Sorry for not being available yesterday. I couldn’t upload a new study for Wednesday because the site was unavailable. We’re experiencing some server problems. Hopefully, we’ll be OK through he rest of the week. (Added note: Double sorry. I scheduled this study to publish yesterday, but it seems that the post scheduler isn’t working yet.
This week we’re going to look at some of the Bible’s great prayers. We’ll begin today with Moses prayer for God to spare Israel.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. (Exo 32:7-14)
An Incredible Offer
The Jewish people had provoked God to anger, as they did so many times. They had denied Him and ascribed their deliverance from Egyptian bondange to the idols they made. As Moses was on the mountain with God, Israel was having a drunken sex party in the valley below. God told Moses and then He expressed His desire to destroy the people.
God made Moses an incredible offer: “I’ll destroy them and make a greater nation from your descendents.: Now, these people had been a constant pain in the neck to Moses. They whined and complained. They lied about him. And now God was offering to exterminated the trouble makers and make Moses the founding father of an even greater nation.
An Incredible Response
What would you have said if you were Moses? “When do we get started?” That wasn’t Moses’ attitude, though. He prayed for the people. His prayer has so many elements of powerful praying. Consider these point:
- Moses put the needs of the people he served above his own comfort, fame and promotion.
- Mose reminded the Lord that He had brought the people out of Egypt for a purpose.
- He was concerned with God’s reputation in the world.
- He reminded God of His covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. (God could have followed though on His plan and still fulfilled those promises through Moses, who was a descendant of these men.)
An Amazing Answer
God granted Moses’ request. When the Bible says the Lord “repented of the evil which he thought to do,” it is’t saying that God turned away from sin. Rather, He changed His mind about the judgment He was going to do. (The word is sometimes translated “calamity” or “harm.”
Now you might be thinking, “God knows everything – He knew He wasn’t going to destroy the people.” It’s true that He knew, but I believe He would have followed through if not for the prayer of Moses. Consider this passage:
The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.
In this passage, God said that He would have withheld His judgment if someone would have stepped up and came before God in prayer for the nation. Since no one was found, He executed wrath on the Israel. So, you can see that the prayers of one person can, in fact, save a nation. What an opportunity?
What About You?
- Do you pray unselfishly?
- Is the honor of God a prayer priority for you?
- Do you pray according to the promises and principles of the Bible?
- Are you taking advantage of the opportunity you have to save the nation?