Daily D – Numbers 14:11-12
Numbers 14:11, 12 And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them? I will disown them and destroy them with a plague. Then I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they are!” (NLT)
Numbers 14:17-19 “Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed. For you said, ‘The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’ In keeping with your magnificent, unfailing love, please pardon the sins of this people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.” (NLT)
Whose glory do you seek when you pray? Are your prayers all about you, are all about God’s plan and purpose? Moses’ reason for his prayer of rebuttal in Numbers 14 was all about God when God had offered to make it all about Moses. No wonder Moses was called “more humble than any other person on earth,” (Numbers 12:3).
Many of the prayers in the Old Testament follow Moses’ form here. Moses gives God a reason to answer his prayers. The reason he gives relates to God’s nature and purpose. He wants Israel to continue knowing and experiencing God the way God had revealed himself in Egypt and along their journey to this point. He wanted God to fulfill his stated purpose. He wanted everyone to see God as he is.
Moses’ bottom line petition is found in verse 19:
“In keeping with your magnificent, unfailing love,
please pardon the sins of this people,
just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.”
To put Moses’ full prayer in perspective, we need to return to verses 11 and 12:
And the Lord said to Moses,
“How long will these people treat me with contempt?
Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them?
I will disown them and destroy them with a plague.
Then I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they are!”
Here is a test. This is a big test, the ultimate test. This test strikes at the heart of Moses’ sense of Approval and Ambition. Along with Appetite, these are the tests the serpent tempted Adam and Eve with in the Garden of Eden. These are also the tests the adversary tempted Jesus with in the wilderness.
These are the tests we still face day by day. Moses and Jesus teach us how to ace these exams. They remind us how our lives are all about God, and not God being all about us.
Consider every opportunity you encounter through this lens. Is it all about you? Or, is it all about God and his kingdom? Do the results make you big and God small? Or, do the results make God big in the eyes of others and you a simple reflection of his glory and goodness?
Moses could have had it all (verse 12). Instead, he laid it all down in exchange for what mattered most in that moment and for all people everywhere for all time. This is how to live with the end in mind every day.
How will you pray today?
I will pray in full agreement with whatever makes God big in the eyes of others.
Our Father, here I lay down my ambition. I do not need to be seen, known, or celebrated. Instead, I want everyone I influence to see how big and how good you are. Here I lay down my need for approval. Your smile (Numbers 6:25) is what I live for. To please your heart is to live the kind of life that blesses others. Here I lay down my appetite. Our daily bread is all I need. Make me more like Moses who remembered who you are and why you had him in that place at that time. Thank you for his faithfulness and humility. Amen.
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Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Acts 18:24-26 Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.