“Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.” Then Moses entreated the LORD his God, and said, “O LORD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ””
Exodus 32:10-13 NASB
Mercy instead of destruction
Living in the body of Christ can be very challenging. You have a collection of disparate souls connected by the scarlet thread: the blood of Jesus Christ. Most of these people would have no connection if not for Jesus. All were called to salvation by the drawing of the Holy Spirit.
Though saved by the intervention of God, we are still flesh, driven by appetites, earth bound motives and inherent biases that color our interactions with others.
A church can be a loving place, but it can also be a place where conflict and animosity prevail. The passage above is a mere sample of the struggles that Moses had as he sought to lead the Children of Israel in the wilderness. He had gone to be with the Lord for the presentation of the tablets. When he was seemingly delayed, the children began to stray and play. These were a hostile people and not deferential to the leadership of Moses. In their faithlessness they had quickly turned to other Gods.
I can imagine Moses’ frustration. He had led this obstinate people who doubted him at every turn. Worse yet, they doubted God. At the moment when God could have dealt with them permanently, Moses entreated Him to show mercy.
The hardest thing I have encountered is praying for people who dislike me and have, in some cases, done things to harm me. In those moments I leave it in the hands of the Lord. I think of Jesus and His suffering at the hands of the people He created. As they threatened Him, hated Him, and ultimately killed Him, he showed amazing grace. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
I am amazed at that grace! When I consider Colossians 1:17 , “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” He held together the nails pounded into His hands and feet, the Roman soldiers who crucified Him, and the very cross on which He lain. He even held together the ones whose wicked hearts desired His death What grace!
I take the hits that the evil one sends my way. I remember that I am not dealing with people, but higher forces that are using them like boulders of flesh and blood hurled at me. Despite the pain and slights, I remember that these are people that Jesus died to save.
I am acutely aware that I am being watched. Far be it from me to shame the name of Jesus by striking back at others. The battle belongs to the Lord and I know that He is faithful. He takes care of His children and it is extremely dangerous to mess with them.
I intercede with a heart hoping for change and transformation in them and also in me.
If you are struggling with a brother or sister, pray for them. You will be amazed what God does, in them, and you.