You’re Not All ThatBy Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
Continuing from where we left off, Moshe says the people must be careful not to think the reason God drove the Canaanites out is because the Jews are so perfect. They’re not. The Canaanites are being driven out because of their own inherent corruption, not because of anything to do with the Jews. If anything, the Jewish people can be downright exasperating at times!
Moshe then recounted a number of occasions on which the Jews pushed God’s buttons – even at Sinai! Moshe had spent forty days on the mountain without food or drink so that he could get the Torah for the people. He comes down and what does he find? The people rejoicing before a statue of a cow! Moshe smashed the tablets of the law, then he had to intercede between the people and God.
They provoked God at other times, with complaints about the food and such. When they refused to take the land because of the spies’ report, it was the last straw. It took all of Moshe’s strength to keep God from wiping the nation out then and there.