Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pleading with God...

Moses, even though he was one of the humblest men to ever walk the face of the earth and a seemingly timid person at that, was also, at times, amazingly bold. At one such instance, he pleaded and even begged with God on behalf of the Israelite nation for God to stay with them...even at the possible expense of his very own life.

The Israelites had been miraculously saved from their bondage in Egypt. They had arrived in the wilderness, marching to a land that God had promised them and witnessed the great and might hand of God in the parting of the waters and the destruction of Pharaoh's army.

At this point, God gives them promises and warnings (Exodus 23) and literally lays down their marching orders. In one passage, Moses tells the people all the commands of the Lord and the people respond with a single voice saying, "We will do everything that the Lord has commanded."

However, just a few short chapters later, when Moses and Joshua are delayed from coming down from the mountain of God, the people, led by Aaron, get together and fashion a golden calf. Everything that they had recently promised to do and the following of God's ordinances were quickly scuttled. They quickly changed their fear and obedience of the Lord for the false worship of an idol. The Bible says that they, "sat down to eat and drink and then got up to play."

Moses returns to the camp in fury. He smashes the stone tablets received from God on behalf of the people. He calls out Aaron who makes a feeble excuse. He challenges the Levites to exact God's cleansing on the camp and 3,000 men fall dead to the Levites' swords.

But God's wrath is even greater. He says that for their act of disobedience, He will not go with them because they are a stiff-necked people. He is holy and His holiness could not be associated with their sinfulness otherwise He might destroy them along the way.

The people mourned when they heard this. The came to Moses and asked him to plead with God not to abandon them. Moses takes up their cause and in essence God's cause and goes to meet Him outside the camp. He goes to plead with God to reconsider and he lays his life and his reputation on the line on behalf of the people and, more importantly, on behalf of the glory of God.

Moses pleads with God,...

"Now consider that this nation is Your people...If your presence does not go...don't make us go up from here. How will it be known that I and Your people have found favor in Your sight unless You go with us? I and Your people will be distinguished by this from all the other people on the face of the earth." Exodus 33:13-16)

Moses boldly pleads with God..."Go with us". And his argument is less for the sake of the Israelites and more for the sake of God's Name and Glory among the nations.

God responds, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest..." (Exodus 33:14)

I am not sure that I could plead with God like Moses did. Call it fear, call it lack of conviction, call it whatever you want. I am intimidated at thinking about what he did in this passage.

To boldly challenge God's decision in anything is beyond my scope of understanding. I do understand that this all had to eventually do with God's glory being made known and that God's glory must take priority over everything. This includes my personal comfort or safety. It also includes anything that I or your hold dear.

In the very next verse (Exodus 33:19), Moses asks a favor of God. He says, "Please, let me see Your glory..."

To plead with God on behalf of others and more importantly on behalf of His Name and then to ask to see His glory?

These are some deep, deep thoughts...

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