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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 156

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

Moses was an imperfect man who trusted in the perfection of God. He was a man for whom humility was a way of life and whose dependency upon God remained constant throughout his journey.

Did Moses make mistakes? Of course he did. He was, after all, a man. But the desire of his heart was always more of God in his life and God honored this.

When we are in the presence of no one but God, and begin to intercede on behalf of others whether a family member, a friend, or an entire nation, our true heart is revealed. Men might feign piety when among other believers, they might feign righteousness when the situation requires it, but there is no profit or benefit in feigning intercession on behalf of others, especially when it’s just you in your prayer closet or your secret place.

In both intent and deed, Moses possessed a pure heart, and desired to see the salvation of the people of Israel. There was no other reason for him to intercede the way he did, with the passion he exhibited, going so far as to put himself in danger for the sake of the people if Moses did not possess true and lasting love for them.

Beholding the world as it is, one would find plenty of excuses to turn their back on the whole thing, find a quiet place somewhere in the foothills of a mountain range, and live out the rest of their life in solitude, just them and God and a few basic necessities.

Love, however, compels us to stand in the gap, to hold the line, and to pray ceaselessly that God open the eyes of the blind, stir hearts to repentance, and cause those who thus far have refused to hear the gospel of Christ, to open their hearts toward it.

We pray and intercede on behalf of others, because the word of God confirms time and again, that intercession works.

When we intercede on behalf of others, and live with the expectation of having our prayers answered, we do so not because they are good, but because God is good.

Exodus 34:9, “Then he said, ‘If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.’”

Moses did not try to sugar coat the reality of the people’s spiritual condition, nor did he try to approach God with the ‘they’re good people’ paradigm. Moses knew that the omniscience and justice of God prevented him from being able to highlight the people’s virtues, so Moses appealed to the mercy of God instead.

Moses acknowledged the stubbornness of the people, as well as their iniquity and sin, and rather than attempt to justify it, minimize it, overlook it or ignore it, he asked for God’s pardon and guidance instead.

One could more readily hide the midday sun than men hide their iniquities and sins from the eyes of God. All knowing is by definition all encompassing, and since God is all knowing our attempt to either justify our iniquity or pretend it does not exist, elicits the anger of God.

One other aspect of the prayer of Moses I have always found intriguing, and one that is a worthwhile lesson for us all, is that Moses was not content to have any surrogates. Moses did not settle for an angel, he prayed and earnestly so, that the Lord Himself, His presence, be with His people, for only in this way would it be known that they had found grace in His sight.

Exodus 33:15-16, “Then he said to Him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”

The only way the world will know we are separate from all the people who are upon the face of the earth, is if the Presence of the Lord is with us. It is the Presence of God, the Holy Spirit dwelling in the heart of the individual that identifies him as sanctified and set apart, and that separates him from all others.

Moses wanted the world to see this distinction among the people of God. He wanted the world to know that they were indeed a peculiar people, a separate people, a people who served their God and whose God protected them and kept them.

It befuddles me that although the word of God clearly tells us we are to be a separate and peculiar people, the modern day church is going out of its way to amalgamate and ingratiate itself to the world.

May we rejoice in that we are a separate people from all the people who are upon the face of the earth. May we rejoice in the reality that the presence of our God in our midst and in our hearts makes us separate and unique.

What makes us separate and unique is not a fish sticker on our back bumper, it is not a membership pin from a particular denomination…it is the Presence of God. If His Presence does not go before us, then there is no point to any of what we do. If His Presence does not go before us, then all our endeavors are futile, our machinations vain, and our proclamations vapid. Moses knew this as well as any hero of the Bible, and he tailored his prayers in such a way that consistently and continually the presence and will of God for himself as well as the nation of Israel was foremost in his petitions.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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