Behold your God!

Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him . . . He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms(Isaiah 40:9b-11a)

To behold something implies far more than a passing glance. To behold is to explore, discover, and know something better. We are invited to behold our God. To explore and discover His great might; His ruling arm. And in our exploration, in His strong arm we discover ourselves nestled in like needy lambs who are well-loved! This is your God! The One who, in His great might, tends and nourishes His people. Who rends the heavens and tends the needs of His people. Who gave a Savior, His Son, to bleed and die to raise us up out of our own filth. Behold your God! The One who is mighty to save . . . and does!

Good Shepherd, as we behold you today, we see the strong love of the Father in His gracious mercy. Thank you! Amen.

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When God’s People Pray

Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. (Exodus 32:12b)

God’s mind was made up. He had tolerated these stiff-necked, wicked people long enough. His legendary patience had worn thin. To Moses, God unveiled His plan to annihilate His chosen people and start from scratch with him, Moses.

It all started with 400 years’ worth of cries for mercy. From plagues of blood and frogs, lice to locusts, darkness to death, the people were finally freed to go. When their backs were up against the sea, God moved the sea.

But when the unleavened bread was eaten up and the sacrificed lambs were fully digested, they feared God couldn’t provide. As if the God who just walked them through the middle of the sea would forget something as crucial as food! They longed to have full stomachs. So God rained down miraculous food from heaven! And that was nice too . . . for awhile. Before long, however, they were complaining about the lack of variety to their diet!

It gets worse. When the cat’s away, the mice shall play as the saying goes. While Moses was on the mountain conversing with God on their behalf, they were making different plans. They thought Moses was okay and the God who led them out of slavery was nice, but they wanted more. They needed something else. Something . . . tangible. Dutifully they went to their priest, Aaron, demanding a solution to their longing. Aaron made them a young cow of gold and proclaimed it was God.

These are the people God chose out of all the people on the face of the earth. It turns out God doesn’t take too kindly to such slanderous mockery and He became, well, utterly upset. Judgment and punishment were to come swiftly and decisively. These scoundrels have shown once and for all they deserve nothing more than death, so death they shall receive. God’s plan “B” was to wipe them out and start over.

The only thing standing between God and devastation: Moses and a bold prayer. Stepping forward to face the righteous wrath of the Lord, Moses dared speak a word against this new plan. “Please,” Moses begged, “please spare them. Please remember your promises. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Remember your mercy. Remember not their great sins. They are stiff-necked, no doubt. They have earned your wrath, I don’t deny it. But please have mercy. Please do not leave us. Remember how you told me you knew me by name. Remember when you said I found favor in your sight. Do not forsake us.”

It was a bold move. Moses threw caution to the wind and appealed to the God he knew and trusted. And God heard Moses’s prayer. God listened to the prayer of Moses and relented of His wrath.

God always listens to the prayers of His people! For whom can you cry out this day? Who needs intercessory prayers for their days ahead? Boldly come before your Lord and know He listens. That He hears and acts. Come before the Lord in the name of Jesus!

Good and Gracious Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, I boldly come before you today on behalf of ___________ asking for your grace, favor, and mercy. Lead and guide him/her through these days and grant your blessings. Amen.