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.