Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Way God Sees Them

The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin, but I will go back up to the Lord on the mountain. Perhaps I will be able to obtain forgiveness for your sin.” (Exodus 32:30 NLT)

It was a test for Moses. God told him that He was going to destroy the Israelites. And when we read Exodus 32, it would appear that Moses pleaded with God and brought Him around. But God was testing Moses. He wanted to see if Moses was learning anything.

Jesus sometimes tested His disciples. When the multitudes gathered and had nothing to eat, Jesus turned to Philip and said, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” (John 6:5 NLT). The Bible goes on to say that Jesus said this to test Philip.

Then there was the Syro-Phoenician woman. She came to Jesus and asked Him to touch her demon-possessed daughter. Being a non-Jew, she was coming to the Messiah of Israel and asking for His mercy.

But Jesus seemed almost flippant in His reply, saying, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs” (Mark 7:27 NLT).

The woman told Him, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates” (verse 28 NLT). So Jesus commended her and granted her request.

She passed His test. Jesus wasn’t turning her away; He was drawing her out. It was a test for her to rise to the occasion. And when she did, Jesus rewarded her for it.

Moses passed God’s test as well. He interceded for the people, saying, “Why let the Egyptians say, ‘Their God rescued them with the evil intention of slaughtering them in the mountains and wiping them from the face of the earth’? Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against your people!” (Exodus 32:12 NLT).

God wants us to care about people who are separated from Him and intercede for them. He wants us to see them not as the enemy but as sheep without a shepherd—as people who need the Savior.

In fact, Moses cared so much about these people that he said, “But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, erase my name from the record you have written!” (verse 32 NLT). Thankfully, no such thing is required. But it shows the heart of a true intercessor.

The apostle Paul said something similar when he wrote, “For my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them” (Romans 9:3 NLT).

That is the kind of heart that we need to have toward nonbelievers. That is standing in the gap. Speaking through the prophet Ezekiel, God said, “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one” (Ezekiel 22:30 NLT).

God is still looking for people to stand in the gap today to pray and proclaim His Word.

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