Breathe in clear thoughts of peace and reflection as you prepare to hear God speak to you through the scripture and the writer. Put aside all the things the world says you have to accomplish today and use this time to rest in God’s presence.
Numbers 14:10-24 (NRSV)
But the whole congregation threatened to stone them. Then the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? I will strike them with pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”
But Moses said to the LORD, “Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for in your might you brought up this people from among them, and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O LORD, are in the midst of this people; for you, O LORD, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go in front of them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if you kill this people all at one time, then the nations who have heard about you will say, ‘It is because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land he swore to give them that he has slaughtered them in the wilderness.’ And now, therefore, let the power of the LORD be great in the way that you promised when you spoke, saying,
‘The LORD is slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love,
forgiving iniquity and transgression,
but by no means clearing the guilty,
visiting the iniquity of the parents
upon the children
to the third and the fourth generation.’
Forgive the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have pardoned this people, from Egypt even until now.”
Then the LORD said, “I do forgive, just as you have asked; nevertheless—as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD— none of the people who have seen my glory and the signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tested me these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their ancestors; none of those who despised me shall see it. But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me wholeheartedly, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.
I want to pray like Moses, don’t you? God comes to Moses angry. Really angry. And claims to be prepared to disinherit God’s people.
“But then Moses said to the Lord…” Moses says, “Wait a second! If you do, what will the other nations say about you?”
Moses says, “Remember, you’re the one who claims to be slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and one who forgives iniquity…”
Moses says, “Forgive us now, show us some of that steadfast love.”
And lo and behold, God does! “I do forgive, just as you have asked,” God says.
So like I said: I want to pray like Moses. I want to remember that God is who God says God is. I want to trust that God does not change. I want to go boldly before God, petitioning for good for others. I want to pray fervently on behalf of people that I love. I want to pray like Moses, and I invite you to as well.
Loving God, thank you for hearing the prayers of your people. You are gracious, forgiving, and abounding in steadfast love. Even when we fail you, you remain, and for that grace we are grateful.
Go with God!