Moses Intercessor

by Kenneth J Price

The days in which we live and the days ahead of us are critical and strenuous. The only way through these days in which we are living, and the days immediately ahead of all of us, is to pray. Prayer is a hard task. It may be comparatively easy to continue in all the mechanical efforts that are necessary for our living, but prayer demands even greater effort than all.

Let us examine the four great avenues of service to God as revealed in His Word: firstly our LIVING, in which we are exhorted to "let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16); secondly our SERVICE, which should be under the direction of the Holy Spirit, as we read: "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, departed ...." (Acts 13:2-4).

Thirdly, our GIVING, where in a very sensitive area of our lives we have some encouraging examples in God's Word. "Take from among you an offering unto the LORD: whomsoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD … and they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing … and the children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the LORD had commanded to be made by the hands of Moses" ((Exodus 35:5,21,29).

And so the Tabernacle was provided for, and later the Temple: "I (David) have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, given to the house of my God ... then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel ... offered willingly ... and they with whom precious stones were found gave them ... Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy" (I Chronicles 29:3,6,8,9).

Fourthly, our PRAYING, without which the rest is useless. Daniel showed us some intercessory prayer on behalf of his people which God answered with mighty power. "Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.

"O my God, incline thine ear and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.

"O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name" (9:17-19).

Prayer transforms OUR LIVING. Prayer gives power for SERVICE. Prayer multiplies GIVING. And though it may be true that our LIVING, SERVING and GIVING may be limited, prayer can have immeasurable impact. Prayer can encircle the globe; therefore, we would do well to follow in the footsteps of that great intercessor, Moses.

We remember Moses as the Law-giver, as the Deliverer of God's people, as a Writer of Holy Scripture, and it was under God that his contributions was seen behind the Tabernacle. But he was, above all else, a man of PRAYER: he was seen at His best as an INTERCESSOR.

Moses should be an incentive and an inspiration for every one of us in prayer. Because of his intercession on behalf of the people when God was angry, "Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath lest he should destroy them" (Psalm 106:23) -- valuable intercession indeed!

Would that there were more intercessors like Moses who were prepared to stand in the gap today for the people of Israel, often times in grave peril from without among enemies and greatly in need of a renewed close relationship with God, who alone is able to succour them and bind them to Himself.

Moses' intercession on behalf of his people, the nation of Israel, may be very clearly seen on five particular occasions.

AT REPHIDIM: the people were thirsty and had such complaints that Moses was alarmed, even for himself, and prayed to God in his distress. "And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? They be almost ready to stone me" (Exodus 17:4). He had to face the doubting of the people who murmured at Massah and Meribah and questioned whether the Lord was among them or not.

Then came Amalek to rob them of the blessing, and it was revealed that there was no victory for Israel nor defeat of the enemy, by force of arms alone, but intercession gained strength when it was a united effort -- Aaron and Hur supported Moses' uplifted hands in intercession on behalf of the nation, and so the Amalekites were defeated.

AT MOUNT SINAI: Moses was in the mount with God, and at the foot of the mount the people had chosen to worship a golden calf -- the people with their music, their dancing and their noise. "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 you a great nation" (Exodus 32:9,10).

On the mount was an angry God, but on the mount was also one who stood in the breach, and the prayer he offered was very costly. "And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin ---' and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of the book which thou hast written" (Exodus 32:31,32).

AT TABERAH: once again Moses was concerned for his people. They grumbled and complained and this displeased the Lord and brought judgement upon them, specially on those "that were in the uttermost parts of the camp" --- those that were furthest from God. "And the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched. And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them" (Numbers 11:1-3).

AT KADESH: and here we see Moses' concern for Almighty God. God had purposed that His people were to go into the Promised Land and the twelve spies had brought their report. Ten had brought an evil report. Joshua and Caleb on the other hand had brought a good report and urged that the people should go forward at God's command.

There was a quarrelling among the people over the issue and it was a disgrace to God, so much so that He was about to destroy them. He was provoked beyond measure. "How long will this people provoke me? And how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have showed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they" (Numbers 14:11,12).

Again Moses stepped into the breach: "I beseech thee, let the power of my LORD be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, The LORD is longsuffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty ... Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now" (14:17-19). What an intercessor Moses was! "And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word" (14:20).

RE KORAH: where Moses' prayer was instrumental in removing the obstacles. Korah and a great company of the "princes of the assembly" , with Dathan and Abiram, confronted Moses and Aaron to challenge their leadership and demonstrate outright rebellion again them. The thing was very grievous to God and he instructed Moses: "Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment." (Numbers 16:21)

Moses' and Aaron's prayer of intercession that followed, as they fell on their faces before Almighty God, certainly resulted in the removal of the obstacles to the people's spiritual welfare, but this time they were removed in judgement. "And they fell on their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wrath with all the congregation?"

" ... the ground clave asunder that was under them (Korah, Dathan, Abiram and their families): and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that pertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation" (Numbers 16:22,31-33).

The matter has very significant repetition in the Psalms. Concerning this incident we read: "They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD. The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram. And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked" (106:16,17).

So, though "the wrath of the Lord was kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorrred his own inheritance" , when intercession was made on their behalf " ... he regarded their affliction when he heard their cry: and he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies." (106:40,44)

As we follow the example of the man Moses, the intercessor who blazed a trail in concerned, persistent, sacrificial prayer on behalf of God's people, we can confidently expect that the Eternal, blessed be His Name, will fulfil His Word to the last jot and tittle. "Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, AMEN. Praise the LORD" (106:47,48).