HYPERLINK "http://ubfnet.ning.com/notes/Moses_Prayed_to_the_Lord"by Missionary Isaac Kim
Then Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord.
The main theme of the book of Exodus is redemption. The Lord works to redeem his people to himself, so that the Lord would walk among them and fulfill his will in and through them.
For this purpose the Lord established a man named Moses. As a leader chosen by God one of the first things he needed to learn was prayer. When we review the book of Exodus we quickly learn that it was through prayer that Moses carried out God’s will. It was through prayer that Moses was able to redeem his people to God’s side. In our generation we are called to lead people out of a modern day Egypt into the Promised Land, that is, the kingdom of God. So today we would like to think about Moses’ prayer.
First, what was Moses up against?
This question answers the question of why we need to pray.
Let us read Exodus 1:1-14 responsively. This passage says that the new king who did not know Joseph began to greatly oppress the Israelites. This new king ruthlessly ruled the Israelites, making their lives bitter.
This passage tells us what Moses was up against. Moses was to stand up against Pharaoh who was symbolic of the devil.
In the same way we are to stand up against the ruler of the air who holds an iron grip on all who sin and disobey. With our own power we cannot lead people out of Egypt and into Jesus’ sheep pen. This is where the need for prayer arises.
In Mark 9:29 Jesus teaches us the same truth by saying, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” Here “this kind” refers to the evil spirit that caused one teenage boy to rock and roll. Let us read Mark 9:14-29 responsively. Here “this kind” refers to a special kind, that is, the deaf and mute spirit that took possession of the boy. Jesus did not say “this kind cannot come out without prayer.” Rather he said, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” This clearly tells us that certain tasks can be accomplished only by prayer.
In the case of the Israelites it looked impossible for them to set themselves free from the iron grip of Pharaoh. The political system, the law that subjected the Israelites to slavery, and the task masters Pharaoh put over the Israelites all looked too powerful for the Israelites to defeat. Figuratively speaking, getting the Israelites out of Egypt looked as impossible as a man trying to move the Rocky Mountains with his bare hands.
We have several prayer topics which look impossible for us: the prayer topic to raise up seventy new disciples this year, the prayer topic to double in number by year 2010. There are many churches where even more than one hundred thousand people gather. But still it appears that it is impossible for us to build a ministry with more than 300 students attending. Is it because each time I see the Sunday report, I have seen the number of Americans never exceeding 100, with the number being always less than the number of the so-called missionaries? Isn’t it because each time I see the numbers on the report, I get the message saying, “Look, you are stuck. Why is it that your ministry does not grow?” And associated with these negative ideas come other excuses that say, “Look, you are a Korean trying to build a ministry among native speakers.” And, “Look, your English is still terrible. When will you be able to speak like Bill Clinton?” But this excuse is no longer applicable, for nowadays, for the most part, native speakers are serving Sunday messages. Another excuse has to do with facilities. We have been taught to go for the so-called manger ministry. The idea that it is not good to build a mega church is so deeply embedded in our mindset. We think that it is not biblical to run a church with facilities as big and modern as the Walter Disney Hall in downtown LA. In the past I always believed that everything is possible for him who believes. But nowadays when one person files the slightest objection, I quickly lose courage and say, “Look, this man does not like my idea. Maybe this idea is not worth pursuing.” Then I drop the idea and keep my mouth shut.
We have huge prayer topics for Bible America and World Campus mission. We have been praying for prayer topics like sending 100,000 missionaries by a certain year, or praying for 700 weekly one to one’s. But do we really believe that these prayer topics will turn into the reality? We have been praying that America would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Do we pray believing that this would happen even in our generation? Or do we pray just for the sake of praying, or just for the sake of making us look spiritual?
Exodus 1:6 reads, “Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died.” This passage is as good as saying, “Now Joseph died.” What died here is not just one human being but one spiritual man, a man who walked with God. Joseph had faith in God. He believed in the power of prayer. God’s Spirit had worked in him. He was God in motion. In a way he was the torch light for the people of his generation. But Joseph died. This means that his generation lost spiritual leadership. They lost God’s dimension. His generation was devoid of people having a connection with God. His generation then became a dead generation. No wonder that as they tried to make a living in a slave market they ended up suffering endlessly and pointlessly. When they had a spiritual leader they enjoyed God’s favor falling upon the entire generation. But it was no longer the case.
Now that Joseph was gone, Pharaoh, the instrument of the devil, filled the void. He in turn put slave masters over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. Moses was up against the evil one who established a slavery system coming with iron shackles tied around the necks, hands, and feet of the Israelites.
What Moses was up against was not just external conditions, such as a political system, but also internal ones, such as the slave mentality built inside of the so-called chosen people Israel. They were all individualistic. They did not learn to work as a team. They were all opinionated. They never learned how to respect spiritual leaders. They did not know how to take orders from their spiritual leaders.
In this way, Moses had challenges which were far bigger and greater than himself. But we have someone who is bigger than all that are big. Knowing that it is impossible to fulfill these prayer topics on our own, God gave us the privilege to pray. During our Monday prayer meetings we would like to offer prayers believing that God will fulfill the prayer topics he gave us.
