In the 1920s, golfer David Mulligan was unable to warm up for his first round. He hit a poor drive off the first tee, so, much to the amazement of his playing buddies, he re-teed and hit another ball. He told his playing partners he was taking a “correction shot.” His second chance soon became known as “taking a mulligan.” Sometimes, we all need a mulligan in life.
When Moses descended from Mount Sinai, holding the Law of the Lord in his hands, he heard and saw the Israelites worshiping a golden calf. A righteous anger burned inside him, and he destroyed the divine tablets, breaking them into pieces (Ex. 32:19). In our text today, Yahweh commanded Moses to bring Him two new stones up on Mount Sinai (34:1–3). Moses did as he was told and saw another side of Yahweh. As the Lord passed in front of Moses, He revealed His gentleness and compassion and gave Moses and the Israelites another chance.
At a time when Yahweh could have removed Himself from the presence of a wicked and idol- worshiping people, He continued to love and forgive their rebellion and sin. Moses again acted as the mediator between the people and God and bridged the gap between the Israelites’ depravity and God’s holiness.
Yahweh revealed His character to Moses and used a Hebrew word that means “merciful” but is better translated as “full of compassion.” This is the first time the word is used in the Bible (v. 6). God is also described as gracious (v. 6), meaning that He gives to the undeserving. God’s anger would not get in the way of His love, yet the guilty would not go unpunished (v. 7). Yahweh renewed His covenant with Moses and the Israelites and gave them a second chance (vv. 8–14).
>> Perhaps you have a relationship with someone who has been destroyed by sinful actions and hurtful words. Following God’s example, how can you be compassionate and gracious so that the relationship can have a second chance?
As we process broken relationships, help us find distance from our feelings and perspectives to consider the factors that influenced those we have broken with. Move us with compassion and understanding; lead us to reconciliation.