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Prayers of the Prophets – Lesson 4: Backsliding

O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. Hosea 14:1,4

Scripture Reading: Exodus 32:1-10

God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt. Reading the Exodus account clearly shows that this was no easy task, for to prove His power and might to Egypt, God had “hardened” Pharaoh’s heart against letting the Israelites go. After the tenth devastating plague had fallen on Egypt, wiping out the firstborn from every Egyptian household, he finally conceded and freed God’s people. But Pharaoh soon had a change of heart and pursued them to the Red Sea, where the waters of the sea were brought down to destroy his mighty army. Israel was free! … or were they?

Moses soon discovered that getting the people out of Egypt was much easier than getting “Egypt” out of the people! Complaining, disobedient, stubborn, and even idolatrous all described the Israelite brood. Too rebellious too allow God to write His laws upon their hearts, they were taken to Mt. Sinai where God wrote His holy code in softer material-stone tablets! And coming down from the mountain with the 10 Commandments, Moses found them bowing down to a golden calf (an idol of Egypt!). The Lord was furious, ready to slay them all, and then start afresh with just Moses. But Moses interceded in prayer. Faithful Moses! – confronted Pharaoh and Israel on behalf of God, and now willing to approach God on behalf of Israel. Moses the mediator-the intercessor-the deliverer. And where would Israel be without his prayers?

How long has it been since you wept for lost souls? Have you been praying for those that you know are backslidden? The prayers of an intercessor are powerful!

Lesson Questions

  1. What did God want to do to the Israelites for making the golden calf to worship? Ex. 32:7-10.
  2. How was Moses’ first plea of intercession protective of God’s honor? Ex. 32:11-12; Num. 14:13-19.
  3. What did Moses use as the legal defense of Israel to ask for God’s mercy? Ex. 32:13-14; Gen. 22:15-18; Heb. 6:13-18.
  4. In his second intercession before Yahweh, what did Moses offer as an atonement for Israel’s sin? Ex. 32:30-32; (see also Paul’s intense desire in Rom. 9:1-5).
  5. What was God’s response to Moses’ atonement offering? Ex. 32:33-35.
  6. Why did Moses pray for God’s presence to go with Israel? Exodus 33:12-17.
  7. What did Moses request for himself? Ex. 33:18-23.
  8. How was Moses affected by exposure to God’s glory? Ex. 34:29-35.
    Note: Apostle Paul shared in II Cor. 3:13-14 that Moses wore the veil so that the Israelites wouldn’t see the temporary nature (fading glory) of the Old Covenant-standing in stark contrast to the eternal nature of Christ’s glory and the New Covenant. When reading the Old Testament, the Israelite’s eyes were blinded to the clear revelation of Christ, the true glory of God, even as many are blinded today.

Life Application

We all have family members or acquaintances who need to be saved. Keep praying for their deliverance and salvation every day. At the same time, pray for wisdom in reaching them with your witness for Christ. Ask God to help you be a soul-winner. Other lives depend on it!