READING: Deuteronomy 8-11
“I fell down like the first time in the presence of the Lord for forty days and forty nights.”
The people of God had worshipped a golden calf while Moses fasted, prayed, and received the Ten Commandments on the mountain. God had had enough of their rebellion, and He was prepared to “destroy them and blot out their name under heaven” (Deut. 9:14). Moses went down the mountain, saw the blatant idolatry, and destroyed the tablets. Then, he entered a similar time of fasting again on behalf of the people: “I fell down like the first time in the presence of the Lord for forty days and forty nights” (Deut. 9:18).
Moses prayed again, not eating or drinking for another forty days “because of all the sin [the Hebrews] committed, doing what was evil in the Lord’s sight and angering him” (Deut. 9:18). He feared the Lord was going to destroy the people, so He interceded deeply for both the people and Aaron. Recalling that story as the people prepared to enter the Promised Land, Moses could remind them, “the Lord listened to me on that occasion” (Deut. 9:19). God turned His anger from the Hebrews (and Aaron specifically) in response to Moses’ prayers.
Forty days and nights, Moses interceded for idolaters. I am challenged today to evaluate how strongly committed I am to praying for Christian friends and loved ones who are wandering outside the will of God. Am I concerned enough about their spiritual condition that I’m willing to fast and pray on their behalf? Am I burdened enough about the name of God that I want Him to rescue wayward followers to glorify Himself? A forty-day complete fast is an unusual commitment in the Bible, but the passion behind it is nevertheless right. I need that same passion to intercede for wanderers.
- Make a focused commitment to pray for a believer who’s going in the wrong direction.
- Plan to fast for at least one meal this week, and use that time for this intercession.
PRAYER: “God, I bring (name) to You. For Your glory and according to Your Word, draw (him or her) back to You.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Deuteronomy 12-15