And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.” But Moses implored the LORD his God and said, “O LORD, … Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven …” And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.
Could the very God Who knew all things before He ever spoke “Let there be light” into the unformed cosmos, the very God Who was slain before the foundation of the world, the very God Who prophesied His coming salvation not just in the earliest, most primitive pages of Holy Scripture but in every facet of the created world—through seeds that get buried in the earth, die, and rise again, to the songs of songbirds and the buds of flowers and the buzzing of bees that springtime resurrects from a cold, dead winter—need a sinful, little man’s reassurance? Absolutely not! See, friend, Moses doesn’t know what God knows. Even with Red Sea partings and Sinai summits, he’s only seen the outer rays of gospel light from afar off. So this is a test of Moses’s faith here—not of God’s faithfulness. This is a demonstration of Moses’ strength of character—not of God’s weakness. This is a reaffirmation of Moses’ confidence in the promises—not of God’s sudden amnesia.
Remember: Moses will ultimately throw in the towel on this stiff-necked people. He’ll lack the divine stamina needed to carry Redemption’s enormous weight. But God will be there long after Moses falls. God will be there when men do what’s right in their own eyes and make a trash-bin of society. God will be there in the exiles and tribal wars and famines and blasphemies and desecrations, all the way to a Roman cross where He’ll hover over the darkness and whisper a word of pardon. History’s clear: we’re the ones who throw in the towel and strike the rock and quit when the going gets too tough. Not God! He never needed our reassurances when beginning the gospel story, and He doesn’t need our reassurances to finish it.