Saturday, April 23, 2016

PRAYERS OF THE BIBLE SERIES: THE BOOK OF EXODUS #3

STANDING ON THE PROMISES....IN THE GAP
"11 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? 12 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. 13 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.’” 14 So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people. (Exodus 32:11-14)

If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? This is more than a Scripture verse from the Book of Psalms (Psalm 11:3).  It is the question of our time, where true believers and even nominal ones, see the social and moral order crumble right before our eyes. Mankind has always rebelled against God, since the Fall in the Garden (Genesis 3) all the way to present time. Mankind as always ignored the lessons of history, thereby dooming itself to results of those historical lessons.

Still, even given the total depravity of humankind, there have always been a remnant whom God calls His own. Today this is known as the true church – the Body of Christ. Moses was such a man to the rebellious Israelites who were wandering in the deserts for 40 years, due to their rebellion.  Their blasphemy; idol worship; constant grumbling against the God Who freed them and more, compounded their sin as worse than a foul order in front of Holy God. He was prepared to wipe them out.  But Moses, he stepped up and then stepped in.

This would not be the first time Moses had to stand in the gap for over two million people whom the Lord wanted to judge and take out right there and there.  This prayer is one of those times where his heart for God and the Name of the Lord showed in a personally powerful way. Oh, that you and I would have such a closely guarded relationship with Almighty God that we can speak freely with Him (in prayer) and He answers.

Now, just as in the case of America and the world today, God had more and ample justification to destroy any and everything at any time. The same people of Israel whom He had freed from 400 years of bondage in Egypt were conducting pagan orgies and "worship" in front of a massive golden calf, made by Moses' brother himself - Aaron! God had done all the miracles - the Ten Plagues; Passover; the Red Sea Crossing....and more....and here were these people blaspheming Him in the absolute worse sense. He was more than justified.

Moses, on the other hand, what that would mean - the mission would fail and Egypt would have the last laugh. Word of the miraculous escape from Egypt had already spread throughout the region before and after the Red Sea. The Egyptians lost all their top chariot warriors when the waters returned to normal and word of 3-4 million people wandering in the desert heading for Canaan had to have not just alerted the pagan peoples from the Sinai to the Canaan valley and beyond, but put fear into them. There were some wars coming to this region very soon.  Moses was an all in for the struggle, and as disgusted as he was by the pagan display below, he had the heart and will to see the mission through. Most of all, Moses cared deeply about Yahweh - the Great I am.
LESSON#1:
This is confirmed in Hebrews 11:26 where Moses knew to Whom He had been speaking - Jesus Christ! There is a significant lesson to take away from what Moses prayed, and it is the essence of our Christian walk. We must do NOTHING in this world to bring dishonor to God, NOTHING. When we trip, stumble and fall and cause others to defame Christianity (and thus Christ). At all costs, we have to guard the Name of the Lord, more than we do our own names.


In essence, this is what Moses prayed in verses 11 and 12 (Exodus 32): 11 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? 12 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. 

His prayer here was more than just a request for God to spare the people for God's Reputation to be spared from ridicule by the surrounding heathen peoples. Actually, had God destroyed the majority of the millions who sold out (instead of the selected ring leaders who actually paid the price), His Name would have been feared even more throughout the Middle East! Moses also prayed for God to "relent"! He wanted God to more than just change His Mind about killing the perps of this outrage. Moses wanted Him to have compassion once He had gotten over His righteous anger.
LESSON #2:
This is the other lesson for us as intercessors for the nation - let us pray, even though the foundations of society have been removed by evil men and women - let us pray for God to have mercy on our communities and country, that our people may live in peace. National prayer means a nation of prayer warriors on our knees pleading for God's mercy, grace and compassion even as He suffers through the indignity of it all. He will get justice, as we know, when the roll is called up yonder. So this current paradigm is for life as we know it on this planet, as we co-exist with others.
ACTION POINT: BELIEVE THE PROMISES
The next part of this particular prayer is an important one for those who have been saved by Christ and thus have the ability to have our prayers heard by Him. The Lord made many promises to us all through Scripture. The most significant one is when Jesus said "I will never leave nor forsake you". God Himself told His generals like Joshua to be strong and courageous. He never abandons His own. He gives provision, protection and affirmation of our eternally secure position in Him. So when we are especially burdened enough to stand in the gap for a person or our nation, or even our own circumstances, Moses gave us the example here in Exodus 32:13 of how to stand, occupy and live completely submitted to the Power and Promises of God.

He prays thus: "13 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.’”  He claimed the Promises of God because he BELIEVED those Promises.  He had absolute Faith in the absolute Authority and Ability of God to do what He said He will do. 

THE RESULT:
Do we have this strong measure of Faith? Moses spoke regularly with God and thus his faith was the strongest among all of the people of the world at that time. We have the ability to have such amazing faith, all we have to do is draw close to Him; pray, believe and study His Word and surrender all. When we do this and believe in His Word and His promises, look at what happens. Moses believed the Word of God and Exodus 32:14a tells us "So the Lord relented"!!
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