Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Moses' prayers

We've been studying these two weeks about intercessory prayer . . . praying for others, and lifting them up to the Lord for help that only He can provide. I thought we'd spend one day looking at Moses and his prayers for others.
Moses was truly changed by prayer; his mission was created by the cries of the Hebrew children in Egypt. As they prayed to Yahweh for deliverance, their leader was being shaped and prepared in the wilderness. His excuses were overcome by God's words, ensuring His assistance. Even when we look at Moses striding down from the mountain, after spending time with God and receiving the Law, we see he's been changed again: his face shown with dazzling brightness.

Moses' prayers were first found to relieve the terrible weight of God's wrath -- Pharaoh pleaded with him on four separate occasions to pray for him to receive relief from God's plagues. Apparently the wicked ruler was happy to have the scourge lifted, but not impressed enough to let the people go, until the final plague. We can learn from Moses that God is influenced by prayer, and that He hears and answers even when it means that an outcome or situation may change. Surely this points to his promise: "Call upon me and I will answer you."

Moses lived near God, and had the freest and most unhindered and boldest access to God, but this, instead of abating the necessity of prayer, made it more necessary, obvious and powerful. Familiarity and closeness to God gives relish, frequency, point and potency to prayer. Those who know God the best are the richest and most powerful in prayer. Little acquaintance with God, and strangeness and coldness to Him, make prayer a rare and feeble thing.  (Prayer and Praying Men, by Edward M. Bounds)
Over and over again, when God's wrath was kindled by a sinful and forgetful people, Moses interceded for them. He didn't upbraid them and remind them of "just last month, y'all forgot all about God's blessings, and I had to go and ask Him to forgive. Now y'all are doing it again..."  He didn't show irritation, but concern. He went to God and pleaded for these people that he was responsible for.
What a testimony for us to consider! What an example for us to follow!

I'd like to encourage all of us to study Psalm 90. It's widely thought that this is a prayer of Moses, and if you look carefully, you will even see that it follows the acronym that we mentioned recently. I hope it's a blessing to you as you read and study it.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn people back to dust,
    saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight
    are like a day that has just gone by,
    or like a watch in the night.
Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
    they are like the new grass of the morning:
In the morning it springs up new,
    but by evening it is dry and withered.
We are consumed by your anger
    and terrified by your indignation.
You have set our iniquities before you,
    our secret sins in the light of your presence.
All our days pass away under your wrath;
    we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
    or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
    Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be?
    Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
    that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
    for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
    your splendor to their children.
17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
    establish the work of our hands for us—
    yes, establish the work of our hands.

1 comment:

Katie Isabella said...

OH, what a wonderful reminder these familiar verses, and how they re-inspire me yet again.