"For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death." 2 Corinthians 7:10
Text: Exodus 33 : 4-6
THE MOURNING OF ISRAEL
The words of God suddenly hit home to the children of Israel! God threatened to remove His personal Presence from their midst! A great sense of sorrow hit their hearts deeply!
“And when the people heard this bad news, they mourned, and
no one put on his ornaments. For the LORD had said to Moses,
‘Say to the children of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people.
I could come up into your midst in one moment and consume you.
Now therefore, take off your ornaments, that I may know what
to do to you.’ So the children of Israel stripped themselves of
their ornaments by Mount Horeb.”
1. “A stiff-necked people”
This was not said just in reference to the worship of the golden calf. These words well described the nation as a whole!
2. “Take off your ornaments”
Did the people really repent of their sins? Apparently they still wore “ornaments” even as they listened to the rebuke Moses gave for their misbehavior! It took another direct word from the Lord, before they actually “mourned” and “stripped themselves of their ornaments”!
3. “That I may know what to do with you”
How should we understand this statement? It does not mean that God was stumped!
a) What it does not mean!
It should not be read in a wooden-literal manner! God knew exactly what He would do- at all times!
b) God’s response was contingent upon appropriate behavior of Israel
God was giving a veiled message to Israel! Were they truly repentant? Would they seek to improve their behavior and not continue in being stiff-necked? As a sign of true remorse and repentance, would they set aside their ornaments?
Only if they were truly repentant would God then reveal to them what course of action He would take!
c) General Direction
Israel would still be able to march towards Canaan! They would have God’s assistance to conquer the dreaded inhabitants of the Promised Land! For all wants and purposes, God would have fulfilled all that He had promised their forefathers! But He reserved the right to decide if He would dwell in their midst, as He originally planned!