Daily Thought for: 19th February


Exodus 17. 8-13; 32. 7-14; Numbers 27. 15-18

The Lord Himself regarded Moses as one of the greatest men of intercessory prayer ever, Jer. 15. 1. Today we consider three occasions when Moses laid hold of God on behalf of others. 

Power in present need. The people were under attack from Amalek, who in a cowardly fashion assaulted the feeble and faint, Deut. 25. 17-18. In contrast to Israel’s earlier experience at the Red Sea, when the Lord undertook to ‘fight’ for them, they were to learn that dependence upon God often goes hand in hand with action—this time they would need to ‘fight’ themselves. The outcome of the conflict was decided, however, not by the sword in the hand of Joshua but by the rod in the hand of Moses; not, that is, by the man who was told to ‘go out’ and engage with Amalek but by the man who ‘went up’ and engaged with God. For ‘when Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed’. We too need to learn the powerful combination of the sword of the Spirit and prayer in the Spirit, Eph. 6. 17-18. 

Pardon for past sin. Many times Moses appeared before God as Israel’s great intercessor. We focus on the time immediately following their idolatrous worship of the calf. No greater tribute could be paid to the power of Moses’ prayer than that, before ever Moses pleaded with God for them, God first pleaded with him against them; ‘let me alone . . . that I may consume them’. The Lord knew well the holy violence with which with His servant’s requests would assail Him! And He was right. For, following Moses’ impassioned appeal (i) to His redeeming act, (ii) to His great name, and (iii) to His solemn oath, ‘the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people’. ‘He said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath’, Ps. 106. 23. But for Moses’ selfless intercession and God’s merciful forbearance, the nation would have been destroyed. 

Provision of future leadership. Although Joshua had long been the obvious candidate for his successor, Moses referred the choice to God; ‘Let the Lord . . . set a man’. Moses would take nothing for granted, and sought the direction and will of God. 

Lord, make me an effective intercessor. 


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