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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 152

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

Forty days and forty nights is how long Moses spent interceding on behalf of Israel so God would not destroy it…forty days and forty nights of no food and no water, just pleading and intercession.

When Moses interceded on behalf of Israel, it was by no means a quick and passionless exercise. He didn’t just throw up a prayer, hoped God heard it, and made his way down the mountain to get a good view of what was about to happen. Moses pleaded with God. For forty days and forty nights, Moses did nothing else except pray and intercede and hope to change the mind of God in regards to consuming the people with His wrath.

Because Moses was passionately selfless, he was an effective intercessor. Because Moses cared more for the wellbeing of God’s people than his own, God’s heart was stirred, and He gave ear to his pleas.

Exodus 32:30-32, “And it came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people, ‘You have sinned a great sin. So now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.’ Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, ‘Oh, these people have sinned a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin – but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which you have written.’”

Moses was ready to sacrifice himself on behalf of the people. He went before God and asked that his name be blotted from His book if God would not forgive the people their transgression.

If ever we needed a definition of what it means to stand in the gap, this is it.

God being just, He did not blot Moses’s name from His book, but there were consequences to the sins of the people, and those who did sin against the Lord, did have to pay a price.

Exodus 32:33, “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.’”

From this verse we can glean that not all the people of Israel participated in the worship of the golden calf. Not all of them were caught up in the mob mentality, bowing before a graven image and forsaking the God who had guided and led them. Some remained faithful, stood strong, and continued serving God even when the majority went on to worship an idol.

There is a lesson in this for every one of us. God does not judge collectively, He judges individually. The ‘everyone else is doing it so I guess it’s okay’ mentality doesn’t cut it with God.

His message to Moses was clear: ‘whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.’

Each of us is accountable for our choices. God will not judge me for the choices you’ve made, nor will He judge you for the choices I’ve made. Each of us will stand before God on that great day as individuals, and as individuals we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

Should we pray for each other, intercede on behalf of each other, be a present help for each other, and feel for each other? Most definitively, without equivocation, yes!

We can even counsel each other, and lovingly rebuke when we see a brother or a sister straying, but in the end, those who sin against God will be held to account.

Even though Moses prayed, even though he interceded, even though he attempted to atone for the sins of the people, the justice of God is still the justice of God, and He made it clear to Moses that although He relented in His wrath and did not destroy all the people, those who sinned against Him would suffer the consequences of their actions.

God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but the death of the wicked is a direct result and consequence of the sin they chose not to repent of.

It is evident, and beyond doubt that Moses loved people. He loved the people of God, but he also had love in his heart for those who had sinned, and rebelled against God’s commandments.

It was love that compelled Moses to go up to the Lord, and attempt to make atonement for the people’s sins.

When we are servants of God, we love as He loves, and this compels us to intercession and to pleading on behalf of the people more than we would otherwise do for ourselves.

Nowhere in the word of God are we told that Moses interceded for himself for forty days and forty nights, but he did just that on behalf of the people when they sinned against God.

The tenderness of one’s heart toward the lost says allot about a man, and reveals the level of his relationship with God.

You cannot love God, and hate God’s people. You cannot love God, and be indifferent toward those whom He said He would watch over. There must be a consistency in us in regards to our relationship with our fellow man that cannot be faked or otherwise mimicked.

Moses even interceded and pleaded with God for those who spoke evil against him and despised him.

It all started when Moses married an Ethiopian woman. Since Miriam his sister and Aaron his brother disapproved, they began to speak against Moses. No sooner had they began to speak against him, than Miriam was struck with leprosy.

Moses knew why Miriam had been struck with leprosy. He knew that she, along with their brother, had been speaking against him, yet we find Moses coming before God pleading for her healing.

A lesser man would have pointed to Miriam and said, ‘behold, this is what becomes of those who speak against the servant of the Lord,’ but Moses prayed for her healing.

There is much to be said about the character of a man, when he even prays for his enemies and those that speak against him. May we be spoken of as Moses was, as men and women of integrity and character who seek the face of the Lord on behalf of others.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ok, how can this be explained:

God is just.
He judges us as individuals, according to the sins we ourselves have committed.
Among the Israelites, some remained faithful while others worshiped the idol.
God in His wrath FIRST intended to destroy ALL of them - but in response to Moses' intercession, relented, and judged only those who had worshiped the idol.

??? God originally meant to wipe them all out, even the faithful ones???

Barbara said...

Perhaps Moses was even too soft hearted towards other Jews/members of his flock/members of his congregatoin. Isn't his passion over his bretheren what caused him to kill the Egyptian? He was so in love with his people that they were literally driving him crazy and making him beg God not to have to lead them any more. Sometimes it is good to have distance between what you do and what those around you are doing. You don't want to join in with Babylon the Great and be partakers of her sins. I think that is what happens when peopel just blindly join a church using Christ's name, no matter what spirtual fornication they see inside.

Moses was a good guy but not perfect. We see alot of his faults in his story also. Miriam did get what she deserved. If Moses wasn't so worried about protecting her, he woudlnt' have gotten upset when she woudln't obey God.

Everyone has to live their own life in the end. Those who you choose to listen to and associate with and follow will affect how you turn out yourself.

Anonymous said...

This is in answer to “Anonymous”, who wonders why God had intended to destroy ALL the Israelites before Moses interceded, including those who had refrained from worshipping the golden calf.

Many of them openly worshipped the golden calf and indulged in lustful revelry, while others passively watched. Why didn’t these watchers stand up against such brazen rejection of the true God? Were they perhaps tacitly in sympathy with the idolators? Even Aaron was taken in to a great extent, and he himself might very well have been disowned by the LORD had Moses not intervened.

The LORD knows each one of us through and through, even better than we know ourselves. Were those passive Israelites really innocent? Even before the golden calf incident, God had put up with their endless grumbling and their forgetfulness of His awesome interventions on their behalf.

Now, look ahead to the time when these same people were approaching the promised land, in Numbers 14, verse 22-23 where the LORD declares: “Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it…” Verse 29: “Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me…”

There they were, finally at the edge of the promised land; yet the LORD, because of their attitude, now sentenced them to wander forty years in the wilderness where all of the older generation would die except for Joshua and Caleb. Verse 35: “I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation…” These people had been storing up a great mass of unrepentant sin and ingratitude from the time they left Egypt until they reached the promised land. They had never truly trusted in the LORD. These were the people who had REFRAINED from open worship of the golden calf, and yet God called them “evil”.

“Anonymous”, I personally trust in all His judgments against mankind. How about you? Who else besides God knows each soul inside and out? His judgments are always righteous.

In Christ,

Melanie

Anonymous said...

Wow, Melanie, that's a great explanation. I hadn't thought of that, that the onlookers may not have worshiped the idol but they sure didn't try to stop it either! Sins of commission are easier to see sometimes than the sins of omission ...

Thanks!