In Exodus we see the people straying from God’s way. They turn aside and succumb to the temptations to put other things before God’s will. They exalt their own needs over the call from God to follow the path revealed to them. God threatens to consume them but Moses, the great intercessor, convinces God to forgive the people and give them another chance. As the Psalm points out, Moses was the chosen one of God, selected by God to lead the people along the right path.
Fast forward to the time when Jesus walks the earth. There is ample evidence before the people that He is the Chosen One – John the Baptizer’s testimony, the works that Jesus does in God’s name, the testimony of the Father, and the revelation from Scriptures. Jesus points out to the people that they want it both ways – they want to rely on the Scriptures, but then they reject the message of Jesus, whom the Scriptures point to as the Messiah. Jesus catches them in the inconsistency of their beliefs – they place their hope in Moses, but then fail to believe in Jesus, about whom Moses wrote.
Who is our intercessor? Who pleads our case to God when we stray? It seems there are many ways we can stray today from following God’s way, many ways we can put other things before God’s will. Our materialistic society emphasizes things for their own sake, and not for the good they can do when used in accordance with God’s will. We can become so busy with our daily-ness that we forget the long view of eternity. We become so focused on us that we forget the other. We become so self-reliant that we forget our basic reliance on God.
So Lent comes to remind us of our straying. The readings remind us that we are weak and prone to be narrow in our views and selfish in our attitudes. And the Lenten and Easter season reminds us that we have the Greatest Intercessor, the Chosen One, who illuminates a path for us with His wisdom, His example, and His love. Do we accept Him? Or are we like the people of Jesus’ time, who had all the evidence in front of them, who relied on Scriptures for guidance but refused to see the love of God in front of them, who refused to come to Jesus for life?
The refrain in John Becker’s “Lead Me, Lord” has a line that says “Lead me, Lord . . . to seek and to find the narrow way.” The Israelites strayed from the narrow way, and God allowed Moses to lead them back onto the path. We stray from the narrow way, and Jesus is there to lead us back.
My prayer today is to accept the help and guidance of Jesus, to follow Him back on the narrow way, and to walk knowing that when I stray again, Jesus will be there again to help me.
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