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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 151

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Moses continued...

When the Scriptures speak of great wrath coming from the Lord of hosts, we tend to forget that this wrath was not aimed at the godless, or those who had no knowledge of Him, but to those who considered themselves the people of God.

When we play games with God, we will always lose. When we discount the word of God, the warnings of God, and the messages of God, we will always suffer the consequences of our indifference and apathy.

God had already weighed the people and found them wanting. God had already passed sentence on the whole of Israel, decreeing that His wrath would consume them. And yet Moses begins to intercede for Israel. Moses knew God was right. Moses knew God wasn’t making up the details about the people having become corrupt, or abandoning the way which He had commanded them to follow, and yet he still intercedes on their behalf.

Exodus 32:11-13, “Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: ‘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 speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth?’ Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to 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 descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’”

Notice that upon hearing the people had abandoned God, Moses didn’t run down the mountain to the people to try and reason with them. He remained in the presence of the Lord, and began to intercede on their behalf.

The first thing Moses does is come before the Lord in prayer and supplication on behalf of a people that had given their hearts over to idolatry.

Moses pleaded with the Lord his God. We see the personal nature of the relationship Moses had with God. We see that unlike Jacob, who called God, the God of his fathers, Moses knew God intimately and personally.

In order to be able to intercede on behalf of others, God must first be your Lord. When God is Lord of your life, it essentially means He has power, authority and control over you. You are no longer your own, you no longer do as you please; you are a servant beholden to your Lord, doing all He commands you to do.

Even though Moses pleaded and interceded on behalf of the people, even though he wanted to see them spared, he also wanted to see honor brought to the name of God.

‘Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth?’

Even when interceding on behalf of others, even when standing in the gap for an entire nation, we must also seek the glory and honor of God. Will our prayer honor God? Will our prayer bring glory to Him?

Moses was equally concerned about the people themselves, as he was about what the Egyptians would say concerning the Lord his God.

If only the men and women of our day who call themselves sons and daughters of God would be as aware and concerned about the honor and glory of God as Moses was.

Tragically we live in a day and age wherein even those who call themselves shepherds of God’s flock have no qualms about heaping shame upon the household of faith, and by relation upon the name of God Himself.

It is because such individuals are unconcerned with the glory and honor of the God they purport to serve that they pursue practices and lifestyles unbecoming a child of God.

Even in such a delicate circumstance wherein the fate of an entire nation hung in the balance, the honor and glory of God were still at the forefront of Moses’s mind.

What a world it would be if all the children of God filtered every decision they made, every word they said, everywhere they went, and everything they did through whether or not it brought honor and glory to God.

It takes boldness to plead with God the way Moses did, especially when he knew the people were deserving of what God had purposed to do. Not once throughout his prayer, did Moses even intimate that God was overreacting, or that somehow the people did not deserve His judgment being poured out upon them. Not once did Moses say ‘I think you’re being a bit harsh Lord,’ because he knew the justice of God, and that in His justice God was justified in consuming the whole of His people.

What we fail to understand, at least from reading this passage in Exodus, is just how much Moses pleaded with God. Near the end of his life, Moses looks back on the journey of God’s people, of how God saved them from the hands of the Egyptians, and in the telling of this, he also revisits the time when God had purposed to destroy the nation for its rebellion and sin.

Deuteronomy 8:18-19, “And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you committed in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the Lord was angry with you, to destroy you. But the Lord listened to me at that time also.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When you get to the end of the coverage of Moses, I hope you will talk about him not being allowed to cross over into the promised land. I never understood that. I have always felt a sort of pain on Moses' behalf - it just seems such an out-of-proportion punishment to whatever Moses did to deserve that.

Thanks.