“Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” (Exodus 32:32)
What is intercession? It is praying on behalf of another person or group. Usually intercession is preceded by the acknowledgement of sin because it is sin that separates us from God.
Who can intercede? If we recognize that it is sin that separates us from God, then it becomes necessary that the person who intercedes for us must be one who is more righteous than ourselves.
Three Points about Intercession:
Recognition of Sin
It was not difficult for Moses to recognize that the people had sinned. Moses calls it a great sin and he let them know in no uncertain terms that “ye have sinned a great sin”. What was their sin? They have made them gods of gold (Exodus 32:31). Moses went up to the mountain to receive the instruction for the tabernacle from God (Exodus 31). When his return was delayed, the people became impatient. Their impatience soon turned into fear. Fear drove them to rebel against God. They went to Aaron and demanded, “Come, make up gods that shall go before us” (Exodus 32:1).
What is our impatience? What are our fears? Remember that fear is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7). And then what happened was that Aaron succumbed to the pressures of the people and took the people’s earrings, melted them and made a golden calf for the people to worship (Exodus 32:2-6). God told Moses about the sin of the people and God called them a stiff-necked people (Exodus 32:9). The irony was that while Moses was in the presence of God receiving the Law, the people were breaking the first commandment. There is therefore a need to intercede for the people.
Reason for Intercession
When it became clear that God’s wrath was upon the people (Exodus 32:10), Moses spared no effort and wasted no time but quickly interceded for the people. The reason offered by Moses was that he wanted to make atonement for their sin (Exodus 32:30). Like all intercessory prayers, Moses pleaded with God for mercy. He was careful not to make any excuse for the sin of the people but humbly acknowledge that “this people have sinned a great sin”. His plea was passionate and selfless. He reminded God of His deliverance of the people out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 32:11) and also of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 32:13). He said: “Yet now, if thou will forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou has written” (Exodus 32:32). This is not to suggest that Moses was prepared to die for the people forever. But we can look at it as being one of loving our neighbours as ourselves. Having the mind of Christ, Moses was prepared to lay down his life for his people. For all that was said, Moses could not arm-twist God but humbly seeks His will. All prayers to God must be offered in His will.
Results of Intercession
Moses could not turn away the wrath of God. God told Moses that because of their obstinacy, His presence would not be with them on their journey to the Promised Land (Exodus 33:3). When the Israelites heard this they went into mourning and repented of their evil. Responding to the people’s repentance and to Moses’ pleading, God relented and promised that His presence would go with them (Exodus 33:14).
Therefore the leaders of the Church must intercede on behalf of the members. When leaders intercede for us, we must be willing to repent of our sins.
– By Bro. Ronnie Pang