Then the Lord said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation.”
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The Israelites had witnessed God’s miracles, yet they still turned to idolatry. I would suggest that Moses was their first idol, while the golden calf was their second, evidenced by the fact that they turned to false worship when Moses left them to go up the mountain.
Moses pleaded with the Lord, “Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and such a strong hand? Why let the Egyptians say, ‘Their God rescued them with the evil intention of slaughtering them in the mountains and wiping them from the face of the earth’? Turn away from your fierce anger” (Exodus 32:11, 12).
So God relented. What happened? Did Moses talk God out of something? Not at all. He was testing Moses. I think God was basically saying, “Moses, do you understand that I want someone to stand in the gap and intercede for my people? Are you going to stand up for these people right now?”
This was a test for Moses, and he passed it. He prayed. He interceded. That is what we need to be doing as believers. We need to pray for people, and we need to care about people.
When was the last time you prayed for your unbelieving friends and neighbors? When was the last time you prayed for your unbelieving family members? When was the last time you pleaded with God for the salvation of their souls?
God is still looking for intercessors today. He is still looking for people who will pray for others. God is still looking for people to stand in the gap and speak up for Him.