Intercession and presence (based on Exodus 32)

The more we spend time in the presence of God, the more we get to know him. The more we get to know him, the more we can talk to him as a friend. The more we talk to him as a friend, the more we move his heart.

Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days talking to God. God’s presence surrounded him. The people at the bottom of the mountain feared God’s presence and stayed away from the mountain. They didn’t know how to deal with the thundering, the cloud, and the booming voice of God. They told Moses he could go up to talk to God on their behalf by they were not getting any closer.  How many times have we been afraid to enter God’s presence? Have we ever stayed away from God because we felt uncomfortable with what he was telling us?

After a while, the people became quite annoyed because they had not heard from Moses for over a month. Some thought he was dead. Because of their frustration, they demanded for another god. They fussed at Aaron (Moses’ brother) until he gave in and asked them for all their gold to create a god. They gave him jewellery, cups, utensils, etc. and this gold was made into a golden calf. The people began to worship the calf as their god.

Of course, our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob saw everything. He was beyond angry. God wanted to consume them and make Moses and his family into a great nation. Moses begs God to hold his wrath. Moses talked and reasoned with God has he would have with a very close friend. Just think, he spent 40 days conversing with God and just being in his presence. God trusted Moses.

Moses reminds God of how he brought the Israelites out of Egypt. God chose the Israelites as his special people to be a holy nation, separated from the rest of the nations around them. Moses asks God, “Why bring the Israelites out just to them?”

Moses thought the Egyptians would gloat about the deaths and then disbelieve in the one true God, despite the plagues and the drowning of their guard. Moses asks God to turn away from his burning anger. He reminds God of the promises he made Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God relented from the disaster he was going to bring on the Israelites.

Moses came down form the mountain after this conversation and saw the golden calf and the Israelites worshipping and dancing to it. He was so angry at what he saw, he threw down the tablets with the commandments God had written on them and broke them. He also burnt the calf in a fire and grounded it to powder. Then he scattered the powder onto water and made the people drink it.

Moses then asked to see who was still on God’s side. Only the sons of Levi came and stood together. Levi’s family were ordained as priests by God (see Exodus 28 + 29). The sons of Levi then killed his brother, companions, and neighbours. This was a part of God’s anger and wrath. About three thousand people died that day.

The next day Moses goes back up to the Lord and asks God to forgive their sin and if not, to blot him out of the book God had written. But God said to Moses he will just blot out those who had sinned against him. God told Moses to lead the people where he tells him. The Lord sent a plague upon the people because they worshipped the calf.

Because of Moses’ relationship with God, he was able to have them saved from being destroyed and wiped out. He also was able to see God’s glory and he was able to change God’s mind about removing his presence from the Israelites (see Exodus 33).

We too can change the Lord’s mind in situations. We can pray for our family members, friends, nations, and the world. In order to truly intercede for others, we need to be in the presence of God and follow Moses’ example…

Moses was able to talk straight with God because he

  • He had a relationship with him
  • Spent time in his presence
  • He trusted God
  • He obeyed God.
  • God saw him as a friend and spoke to him as a friend (see Exodus 33:11)

Moses had a great relationship with God. The more time Moses was with God he trusted him, talked to him as a friend and was able to move God’s heart.

I pray we will be a friend of God and that he will talk to us as a friend. I pray our relationship with God is strong and we would not hide from his presence from God’s presence but welcome it even if it feels uncomfortable at times. Remember, when Moses was first called by God through the burning bush, Moses was very uncomfortable with what God was asking him to do, yet, he obeyed, and his relationship grew substantially after this choice. May we too obey.

The more we follow Moses’ example, the more likely we will move the heart of God. Ask God to take you deeper into his presence and a relationship with him today. Every blessing.


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