This sermon is an Old Testament illustration of how the relationship of God's people with God is based on God's gracious character, as opposed to law-keeping. The background is that Moses received the law on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 20) and the people broke the law before he even returned with it (Ex. 32). Moses, although he obliterated the clay tablets in his anger at the people, interceded for them, praying that they would not be destroyed by the wrath of God (Ex. 32:31). Moses then carried the newly hewn tablets back up on the mountain to receive a response from God. While Moses went to the mountain the people waited like guilty defendants for God's verdict. Would God, who had given the law, destroy the people? What God revealed to Moses is that He is a God of grace and mercy.
Have you ever wondered, "Could the Lord possibly forgive someone who has sinned like I have? Would the Lord be willing to forgive me?" I ask you these questions because sometimes people tell me that they don't think that God could forgive them. They say, "Preacher, if you only knew what I have done you would wonder about God's forgiveness too."
If any of us are asking, "Could the Lord forgive me?" we are not too different from those first people who broke God's Ten Commandments. According to the Bible, Moses hadn't even made it down from Mt. Sinai when the Israelites built and worshiped a golden calf - breaking God's new covenant. In anger Moses smashed the two huge stones containing the commandments, but later begged God for mercy on behalf of the people. In Exodus 34, the Bible tells us that Moses ascended the mountain with two freshly hewn tablets to discover God's verdict. The people must have pondered, "Can the Lord of law forgive us?" The message from God, then and now, is there is hope for forgiveness! Today, I want us to examine the reasons we have hope for forgiveness.
I. We have hope for forgiveness because God is gracious (34:6).
A. God reveals himself as compassionate.
B. God reveals himself as gracious.
II. We have hope for forgiveness because God is slow to anger (34:6-7)
A. God is not quick to act in judgment when we sin against him.
B. God's patience allows us an opportunity to repent.
III. We have hope for forgiveness because God is full of love.
A. God is abounding (full of) love and faithfulness.
B. God maintains love toward thousands.
IV. We have hope for forgiveness because God forgives all kinds of sin (34:8)
A. God's nature is that he is willing to forgive.
B. God's nature is that he is willing to forgive all kinds of wrong.
God revealed his character to His people after they had broken His law. While they may have understood Him initially as a Lord of law, He revealed that He is the God of grace. Have you found hope for forgiveness in your life? You can be forgiven today by the compassionate and gracious God. There is no sin that you have committed that he is unable or unwilling to forgive. Through the gift of His only son, God has shown us His desire to forgive us. In the silence of this moment, tell God your desire to receive his forgiveness.