I’ve been reading in the book of Deuteronomy lately. I’m not sure why, but that’s where I’ve been camped lately. And as I read the history of the people of Israel, the life lessons just jump out at me.
Recently I was reading in chapter 9 how the people of Israel unbelievably turned their backs on God and started to worship a golden calf THEY made. It made God so mad that He told Moses He was going to destroy them and erase their name from under heaven.
We are not in the habit of making golden idols but the reaction from God shows how serious He is about being the only One worshiped. Sometimes I fail at that even though it is my hearts desire to please Him. I don’t always get it right. And then there are those that we know (and some we love) who live in such rebellion against God that we think some punishment toward them is a pretty good idea.
Have you ever seen people do things that you just can’t understand? That are just unbelievable? They live to serve themselves or their agenda and worship the life they have made. And we are tempted to think, “Lord just punish them so they don’t get away with this.” But as I read farther in Deut. 9 I’m convicted by the man Moses. it says:
“18“Then, as before, I threw myself down before the Lord for forty days and nights. I ate no bread and drank no water because of the great sin you had committed by doing what the Lord hated, provoking him to anger. 19I feared that the furious anger of the Lord, which turned him against you, would drive him to destroy you. But again he listened to me.”
What if we were like Moses? What if we stopped wanting God to punish people but fell on our faces before God begging for mercy for people? What if we stood in the gap for those who sin, asking God to give them another chance so that they might see His kindness? For those who have hurt us even.
“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” – Romans 2:4
In addition, what would our neighborhoods, our families, our lives, our churches and hearts look like if we prayed like Moses for those around us? Especially those who don’t deserve grace.
Are the rebellious wrong? Yes. But I’ve been rebellious. Is grace deserved? No. But then I’ve received it anyway. Stand in the gap and ask for grace for those who are in sin. God will hear your prayers, and they may be just what is needed to turn around a life. And that might change your life as well.