As I was reading through Exodus and Numbers, I was struck by how many times God came close to wiping out Israel in his wrath and judgment. Consider these passages:
“Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them.” (Exodus 32:10)
“When the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1)
“The anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very severe plague.” (Numbers 11:33)
“I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them.” (Numbers 14:12)
“Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them instantly.” (Numbers 16:21)
“Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them instantly.” (Numbers 16:45)
“The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.” (Numbers 21:6)
In each case, Israel had provoked the Lord to anger through sin, rebellion, and never-ending complaints. They had offended God’s holiness. As a result, God responded with wrath. Due to Moses’ humility and intervention, that judgment was turned aside or mitigated each time.
I don’t want us to lose sight of something very important here: God is still holy. He still hates sin. He still experiences wrath. Now, for us, Jesus’ humility and intervention at the cross turns aside or mitigates God’s righteous judgment against us.
We should never take that indescribable grace and love for granted.
We should never forget the holiness of God.