Have You Got a Prayer? | Moses Intercedes for His People (Exodus 32:30-35)
In this text, Moses intercedes for the people. There is a long history of God’s people interceding for others.
- Abraham for Sodom.
- Daniel for his fellow countrymen.
- Paul prayed for the Corinthians (1 Cor 13:7).
- Paul asked the Colossians to pray for him and his fellow workers (Col 4:3).
Why is it important to pray for other people?
Why might it be important for us to ask for prayers from others? What are some requests that we should share with others? Why is it so hard for us to ask for prayer?
Moses tells the people, “You have committed a great sin.” Does Moses mean that some sins are not great? Are all sins equal before God? What might be some examples of “great” sins?
What made the sin of the golden calf “great”? The sin of the golden calf goes right to the heart of all sin: A refusal to enthrone God within the human heart. The sin of the golden calf also goes to the heart of the identity of the Israelites: they were special people to the Lord.
Moses went up to the Lord. Going up to the Lord certainly means to go back up Sinai to the spot where Moses had received the Law. Thus, Moses is going to the spot where Yhwh had declared that no gods could come before Him to make intercession for the people because they did that very thing. In a figurative way, we go to the cross when we need forgiveness.
Moses said, “Perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” Why would there be any doubt as to whether or not God could forgive? Simon the sorcerer was told something comparable: “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you” (Acts 8:22).
Moses returns to God and says, “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold!” (v 31). Moses learns of the golden calf when God told him (vv 7-10). Since God already knows there is a golden calf, why does Moses need to tell Him?
Moses asked God to forgive the people. Why is it important to ask God for forgiveness? How often should we ask God for forgiveness?
If God would not forgive the people, Moses asked that God would blot him out of the book God has written. Reminds me of Paul: “I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh” (Rom 9:3). Is there anyone about whom we might feel that way?
Moses mentions the book God has written. There are some who think that being blotted out of God’s book refers to physical death. To me, at least, it seems much more logical to take this as a reference to the Book of Life.
The Book of Life is mentioned many times in Scripture. “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, And not be written with the righteous” (Ps 69:28). “And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem” (Is 4:3). “My hand will be against the prophets who envision futility and who divine lies; they shall not be in the assembly of My people, nor be written in the record of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord God” (Ezek 13:9). “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book” (Dan 12:1). “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name” (Mal 3:16).
The New Testament also refers to the Book of Life. “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Lk 10:20). “I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life” (Phil 4:3). “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life” (Rev 3:5). Other places: Hebrews12:23; Revelation 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, 21:27, 22:19.
What is the Book of Life? Why is the Book of Life so important?