Numbers 14:19-21 “Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.”
The sin of the Israelites was great. Ten times they had turned their nose up to God’s provision for them. When hungry, He gave them food. When thirsty, He provided water. There was no lifting of praise or thanks for God’s provision, only murmuring and complaining. They wanted more.
They plotted and planned to usurp the authority God had placed over them.
God had had enough.
God intervened and told Moses of His plans to utterly destroy them all and rebuild with those that had remained faithful. These people that had seen the miracles, been witness to everything God had done to the Egyptians, now wanted to forsake it all to fill their bellies as they desired.
When I first read Moses’ response to God, I was shocked that he would stand up to God in such a manner. Then questions began to come.
“Was God incapable of governing His people?”
“Is it His character to be so angry with MY sin that He would want to destroy me?”
“Did His love for them have boundaries?”
All are worthy questions with answers from the Word of God. But knowing that God does everything on purpose and with a plan, we are privy to a most beautiful truth – we can move the heart of God in prayer.
Moses brings up the fact that if God were to destroy the Israelites as He desired, the world would not see Him as the Great Deliverer, but a vengeful and angry God. Moses knew that God is longsuffering. He knew God is love. He knew that there was a greater purpose for this exodus to the promised land.
Just as a lawyer brings a case with convincing ardor, Moses brings his case before God.
Numbers 14:15-18 “Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness. And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.”
God proved He has the power to deliver.
Moses knew there was more to God. His lovingkindness. His mercy, forgiveness, and love. He knew that God was longsuffering, patient, and just. Moses was not asking God to wink at their sin, but for another alternative that would show others more.
We can take an example from Moses today.
He was able to keep God from destroying the guilty people. We are told that if we know who God is, His character, and His will, we can ask accordingly.
Isaiah 45:11 “Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.”
God always operates as He states clearly in His Word.
God is love.
God is just.
God is merciful.
God gives wisdom to all who ask.
God gives grace.
When we know who God is, His will, and His promises, we can come boldly to ask of Him.
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Notice we can come boldly for us to obtain mercy. Notice also, that it does NOT say, “…and find grace for help in time of need.” It says, ‘grace to help‘ meaning that we are to go on behalf of others. In other words, intercede.
We must be able to see the needs of others and their need for God to intervene. For some, it may mean bringing them to a place of dire need where the only option left is to turn to God. For others, it may be sending another child of God to minister. It may mean opening their understanding to see what it is they cannot presently.
Knowing that my God specializes in the impossible, I can ask what may seem impossible to man, but is entirely possible to God.
Can God cure cancer? Of course, He can, but will He?
Can God move the mountain in my way? His Word tells us, He can.
Matthew 21:21-22 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
Many are disappointed when they pray because they convince themselves that God has to do as they ask because His promise fits the situation or circumstance. I have learned and am still learning that God will do as He sees fit.
He is sovereign.
His will and His way are perfect.
We may pray for healing, and the person dies. Has God failed? Or is there perfect healing taking place?
Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.“
If God desires to have my loved one in His presence instead of allowing them to stay here, I must come to terms with that. Knowing that He receives great pleasure to have my Mom and Dad there with Him now makes their absence here bearable. Knowing that it is precious to Him brings me comfort.
Also, it will not deter me from continuing to pray for the impossible with faith enough, believing He can and will do according to His will. I can only pray that He allows me to recognize the answer when it comes.
For if we only look with the limited expectation that He will do what we ask, we may miss the opportunity to see more of His majesty, glory, and grace.
The psalmist, Asaph, tells of this very time in Israel’s history:
Psalm 78:19 “Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?”
Send along your testimony by way of comment on how ‘God can’ in your life.