About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

Home Page

Interceding On Behalf Of The Church


Over the last few decades many groups have sprung up calling Christians to pray for their nation.  Weekend prayer vigils and marches proclaim 2 Chronicles 7:14 as their theme.  "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 


In light of this passage I would like to remind you of an ongoing conversation Moses had with God.  One aspect of Moses' ministry was interceding on behalf of God's people, which was the purpose to this conversation.


While Moses was meeting with God , Israel made a gold calf to worship.  Calf worship was common among pagan cultures.  God responded  by saying, "leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them." (Exodus 32:10)    


These words disturbed Moses immensely.  He pleaded with God not to destroy His own people.  Moses figured God would look bad in the eyes of the world if He killed Israel after miraculously delivering them from Egypt.  Besides, God had promised that Israel would be a great nation, and how could that be if everyone was  dead. (Exodus 32:11 - 14)  


God was so upset that He told Moses to just leave Him alone and go to Canaan without Him.  He'd send an angel in His place because He was afraid that He might kill Israel on the way. (Exodus 33:3)  


The idea of Israel losing God's presence really bothered Moses.  He pleaded with God again by saying,  "if your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here."  (Exodus 33:15)  Moses knew what the church should know.  We can't move ahead in God's will without Him. 


Moses continued to intercede by saying, "what will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of  the earth?"  Again, Moses understood something we should understand.  The thing that distinguishes us as God's people from others is His presence in our midst.  Without God's presence we're no different than anyone else.


If you read Exodus 32 and 33 you will see that Moses both knew God's heart and shared His feelings.  Like God, Moses loved God's people so much that when he saw their present state, he was both sorrowful and angry.  If God and Moses had not loved Israel, they would not have been angry with them.  God's type of anger presupposes the existence of love.


Not having God's presence was too much for Moses to bear.  Like the apostle Paul, (Romans 9:1 - 3), Moses had unceasing anguish over the state of God's people. Exodus 32:33 states that if Moses could have been blotted out of God's book in order to save Israel, he'd gladly be blotted out.   


Moses' sorrow and anger led him to intercede on behalf of Israel . God heard his plea and said, "I will do the very thing you have asked…" (Exodus 33:17)  Can you imagine that?  God answered the plea of a man who shared His heart.  Feeling the way God feels is the key to intercessory prayer.    


I know that many people don't share my thinking on the present day state of the church.  The more I study the Bible, and the more I believe I see the heart of the Lord, the more I see the need for intercession to be made on behalf of God's people, the church.  The majority of Christians don't view the church through the lens of the Bible, so they don't see the unscriptural state the church is presently in.  So in my thinking, we fail to know God's heart on this matter.  Thus, we fail to share His feelings, and so we fail to intercede on behalf of His people, and we suffer for it.   


Moses did not intercede on behalf of a secular nation.  He interceded on behalf of God's people.  This is what intercessory prayer is all about.  2 Chronicles 7:14 was directed to God's people, not a secular state.  The text reads," if my people will humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways…"  It does not read, "if your secular nation will humble itself…"   It was God's people that needed to repent in Moses' day, and it's His people who  need to repent today.     


If there is any hope of our nations turning to Jesus, it will come through a repentant church, and there's lots to repent of.  I therefore suggest the we begin to pray, begin to intercede on behalf of God's people, the church.  Only then will our nations have any hope of turning to Jesus. 


The church represents the Lord Jesus Christ to the nations.  If we fail in this task, Jesus won't be represented, and the nations will remain as they are.   May we somehow find the grace and ability from our Lord to share in the concerns of His heart in this matter.   Then we can intercede on behalf of God's people as we should. 




Home Page