comes in all sizes, shapes and packages. If God can forgive His people even when complete destruction is warranted, then humans should surely emulate the Divine quality of self-control in order to avoid serious confrontations with others.

Anyone can ask for forgiveness. Visit

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