Moses was an exemplary leader… not a “perfect” leader (his presumptive sin at Meribah proved that – Numbers 20:1-13), but he was referred to repeatedly in Scripture as “the man of God!” He certainly was a “Spiritual leader” and knew the vital importance of intercessory prayer on behalf of the nation of Israel!
I was deeply challenged the other day during my time of “coffee with the Lord” about this feature of his ministry as a spiritual leader as I read Deuteronomy 9 and 10. Here is what Moses said about his intercession on behalf of Israel in his own words…
“Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people. Remember and do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord. Even at Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath and the Lord was so angry with you the He was ready to destroy you. When I went up on the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the Lord made with you, I REMAINED ON THE MOUNTAIN FORTY DAYS AND FORTY NIGHTS, I NEITHER ATE BREAD NOR DRANK WATER… (9:6-9)
“You turned aside quickly from the way that the Lord had commanded you. So I took hold of the two tablets and threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes. THEN I LAY PROSTRATE BEFORE THE LORD AS BEFORE, FORTY DAYS AND FORTY NIGHTS. I NEITHER ATE BREAD NOR DRANK WATER, BECAUSE OF ALL THE SIN THAT YOU HAD COMMITTED… I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure that the Lord bore against you, so that He was ready to destroy you. But the Lord listened to me that time also… (9:16-19)
“At Taberah also, and at Massah and at Kibroth-hattavah you provoked the Lord to wrath. And when the Lord sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, ‘Go up and take possession of the land that I have given you,’ then you rebelled against the commandment of the Lord your God and did not believe Him or obey His voice. You have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you. SO I LAY PROSTRATE BEFORE THE LORD FOR THESE FORTY DAYS AND FORTY NIGHTS, BECAUSE THE LORD HAD SAID HE WOULD DESTROY YOU. AND I PRAYED TO THE LORD, ‘O Lord God, do not destroy Your people and Your heritage, whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand… (9:22-26)
“I MYSELF STAYED ON THE MOUNTAIN, AS AT THE FIRST TIME FORTY DAYS AND FORTY NIGHTS AND THE LORD LISTENED TO ME AT THAT TIME ALSO. The Lord was unwilling to destroy you. And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, go on your journey at the head of they people, so that they may go in and possess the Land, which I swore to their fathers to give them.’” (10:10-11)
Wow! How many times did Moses have to intercede for this rebellious and wayward nation? How many times did he engage in “forty days and forty nights” of fasting and prayer? The question that comes to my mind is, am I willing to persist in intercession for our nation as he was for his? Am I unwilling to give up? Am I going to sustain prophetic prayer – the prayer of a determined spiritual leader – that God spare our nation and bring it repentance and revival. Lord help me to do it!