Thus did Moses; as the LORD commanded him, so he did.Numbers 17:11
One complaint I’ve heard among unbelievers – including yours truly in the years before God got through to my stubborn heart -is that prayer doesn’t “work.”
I confess I only have my own pre-Christ experience to draw from when I’m breaking that phrase apart. However, what I meant at the time (and what I think most unbelievers mean today) is that their prayers do not achieve the results they want.
Of course, if every prayer whispered or shouted resulted in a concrete and predictable outcome, prayer would merely be the coinage for the vending machine on high. But that’s a rant for another day, perhaps.
My prayer habits after nearly two decades of following Christ are markedly different then the demands I haughtily tossed at the Most High back in my arrogant youth. During those days, I evidently thought that I, the creation, had some inalienable right to order my Creator around. Talk about role reversal!
It can be argued that Moses made his share of bold and unseemly comments and requests. Especially for a person who had witnessed several mind-boggling displays of power, the guy had a bit of steel in him when it came to talking with the Lord of Hosts.
If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.Numbers 11:15
Read Exodus and Numbers. There are plenty more. The intriguing thing is, despite Moses’s alarming audacity, God grants a great many of his petitions!
For me on this, my anybody’s-guessth time through the Bible, a refrain of sorts has captured my attention. It always begins with, “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying…” and often ends with a variation on, “…Moses did as the Lord commanded him.”
Another way of putting it is the book is full of God’s instruction and Moses’ obedience.
When I think about it in these terms, what I called “prayer” in my unbelieving days – those imperious attempts at imposing my will upon God’s – were highly ignorable. Not because they were bold or demanding, but because there wasn’t a single atom of obedience tied up in them.
Though his start may have been a trifle reluctant, Moses did spend a good portion of his life obeying God. Even then, his disobedience was addressed and dealt with by God. Sin is always serious even if it is seldom.
So when the Lord speaks to us, do we listen and obey? Or are we more apt to filter the words of God, discarding the uncomfortable bits and keeping only the attractive and cozy ones?
If as the Lord commanded does not often appear in the refrain of our lives, why would we expect any of our requests to be granted? And if we aren’t hearing from the Lord at all, we might want to check our obedience and cooperation levels as well.
He is, after all, God. King.Creator. Above all things, He is to be reverenced and obeyed.