Jonathan Sacks had some very interesting words on Parshat Ki Tisa which can be listened to here - http://chiefrabbi.jellycast.com/node/66
He asks about the conversation between Moses and G-d, where Moses pleads on behalf of Israel, asking to not be mentioned in His book if He would decide to destroy Israel. The reason given by Moses (for G-d not to destroy Israel) is most accurately translated in English as "Because they are are a stiff-necked people". The obvious question according to this translation is - why would being a "stiff-necked" or stubborn people be to any nation's credit? Elsewhere is that not G-d's actual critiscm of Israel?
He quotes a 20th century Rabbi who experienced the horrors of WW2 (listen to the audio for his full name and history) who suggests that Moses could be read to be refering to Israel's stubborn faith. In other words, "just as they stubbornly betrayed You with the Golden Calf, so too will they stubbornly keep their faith in You in the future".
The Chief brings some powerful stories, the first from a 15th century historian about a father who having found his child deceased (from starvation after escaping the Spanish Inquisition) turns to G-d and says "Master of the Universe, the one thing I won't let You do is take away my faith in You".