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Moses finally returns down the mountain to the people of Israel, but what does he find? A people engaged in patient prayer? No. In fact, the situation is quite the opposite. Having grown impatient they have despaired of Moses and created their own god out of gold. Moses is so furious with the idolatrous scene that confronts him that he throws down the tablets of stone containing God’s covenant, smashing them to piece on the ground.

This violent gesture symbolises God’s anger when we turn away from Him to worship other gods – money, power, pleasure and neglect our Creator God. Moses calls the righteous to him and commands them to exact grave punishment on their brothers who have disobeyed God’s commandments. Moses then returns up the mountain to God to plead forgiveness on behalf of his people, offering himself as a sacrifice. But God sends Moses back to lead the people with the help of an angel.

After the arrest of Jesus, Judas realises what he has done and tries to make amends by returning the blood money. He is rejected by those who paid him to betray Jesus but rather than seeking God’s forgiveness, he turns away in despair and hangs himself.

Peter too betrays Jesus, denying Him three times, just as Jesus had predicted. But when the cock crows, Peter remembers the words of Jesus and wept bitterly. Unlike Judas, Peter did not despair and whilst he remained at a distance as the events of that first Good Friday unfolded, as we now know, Peter was changed forever. God had plans for him to be the foundation stone on which he would build his church, and God’s plan would not be thwarted by man’s weakness.

God has plans for each one of us too and whilst we may fall many times during our journey of faith, a repentant heart will ensure that God’s merciful and abundant love will ensure his plans for us are fulfilled if we remain faithful to Him.

Scripture: Exodus 32:1-33:23; Matthew 26:69-27:14; Psalm 33:1-11; Proverbs 8:33-36