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Monday, September 09, 2019

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I have long enjoyed this glimpse of God's exasperation, jealousy, and temper. Moses must have had a lot of confidence in their relationship to push back in the midst of divine rage! Now that I'm a parent, I can empathize with God's outburst. When I get angry with my children, it's rarely just about them. It's about my expectations dashed and the flickers of my own image in their mannerisms and actions. It's about my love for them that can be so fierce and vulnerable -- it's scary.

God's big, bold feelings are real and right. But so are Moses' words, gently spoken to remind God who God is. What a strange relief to know that God needs reminding sometimes too! Coming home to our true selves can require an external word. God has Moses. Who speaks you back into your relationships and promises? And what words in scripture and worship guide you back to your true self?

Relenting God, you keep promises even and especially when we do not. Thank you for loving us so fully and fiercely. Amen.

Meta Herrick Carlson, '08
Pastor, Bethlehem Lutheran Church Twin Cities, Minnetonka (Minn.) Campus

Exodus 32:7-14 (NRSV)

7 The Lord said to Moses, "Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely;
8 they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!' "
9 The Lord said to Moses, "I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are.
10 Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation."
11 But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, "O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
12 Why should the Egyptians say, 'It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth'? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people.
13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, 'I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.' "
14 And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.