In Exodus, chapter 32, we find people giving things up.
In verse 3, all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron to make a golden calf to worship in the place of the God who brought them out of Egypt with a strong arm and mighty hand. Oh, what foolishness to say “Our God” to the work of their hands.
In verses 10 and 11, Moses gave up the opportunity to be the Patriarch of God’s people in exchange for God’s mercy on a sinful people. God’s mercy is necessary for life.
In verse 19, Moses gave up tablets of the law written by God himself in order to express anger at the people. Bringing people to repentance is better than the most valuable rocks in all human history, better than the most just laws ever written.
In verse 20, the people drank the gold dust that had formerly been rings in their ears and the idol of their heart. What answer to the prayer – “Lead us not into temptation.”
In verse 27, the sons of Levi slew each his brother and his companion and his neighbor in exchange for ordination for the service of the Lord and a blessing. They learned there is something more important than life, a commandment more important than, “Thou shall not kill.”
In verse 32, Moses was willing to give up his name in God’s book in exchange for the forgiveness of the people. This, too, was a choice Jesus was willing to make on the cross.
Oh, praise the mercy and lovingkindness of our God!