After getting real, and sharing his burdens and complaints, Moses found new energy for intercession. The word intercession means to intervene on behalf of another. He got his eyes off himself and intervened in prayer for God’s people. While feeling the sting of rejection, Moses chose to pray for the people who were causing him the greatest pain. When Moses spoke with God, he spent the majority of his time in intercession.
For example, when Israel rebelled and made their idol of gold at the foot of Sinai, it was like a match in a powder barrel. God told Moses he was going to destroy them and start over, building a great nation through him. Notice Deuteronomy 32:10-11; 14, “Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”…But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God…Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.”
He stood before God on behalf of the people and pleaded for grace. Verse 14 says, “Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.” In the Hebrew, the word “relented” is nacham and is most often translated “to comfort.” Here’s the bottom line. The Lord, who toppled Pharoah, parted the sea, and shook Sinai, allowed himself to be moved by the prayers of one man. Had it not been for Moses and his prayers, Israel would have died in the wilderness.
The Bible uses Moses’ intercession to illustrate what Jesus does on our behalf. Hebrews 7:25 says, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” When we fall short, don’t measure up, wander and stray, complain, moan, and whine, Jesus is always standing before God praying on our behalf. When Satan hurls accusations, Jesus is there to intercede and defend. Because Jesus always intercedes we are completely saved through him.
While Moses intercession points to Jesus, it also reminds us to stand in the gap for those who can not stand for themselves. This wasn’t a one-time prayer for Moses. He interceded for 40 years.
Growing up in a pastor’s home, I had a drug problem. I was drug to church Sunday morning, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights. Even when I had a lot of homework, they drug me to church! Looking back, I’m now thankful for my parent’s love for God’s house. But as a teen, I didn’t appreciate my godly heritage and chose to rebel for a while. I remember staying out all night with a friend. He told his mom he was staying at my house. I told my mom I was staying at his house. Both of us never went home. So thrilled with our ingenious planning skills, we forgot mom’s love to talk on the phone. When I pulled up that morning, I had my lie all worked out in my mind. When I walked in the door, all I heard was my mom praying in the living room. She was praying out loud, filling the house with her voice, “God save my son, Arlie!” I tiptoed like a tightrope walker up the steps, slowly opened my bedroom door, and snuck in. Sitting on my bed, I heard her pleading for many minutes, “Oh God, save my son, Arlie!” My mom was praying for me when I could not pray for myself. She never stopped. I could run, but I couldn’t hide from her prayers.
Those we love the most hurt us the most. When they complain, stray, and rebel, where do we go? They will not listen to reason. We can’t argue them into a relationship with God. Sermonizing only hardens their heart. We can always intercede in Jesus’ name. While we can’t move their heart our prayers can move the heart of God. James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”