18 'The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.' 19 In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now." (Numbers 14:18-19 NIV)
The LORD was ready to exterminate these whining people when Moses interceded for them. Because of the fact that God knows the future, I think He was not as desirous to destroy them as much as He was to bring out the heart of intercession in Moses. Moses interceded with God according to the character of God that had been revealed to him. He’s saying, “Wait a minute. You told me You were abounding in love and forgiveness. You are just, but then there is that wonderful side of You that is so great in Love. Exercise that love now, and forgive these people.”
When we plead with God according to His wonderful attributes, we are standing on a sure footing from which to plead. We can make a case that is legitimate. The people would be punished, but at the same time, God would exercise His great love. God answered Moses prayer because He was pleading according to the attributes of God. We would be wise to do the same.
Do you know God is abounding in love? You can count on that. Just as He forgave them all the way from Egypt to the entrance of the Promised Land (a picture of our journey from the world to heaven), so will He forgive you when you look to His wonderful attributes. He forgives us not because of what we do but because of who He is. Yet, there is a warning here. We may not arrive at all He had for us because of our insistence on sin. That sin will affect generations to follow. Learn from these rebels who are so like us, and cast yourself upon the LORD.
Meditation: How can I follow Moses example of intercession?
4 They make many promises, take false oaths and make agreements; therefore lawsuits spring up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you. 13 But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors… (Hosea 10:4, 12-13 NIV)
Israel’s sins are the sins of mankind. It doesn’t matter which culture you are a part of, or what type of government you have, the experience of Israel is applicable to your situation. The nation had a revelation of God, but they refused to walk in the light of that revelation. Man tries to swindle man for personal gain or pleasure, and so, the legal systems of man are overwhelmed. There is the misuse of the legal systems to gain what is not yours. What a great description of lawsuits, ‘poisonous weeds in a plowed field’!
We should be plowing deep the hard soil of our hearts so that they will be receptive soil for the seeds of righteousness. Then we would reap the wonderful fruit of unfailing love. If we would only seek the LORD until he comes and showers righteousness on us! That sounds like praying through to me. It is setting everything else aside and refusing to go on until God comes with His healing touch on your soul. ‘Showers of righteousness’ sound so refreshing!
But instead, Hosea saw the planting of wickedness and the reaping of evil. The fruit of their efforts was not unfailing love, but deception. They have deceived themselves into thinking their strength and their warriors could save them. The path without God can only end in destruction.
Consider: What are you sowing? What are you depending on today? Seek the Lord until He comes and showers righteousness upon you. You will reap unfailing love!
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