Second, what made Moses’ prayer effective?
This brings us to the next question, that is, what made Moses’ prayer effective? To say that we have the privilege to offer prayers is one thing, but to actually exercise this privilege and get all of our prayers answered is another. After all, if anyone is a Christian, prayer is one of the first things he or she is asked to do. But we know that not all of their prayers are effective.
Moses was different. When he prayed the Lord answered. The Lord God used Moses’ prayer in order to cause the ten plagues to be inflicted upon the Egyptians. The Lord removed the results of 9 out of the 10 plagues all according to Moses’ prayer. Because Moses’ prayers were so effective, even Pharaoh appreciated the power of Moses’ prayer and at one point he even asked Moses to pray for him (Exodus 8:28).
The power of Moses’ prayer strikes us most clearly in his ability to communicate with the Lord. Exodus 33:11 reads, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” How was it that Moses came so close to the Lord? We know that an effective prayer is predicated upon a close relationship between a prayer servant and the Lord. How was it that Moses came to maintain such a close relationship with the Lord that his prayer became so effective?
We can find an answer to this question when we review how Moses came to be what he became, and we can find the answer in what he sacrificed. In order to draw near to God he sacrificed all he needed to sacrifice. Characteristically, what he sacrificed represents hindrances to building an intimate relationship with the Lord. These hindrances make one’s prayers ineffective.
We can categorize what Moses sacrificed into two categories: external hindrances and internal hindrances.
Firstly, external hindrances.
Moses used to live as the son of Pharaoh. Moses sacrificed this position. The idea is that in order for one to be able to destroy the power of Pharaoh one must first make Pharaoh his personal enemy, not remain as his friend. As long as Moses remained as the son of Pharaoh, Moses would continue to remain as his slave. In order to liberate the slave nation Israel from the grip of Pharaoh, Moses must first separate himself from Pharaoh. Otherwise, no matter what Moses would pray for the Lord would never honor his requests.
Jesus explained this concept when he said in Matthew 12:25-26, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?” As Jesus mentions here, his prayer became so effective firstly because he thoroughly separated himself from what Satan is all about. Jesus demonstrated his being the antithesis of Satan in defeating Satan’s temptations.
In Moses' case, he not only gave up his position as the son of Pharaoh but also made Pharaoh his personal enemy. This is very important, for Jesus said in Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.” Jesus included in the list only some of the enemies of a disciple: his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters. He also included one’s own life. This means that a lot more can be included in the list. In fact anything other than Jesus himself must be included here. For example, we are called to love our sheep. But we must learn to hate our sheep in order to lead sheep to Jesus. Jesus set a good example on this point: Jesus loved Peter. But still when Peter was entertaining human thoughts, Jesus sternly rebuked him saying, “Satan, get behind me!”
External isolations should not stop at merely giving up one’s positions, such as being the heir of the Egyptian Empire. Isolations must include practically putting a complete chasm between what is worldly and what is divine. In Moses' case, he practically left Pharaoh’s royal place. He went far away into a desert land. In the desert there was no hint of human civilization. In the desert of Sinai, Moses did not have any contact with anything that is humane or mundane. All he had were plants, trees, limestone, sand dunes, winds, the night sky, stars at night, moonlight, but no street lights or neon signs. He did not get himself exposed to anything secular. Of course, he tended to someone else’s flock. But animals were alright. They did not fall. And if your minds are enlightened you can learn a lot about God by looking at animals, such as sheep, cows, donkeys, butterflies and bumble bees.
Secondly, internal hindrances.
What Moses had to sacrifice or get himself devoid of included not just what is external but also internal. What shapes man more is information, such as his memory, rather than the physical formation of how his body is shaped. What shaped Moses was the information that was stored up in his mind for forty long years while he was staying in Egypt. One may wonder why the Lord put Moses through desert training for forty years. But there is no magic about the number 40, for God put him in the desert for forty years only to empty Moses of all the ungodly information that was stored up in him during his first forty years. The word information consists of two words: in and formation. It was the information that made Moses feel proud. It was his pride that hindered him from getting his prayers effective. But throughout the forty years of living in the desert the Lord emptied him of every thread of ungodly information, particularly, the notion to think that Moses is a somebody. If you think you are somebody, the Lord cannot use you as much as he desires. The Lord can use most powerfully those who are as dead as the staff in Moses hand.
Making these two categories of sacrifices is called the process of sanctification. Referring to this process, the Apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is interesting to note that the Apostle Paul added the phrase, “at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” One of the imports of this addition is that at the coming of Jesus, all the important prayer topics will be fulfilled in a most dramatic way. And all believes are called to participate in seeing all of their prayer topics coming true in a most dramatic way. The condition for their prayer topics to become fully effective is for them to be sanctified through and through on all three levels of their existence: spirit, soul, and body.
Tonight we are gathered to pray for God’s work to be done. But before we offer prayers, it is my prayer that all of us remember two things: what we are up against and what causes our prayers to be ineffective. Particularly, the second point is very important. Each of us must establish repentance topics remembering what may cause his or her prayers to be ineffective.
One word: Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord