Tuesday, April 12, 2016

God's Response To Your Prayers For Others


Finding Favor In God’s Sight 
Exodus 33:12-16: Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, Thou dost say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But Thou Thyself hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. Moreover, Thou hast said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found favor in Thy sight, let me know Thy ways, that I may know Thee, so that I may find favor in Thy sight. Consider too, that this nation is Thy people.” And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then he said to Him, “If Thy presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Thy sight, I and Thy people? Is it not by Thy going with us, so that we, I and Thy people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”
We long to find favor in the sight of someone (a person we are devoted to) or we hope that circumstances will favor us (for a goal we are chasing). Having favor is a good thing. Some work to be the favorite son/daughter. Some work toward having the teacher’s favor or the the boss’s.  But throughout history, a few good men and women have chosen to desire the favor of God. And they weren’t losers. Contrary to what some people think, those with high IQs are just as likely to seek God’s favor as the rest of us.  Moses was one of those people.
In the preceding segment of our discussion, we learned that Moses was comfortable enough with God as he had the privilege of speaking with the Almighty ‘face to face’ figuratively speaking, as one friend speaks to another. With that kind of relationship that God and he had established, Moses was not afraid to challenge God lovingly, and he did, for good purpose – the saving of his people, the Israelites.
So Moses asks God to tell him who God intends to send with Moses and the people as he takes them to the promised land. “You want me to do this, God, but you won’t tell me who you are going to send with me, since you’re not coming.”  Wow.
And if that’s not enough, he continues: “God, You said You have known me by name; and that I found favor in Your sight. But if that’s the case, why are You not letting me know Your ways?” I think Moses was appealing to the fact that they had a good relationship, that they had spoken to each other as friends. And friends share their plans.
It is important to note here that because Moses has found favor in God’s sight, he expects to know the ways of God (to know what God was thinking or planning). But seeking that is not about having extra knowledge himself through which he could succeed in his own endeavors, but rather as the text says, he wants to know God’s ways in order that he may “know” God. Is that the end purpose for knowing God’s ways? Not really. Moses says, “I want to know Your ways so that I may know You and that will bring me right back to where I really want to be, in a place where I have found favor in Your sight.” You see, it is a circular process. We find favor in God through obedience; we learn His ways as He shares them with us; and in so doing we know Him better; and this in turn, gives us more favor with, or keeps us in the favor of, God. I think that any child of the Creator who follows that process sincerely and passionately, would be sending to God a sweet aroma of praise and adoration – music to His ears from His beloved child.
And then Moses keeps on going. “And look God, consider this. This is not just about You and me. This nation of the Israelites that I represent is your nation, your people. What about them?” Many of us who approach God find it so easy to ask things of Him on our own behalf. “God, I really need You to come through for me here. My little girl is hurting right now and I can’t bear it, Lord. I need this job Lord for my family. And so on.” We’re pretty good at doing that, even if it is with honorable requests as Moses had just asked of God – to know Your ways, in order to know You.
But what about entreating the Almighty strongly on behalf of many others? The extended family? The whole department at work? The entire class at school? The whole team you play with, including the opposing side? The body of believers you worship with? That’s a lot harder, isn’t it? And yet, I believe that God appreciates our sincere interest in others.
And how does God respond to Moses? Moses is concerned about his people and God’s people, and God responds to say His presence “shall go with you (singular) and I will give you (singular) rest.” It’s nice that Moses cares about the people, but God only promises to be with him and to give him peace and rest. What does that say to us? What does that say to us when we’re praying for the salvation of others? What does it say to us who may be praying for something with respect to our children – their family, their jobs, their health?
I think the message is clear: keep on praying for others and interceding on their behalf; that says a lot about us to God and He hears it; but what He promises in return is His presence with us and His peace and rest for us. Like the old Greyhound Bus Lines slogan, “Leave the Driving to Us”, we are to leave “the saving” or the “helping” to Him. And as far as whatever He does with respect to others, we can be certain of one thing that will help us with respect to His decisions – He will be present with us and give us rest and peace. I believe understanding that process of how we are to pray and react to God’s decisions on behalf of others is paramount to living a victorious Christian life.
But somehow Moses wasn’t there yet for he continues to push God. Instead of saying “thank you, God”, he comes back at the Almighty once more with the plural, avoiding the singular. “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.” Still more evidence to God that Moses really cares about his people and he’s not in it just for himself.  If God wasn’t to lead the people, then He should not make them go forward for without Him they would perish.
God does not interrupt him. And Moses goes on with his last argument. And in so doing, appeals to God this time on the ‘singular’ level of the conversation on which He was focusing and promising.  “God, how will others know that I have found favor in Your sight,” but then adds the plural aspect because to him it is also about the people, “I and Your people?  This was a rhetorical question to God; Moses already knew the answer and he tells God.  “Why, the only way for people to know that is for You to go with us.”
Our testimony is based not on what we do, but on God being seen by others to “go with us”. Moses says, “God, that’s what distinguishes us from all the other people on earth.” Wow.  Can’t wait to see how God responds to that.
But get the picture here. Is God with you today? Are you living a life of distinction from others by having God readily event in your life by how you talk and act and work? I pray that each of us reconsider these questions as we study this remarkable relationship between God and his friend, Moses.

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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

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