God Changed His Mind
“And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.” But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’” And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.”
God changed his mind about destroying the Israelites because Moses asked him to. He didn't change his mind because Moses had a better or wiser idea or because Moses was more generous or forgiving. He changed his mind because Moses was his friend. Their friendship was stronger than God’s need to do something His way. That’s what it means to be God, to be so great that your power and humility don’t contradict. God can defer to others and still accomplish His purposes. He doesn’t need to do everything His way. It’s what our liturgies keep telling us, they describe Him this way, “lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.” The wonder of that combination—His deference and supremacy—will never cease to amaze me. In our zeal to protect and preserve God’s omnipotence and omniscience we forget the one thing absolutely central to His identity, His Omnibenevolence. God is preparing us for eternal friendship, an undying life of conversation, camaraderie, and common pursuits—the pleasure of just being together. He won’t be satisfied until His heart and our heart beats as one.