Going the Extra Mile

This morning while I was doing my devotions, I was reading in Deuteronomy 9 and I was really struck by a few things that I would like to share with you.

Deuteronomy  9:9- 14

When I went up on the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the LORD had made with you, I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water.   The LORD gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God. On them were all the commandments the LORD proclaimed to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the day of the assembly.  At the end of the forty days and forty nights, the LORD gave me the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant.  Then the LORD told me, “Go down from here at once, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have become corrupt. They have turned away quickly from what I commanded them and have made a cast idol for themselves.”   And the LORD said to me, “I have seen this people, and they are a stiff-necked people indeed! 

 “Let me alone, so that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven. And I will make you into a nation stronger and more numerous than they.” 

Moses was speaking to the people just before they were to cross over to the Promised Land and was recalling with them their journey thus far. He had already told them that they were not to think to highly of themselves as they possessed the land as it was not because of their righteousness, but because the lord was going to destroy the people in the land, because of their wickedness. The lord considered them a “stiff necked people”

So what is so significant about the above portion of scripture? Well it struck me that when God was furious with the Israelites because they made the golden calf, He told Moses that he was to leave him alone so that he could destroy them, and make Moses into a great Nation instead.

Moses had a choice to make in his heart at that moment He could of agreed with the lord saying “ yes you are right lord they are a stiff necked people, deserving annihilation”  or He could beg for mercy for them.

He chose mercy!

The following scripture indicates what his next action was

Deuteronomy 9: 15-21

 So I turned and went down from the mountain while it was ablaze with fire. And the two tablets of the covenant were in my hands.  When I looked, I saw that you had sinned against the LORD your God; you had made for yourselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. You had turned aside quickly from the way that the LORD had commanded you.  So I took the two tablets and threw them out of my hands, breaking them to pieces before your eyes. 

 Then once again I fell prostrate before the LORD for forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water, because of all the sin you had committed, doing what was evil in the LORD’s sight and so provoking him to anger.   I feared the anger and wrath of the LORD, for he was angry enough with you to destroy you. But again the LORD listened to me. 

 And the LORD was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him, but at that time I prayed for Aaron too. 

 Also I took that sinful thing of yours, the calf you had made, and burned it in the fire. Then I crushed it and ground it to powder as fine as dust and threw the dust into a stream that flowed down the mountain. 

Instead of Agreeing to the plan of destruction, Moses who had not eaten in 40 days and nights, went back up the mountain and fasted and prayed for another 40 days and nights, (yes no food or drink for 80 days) for a people who probably did not care for him, as much as he cared for them.

I was pretty amazed at what Moses did, but I wandered what would motivate a person to truly sacrifice himself on behalf of others to the extent that Moses did?

The Lord then led me to Proverbs 2

Proverbs 2:1-11

 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 

For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds victory in store for the upright; he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 

 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair–every good path.  For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. 

A man or woman who is filled with the Spirit of the Living God, who is actively seeking out the wisdom and fear of the Lord, will know what is right and just and fair and every good path, as wisdom which is from God will enter his heart and be pleasant to his soul. Discretion will protect them and understanding of God, his heart and his ways will guard them.

This is why Moses was able to do what was right and just and fair before God on behalf of the people. God had broken the heart of Moses for his people a long time ago, he had filled him with a grace and mercy for them, which went beyond understanding and because he was filled with the Knowledge and fear of the lord he pleaded with God, for mercy for the people.

It made me realize that I need a heart like Moses, filled with the fear of the Lord, so that wisdom and knowledge and understanding from heaven will guide my steps, breaking my heart for what breaks God’s heart and giving me a heart of mercy to go the extra mile for the people God has called me to love and walk beside.

Praying for an extra 40 days, cost Moses, his body was weakened already from the lack of food, but he chose the path of righteousness and sought mercy for the people.

I desire to have a heart like that, instead of choosing my own comfort, I desire to go the extra mile in love and prayer and encouragement for those God has lovingly placed in my life.

I want to proclaim like Moses did in

Deuteronomy 32:3-4

I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!   He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. 

Therefore, my prayer for all of us, as we head into this New Year, 2013, that we would be willing to cry out to God for a heart like Moses, who had mercy and compassion on a people who did not necessarily return his affection. I pray that we would be willing to go the extra mile in prayer, in love and mercy and compassion for them. I pray that God would give us the strength to die to ourselves, our agendas, and fight for our brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus Name, Amen.