How do you react when those in your church, family, circle of friends, or community act contrary to God’s Word? Do you throw up your hands and give up? Do you brow beat them? Or do you lovingly correct, pray for, and serve them?
Last night at Bible Study, we briefly discussed Deuteronomy 9. It is Moses’ reminder to the people why God is giving them the Promised Land. He wants to make it clear it is not because of their righteousness. Rather it is because the Lord wishes to drive the wickedness out of the land and honor His promise to their fathers – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (4-6). To show the stubbornness of the people, Moses recounts the story of the Golden Calf and their failure to take the land.
The Golden Calf
After spending forty days and nights on the mountain with God receiving the Ten Commandments, Moses comes down to find the people worshipping an idol – a Golden Calf. The same people who just witnessed the great power of God in the Exodus. The same people the Lord just redeemed as His own possession. The same people who watched Moses ascend to the top of the mountain to commune with God. In just forty short days and nights, they forgot the Lord and turned to worship an idol.
The Failure to Take the Land
The second story Moses recounts is their failure to trust the Lord to give them the land. If you remember, they sent spies into the land. After gathering the requested items, they returned with a daunting report. Those in the land are giants and too numerous for us to overtake. Again, they forgot the power of their God, even as He was providing for them in the wilderness and telling them He would give them the land.
Talk about being frustrated. I am sure Moses was livid, in a righteous way of course. His actions though are surprising and act as an example for us. Yes, Moses corrected the people, but he also interceded for them and continued to serve them.
Why would he do a thing like that? Why intercede for them asking the Lord to preserve them when they were blatantly rebellious?
He did so because he loved and cared for them. Even though they were rebellious, he desired they experience the blessings of the Lord, worship the Lord, and glorify the Lord. For those reasons, Moses twice spent forty days and nights prostrate before the Lord in prayer, continually corrected and served them.
Do you love those in your church, family, circle of friends, or community enough to seek their welfare? Do you desire to reach out to them with the gospel? Do you desire to pray the Lord would not destroy them, but change their hearts and make them His? Do you serve them in a way that shows the love of Jesus? I know those are tough questions, but they are crucial questions.
If we find we do not love those around us in a way that causes us to reach out to them with the gospel, pray for them, and serve them, we need to get on our knees and ask that God would change our hearts.
Moses did not manufacture his love for the people. God changed his heart as he communed with Him. Likewise, as we commune with God through prayer and Bible study, He will change our heart.
So then, if you are having trouble loving, praying for, and serving those in your community, open His Word and seek His face in prayer, asking that He would change your heart.
Question for Reflection
- How could you motivate those in your church to reach out to, serve, and pray for those in your community?