Scholars divide Moses’ life into three periods of forty years. The first 40 years of his life, Moses dwelt in the court of Pharaoh and learned how to be a rich kid with all the benefits of society. At the end of the first 40 years, Moses saw an Egyptian beating his Hebrew servant and defended the Hebrew. In the process, he killed the Egyptian and had to flee for his life.
Moses found himself on the backside of the desert, in the home of a shepherd named Jethro. There he married Jethro’s daughter and spent his second 40 years there in the wilderness. The Bible doesn’t tell us much about those 40 years. When Moses is 80 years of age tending sheep, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a burning bush in the desert that was not consumed although on fire. There the voice of God spoke to Moses out of the bush and God said, “Moses, I’m going to lead you back to Egypt to deliver my people from slavery. You’re going to lead them back into the wilderness.” Moses went with Aaron, his brother to the courts of Pharaoh, where Moses announced to Pharaoh that God wanted him to let his people go free.
There were ten miracles performed by Moses in Egypt to convince Pharaoh to release the Hebrews. There’s much that could be said about those miracles. One very important thing part of the story is the final plague where the death angel passed over Egypt and took the lives of the eldest child from every Egyptian household. To protect the Hebrews, God gave them instructions to place the blood of a spotless lamb over the doorposts of their homes. When the death angel came, the blood of the lamb would spare their lives. The Bible says very simply, “When I see the blood, I’ll pass over you.”
Finally, Pharaoh released the Hebrews from slavery, and Moses lead them out of Egypt. As they walked, the entire Hebrew nation reached the Red Sea. There God performed yet another miracle. He divided the sea and provided a path for them to pass through on dry ground. Oh, what an incredible miracle!
From there God led the people into the wilderness. While in the wilderness, God called Moses up to the top of Mount Sinai where he gave him the Law, the Ten Commandments. The commandments were what God expected of the Hebrews, to be implemented by Moses. When Moses returned from Mount Sinai, he found the children worshiping a golden calf they made, instead of worshiping the one true God who led them out of slavery. Moses was so overwhelmed and outraged, he threw the Ten Commandments on the ground, shattering the tablets in total frustration.
When Moses’ anger died down, he and God had a talk. This was a very unusual talk, because God said to Moses, “I am going to destroy this people. They have been rebellious. They haven’t done what I asked. So, I’m going to wipe them out, and make a greater people out of you. I’ll take your descendants and form them into a new nation.”
Moses then began to intercede for the people he loved. It’s one of the greatest intercessory prayers in the Bible. Moses pleaded with God: “Please, don’t destroy this people.” God heard Moses’ love and the hope he had for the people, and God changed his mind.
Moses’ prayer is one of the most powerful prayers in the Bible, outside of Paul’s prayer in the book of Romans, when he asked God to take his name out of the book of life in order for the children of Israel to be redeemed. God actually changed his mind in several Bible stories. For example, when God came to Abraham and told him he was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham asked God to spare the cities if there were 50 righteous people in them. There were not, so Abraham continued presenting numbers of righteous people to God: 40, 30, 20, 10. Finally, they discovered ten righteous people in the cities and God changed his mind.
God listens to our intercessions. Too often when we pray it is in a short fashion. We expect immediate results, but we stop praying when answered prayers don’t come in our time frame. In doing so, we miss out on the good things that God has planned. We, like Moses and Abraham, are called to have hope when we intercede for lost people. We are called to hope in the Lord. As Moses grew in hope in God, he stood firm in his intercessions. He continually asked God to forgive the children of Israel. In God’s time frame, he responded to Moses’ prayers and forgave Israel.
It’s time to hope for our nations. We have problems and need God’s favor. If ever we need to hope in the Lord, it’s now. We have a God who hears, answers, and asks us to boldly hope for miracles. He listens to our intercessions. We have the ability to change God’s mind, so don’t give up.