Once again, we had an awesome Bible study last night. I just love this Beth Moore study, and I’m so glad that I’m taking it. She has such a passion for God’s word, and some amazing wisdom in the way she presents and teaches. The last three weeks we’ve really been laying a solid foundation, building up to the actual construction of the tabernacle, and I believe that we’re going to reach the ground breaking ceremony this week and I’m so looking forward to that.
Last night’s study was so rich and had so many tasty morsels in it, that I almost came home with indigestion! But this little tidbit I thought was the juiciest and most tasty of all…
We can affect God, because he allows us to. Whoa!!! That’s a pretty powerful statement, and pretty awesome in scope. To think, that what we say and how we say it can affect God’s decisions regarding us. If we ask for God’s judgment, he will surely give it; and if we ask for God’s mercy, he will surely send it.
Ezekiel 22:30 says “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”
What that means is, prayer is a mighty powerful tool. Prayer really does change things. Time and time again we read how the Israelites grumbled and complained against God, creating a firestorm of anger to burn within the Lord. So much so, at times he told Moses to get out of the way because he was going to consume (destroy) them. God has limits too – we should never, ever take his grace, or his patience, or his love, or his forgiveness, or his compassion, or his blessings for granted, because if we do, we are in serious danger of riling his anger against us.
But in those times when God was ready to destroy the nation of Israel, Moses hit his knees (or maybe his face) in prayer and intercession for the nation. He pleaded with God not to unleash his mighty and righteous anger against the people. He reminded God of his promises to their forefather’s – covenant promises to make them a great nation and to keep them as his own special people. Now I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty gutsy for Moses to approach the presence of God and say to him, “Um, God, I know you’re angry right now, but I feel compelled as a friend, to remind you about those promises you made way back when…..you know the one’s I’m talking about……the one’s to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…..yeah, those promises. And we both know that if you unleash your righteous and deserved anger on these wayward people you’ll be in breach of those promises to our forefather’s, and we both know that’s not something you really want to do.”
In those moments of prayer and intercession, God allowed Moses to affect his decision to destroy the nation. Moreover, God still allows the prayers of his people to affect his decisions.
As a personal example, when I was in my early twenties I got in with the wrong crowd – and I’m not just talking non-Christians, I’m talking about a really bad crowd – the kind of crowd you see standing on street corners and in dark alleys; the crowd who stands outside of middle schools “shaking hands” with teenagers. I wasn’t raised to act like that, and during those times I’m sure God just thought, if she wants to self-destruct so badly, then fine, I’ll grant her that wish. But he didn’t allow that to happen, and I fully believe it’s because of the intercessory prayers of others – earnest prayers that were cried out in the dead of night on my behalf. Prayers of protection and safe-keeping that were prayed by God’s people when I was in no fit state to approach the throne of grace. Prayers that saved my life, and eventually lead me to the place where I am now.
We can affect God’s actions toward us. We can be the ones who stand in the gap in the wall….