The Lord tells Moses to take the people and leave Mount Sinai for Canaan; and again tells him that He will send an angel, but He will not go with them. The people feel the loss in this proclamation (verse 4), and Moses intercedes. Moses has matured, and has found favor with God, and their relationship reminds us of that of the Lord with Abraham – as verse 11 even uses the comparison of their conversations to that which occurs between friends. God’s favor with Abraham as friend is recounted in Isaiah 41:8, where He reassures His people; as well as in James 2:23.
Moses also brings Abraham’s bargaining intercession to mind (from Genesis 18:22-33), as he pleads for the people in verses 12-16. the Lord agrees in verse 17 because Moses has “found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Despite His very real and righteous anger, the Lord seems to be training Moses as the leader that He wants him to be. His request in verse 18 should be understood as desire for an outward sign of his favor with the Lord as His chosen leader of the people.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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