Read Exodus 32:1-35
Only days before, the people of God had trembled in fear at the foot of Mount Sinai. The mountain smoked and quaked as God spoke to Moses in the midst of thunder and lightning (Ex. 20:18-21). No wonder the people had vowed in unison, “Everything the Lord has said we will do” (Ex. 24:3).
But that was days before. Perhaps the fear of God had subsided and been replaced with the fear that Moses would never return. In their minds, they needed something/someone to represent the one that had brought them out of Egypt and who would go before them into the Promised Land. The result was a golden calf…a clear violation of the 2nd of the 10 Commandments.
What followed in the remainder of the chapter is a revelation of God’s intent and a description of Moses’ intercession. God’s intent was to destroy the people. In fact, He even distanced Himself from the people, calling them Moses’ people (Ex. 32:7). God’s new plan was to do away with them and start over with the descendants of Moses.
Let’s push pause for a moment on the story line and make clear that God is not a hot-head given to quick emotional flare ups that He later regrets. In fact, just a couple of chapters later, God clarifies some of His attributes by describing Himself as “…compassionate and gracious…slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Ex. 34:6). His intended response to the golden calf incident is only after enduring many other demonstrations of their obstinacy.
But Moses’ response was one of prayer. It was a prayer that asked God to act graciously and give the people a second chance. His prayer had at least three key elements that are worth highlighting for your prayer life.
- Moses pointed out that the Israelites were God’s people (Ex. 32:11). Can I ask…do you assume too much responsibility for people and their responses in life? Are you consumed with trying to control the outcome?
- Moses prayed about God’s reputation (Ex. 32:12). How would your prayers change if you had greater concern for God’s glory and fame than you do for your own?
- Moses reflected on God’s promises (Ex. 32:13). Has God made promises that you need to embrace and maybe even boldly pray back to Him?
Examine your most recent prayer to God. How would it change if you incorporated those elements?
21 DAY PRAYER CHALLENGE
For the full challenge, go here!
Day 21: Pray for our loved ones in pain
Read Romans 15:13, Psalm 27:13-14 and James 5:13-18. Watching someone you love suffer hurts. You can’t take away their pain, but you can pray. He promises to be with us, comfort us, and provide for us. We can overflow with hope when we trust Jesus and put our faith in Him.