“Thus I prostrated myself before the LORD; forty days and forty nights I kept prostrating myself, because the LORD had said He would destroy you. Therefore I prayed to the LORD, and said: ‘O Lord GOD, do not destroy Your people and Your inheritance whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
History and Context:
Deuteronomy is the last words of Moses to Israel. He retells their history together and reminds them of all the words that God spoke to them, through him. He then admonishes them to not turn away from God. But if they do end up turning away from God and find themselves in tragedy, Moses reminds them to always turn back to the Lord and the Lord will rescue them.
In this chapter Moses is reminding them of the time in the wilderness which they made a golden calf as an idol. He reminds them of how angry God became and how he interceded for them. Moses says that he spent 40 days on his face praying for the people of Israel. The very people which continued to frustrate him, and continued to complain about everything. Moses stood in the gap for them, interceded for them, and prayed for their salvation from the destruction which they deserved. There are many arguments about whether Moses actually had to change God's mind or not, but the point I want to focus on here is that Moses put in the time of intercession for the very people that made his life difficult.
Today there seems to be a lot of judgement thrown around at sinners. Everyone is a judge calling down God's vengeance on those around us, but who is there interceding like Moses? Shouldn't we be praying for the homosexuals, the politicians, even the murderers? Shouldn't we be interceding that these people would also be saved from coming destruction? This is the challenge to us: Stop judging and start praying! Next time you hear a news story about another criminal, trial, immoral act; pray for that person. Take some time to intercede for the people in your city, state, country. Stop complaining about the immorality around us and start doing something about it! Maybe you need to spend some time on your face before God for your city.
Lord, I pray for my city of [Portland]! I pray that you would spare these people from destruction, from punishment. I pray Lord that you would bring them into your love, into your joy, into your peace. In Jesus' name, Amen!