"...Moses prayed for the people." Numbers 21:7d
Human nature has long been in short supply of patience and perseverance. The nation of Israel after the great exodus is a classic case study of national impatience and impropriety. The story is recorded in both Exodus and Numbers (historical 'books' within The Bible, a collection of inspired writings which we use for direction, correction, inspiration, etc.). As Israel wandered in the desert, they exhibited their distrust for their national leader again and again, bringing upon themselves God's judgment for their lack of 'followship' - the reasonable expectation of God upon a country's citizens to follow Godly leadership. In fact, all but two of the original generation that left Egypt survived (though their children and grandchildren survived). (read Nu. 26:63-65)
Nearing the end of their wandering chapter, God told Moses that Aaron (his older brother and high priest) would soon breath his last and be joined with his ancestors. Moses was instructed to ascend Mount Hor with Aaron and his son, Eleazar. The entire nation watched as they made the climb up the side of the mountain. Once they reached the top, Moses removed the priestly garments from Aaron and put them on Eleazar, ensuring the passing of the priestly baton. It must have been a difficult climb, as it was in God's providence that Aaron died there on that mountain top, never entering into The Promised Land. The nation mourned for thirty days after Moses and Eleazar had descended back to the Israeli camp. (read Numbers 20:22-29)
After Aaron's death, God gave Israel a great victory over a Canaanite king who attacked them unprovoked. The victory came after the nation prayed to God, vowing to completely destroy the king's city (a practice they previously had not thoroughly followed). There are another five simple words that describe God's reaction to their prayers: "The Lord heard the Israelites." (21:3a) I hope that give you hope - to know God hears your prayers AND the prayers of a nation who cry out to God.
After witnessing this remarkable victory God had provided, the nation set out toward the Red Sea... and as the trip drew out longer, they once again began complaining and speaking against their national leader, Moses, as well as speaking against God. The account tells of poisonous snakes entering the camp where many were bitten and died. Once they realized their lives were at risk, they repented or confessed the error of their ways and asked Moses to pray for them - that God would remove the threat of the snakes. Then we have this sweet, simple five words describing Moses' actions: "...Moses prayed for the people." (21:7)
It is important for us to pray for our national leaders. It is just as important for our leaders to pray for the people they lead and serve in the tenure of their political appointments. God honored the prayers given by Moses again and again. Each time the nation rebelled, Moses interceded for them - otherwise, God may have wiped them off the face of the earth. I love reading the exodus story: the great victories, the nation complaining; the dire circumstance, the Lord providing; the rebellious nation, the acts of God. It all comes alive as you read it. Try reading it aloud. Look at the life of Moses: how he was sent to deliver the nation; how he interceded for the people; how he pointed them to God's Way. An excellent leader will not hold back in pursuing these efforts on behalf of the people they serve. An excellent leader who loves God and God's way will pray for the people, as he/she enjoys the assurance of God's children praying for her or him.
Pray for your community, state, and national leaders right now. Thank God for them. Ask God to whisper into the minds of our leaders His precepts of truth and righteousness. Pray that God would provide wise counselors who embrace His Way to surround our leaders with righteous counsel and insight into the multitude of problems they seek to solve.
May His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.
steve (Jn. 3:30)