By: Seth Gogo Egoeh
There are many great characters in the Bible that we could daily learn from, ranging from Aaron through Nehemiah to Zechariah – if we are willing. Each of these great men of God demonstrated different traits; and we could learn and try to exhibit those traits ourselves to our own benefits, of course. I personally have great affection for Job, Joseph and especially for Daniel in the way they conducted themselves in diverse situations. But one person that I have the most respect for is Moses. The main reason is because of his unselfishness in conducting his business with God; and most importantly he was always offering intercessory prayers on behalf of the children of Israel.
I believe, if there is one thing that we need to learn from Moses, it’s his unselfishness, which is summed up in his intercessory prayers for the children of Israel. In the world, everyone is fighting for their own good. Everyone wants to be the best and better than his/her colleague, friend or comrade. You hear phrases such as “Everyone for himself and God for us all”. In the Christian world, we are to follow the path of Christ Jesus, which means that we need not be selfish. We should be ready to sacrifice for the greater good. Unselfishness means that we have to sacrifice, because no one can be unselfish without sacrificing. It is in this unselfishness that we find the spirit of prayer and intercession.
The children of Israel were always tempting God with their sinful acts. They were not only sinful people but as the Lord puts it, they were stiffnecked people, (Exodus 32:9). Had it not been for Moses, the Lord would have wiped them out. Yes! Wipe them out! There would be no Israel today, had it not been for Moses’ unselfishness and intercessory prayers, (Psalm 106:23). This goes to show the power of intercessory prayers. In the Book of Deuteronomy, we are told that the constant act of provoking God daily got to the extent that the LORD was willing to disinherit the children of Israel and make a nation out of Moses – a mightier and a greater one, (Exodus 32:10). This is how the Bible puts it in the Book of Deuteronomy:
“Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they” ~ Deuteronomy 9:14.
Many of us would have jumped to this offer and accept it. Many of us would have found all the excuses and reasons in this world to accept the offer. Some of us might even say, “I am their leader and am always telling them to follow the Lord but they are always disobeying. I am the only person who obeys the LORD. I deserve this opportunity.” These reasons might be justified and right, but Moses did not do anything like that as a great leader chosen by the Lord.
Moses has just finished his forty days of fasting on the mount of Horeb to receive the commandments. Due to the impatience of the Israelites, they corrupted themselves by making a molten image to worship (Deuteronomy 9:13). In doing this, they put Aaron their priest into trouble too, (Deuteronomy 9:20).
What did Moses do? He did not leave the Israelites to their sins. In fact, he destroyed the molten calf and out of anger broke the two tables of stone that he received from the LORD. When he did this, he went down on his knees again for forty days and nights and interceded in the behalf of them, (Deut. 9:16-18). Moses motivation for fasting for another forty days and forty nights in the behalf of the Israelites stemmed from the fact that God was very angry with them. And he knew that if the Lord were to punish them, he would wipe them out completely, (Deut. 9:19). And I’m very sure one of the main reasons would be his love for them too.
Even in His anger, the Lord listened to Moses and forgave the sins of the Israelites and did not blot them out. If you need evidence for that you can look at the nation of Israel today – it’s still there.
In this episode, there are many things we need to learn and know. The first is that even though the Lord was very angry and wroth, He still listened to Moses plea. The Bible assured us that “God is ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness”, (Nehemiah 9:17). What a great God! You can read the prayer for Moses in Deuteronomy 9:26-29.
To summarise, there are two main things that we can learn from Moses – his unselfishness and his intercessory prayer life. With the help of the Holy Spirit and our dedication to the Kingdom, we can be unselfish people who look at for the good of others and for the greater good. We can become people who are always willing to get down on our knees and seek the mercies and favour of the Lord for our people. May the unchangeable and unfathomable Lord strengthen you to be like Moses – an unselfish person!