Deuteronomy 9:1-14 The Lord reminded the Israelites that He is the power that will destroy the inhabitants from the land they are about to enter. It isn’t Israel’s righteousness that will drive them out, but the Lord’s righteousness and the wickedness of the people that live there. God made this promise to Abraham, even though the Israelites are a stubborn people. Moses reminded them of their stubbornness by retelling the story of how those God rescued from Egypt provoked the Lord from the day they left Egypt up until now. Moses retells the story of how he received the the Ten Commandments written by the finger of God on two stone tablets, and when he came down from the mountain, the people had built a golden calf. God wanted to destroy the people and start over building a new nation through Moses.
Notes: In the ancient world, victory in battle was regarded as a reward for one’s righteousness in the eyes of the gods. Israel is warned away from such thinking.
Deuteronomy 9:15-29 Moses broke the tablets before the eyes of the people. He then interceded for the people and pleaded to God to forgive them. The Lord was also about to destroy Aaron, but Moses interceded and Aaron was spared. Moses destroyed the golden calf. Again, they rebelled and was afraid to enter the land that the 12 men spied out. Moses interceded again and reminded the Lord of His promised Covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If God destroyed the Israelites, the inhabitants of the lands would accuse God of hating his own chosen people.
Notes: The primary basis of intercession for mercy is the Abrahamic promise. Two wrong statements might be made if Israel is destroyed. The first is that God is impotent to save; the second is that he hated Israel. Both are untrue.