Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you:
Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God.
It’s been a while so in case you need a refresher (because I did), in the previous Leadership Lessons with Papa Jethro blog, we noted that leaders listen. What’s next?
Lesson 2: Leaders Intercede for Those They Serve
As I said before, Moses has always been one of my heroes probably because he reluctantly became a leader. He doesn’t just lead though, he has an intimate relationship with God the Father and intercedes on behalf of the children of Israel many, many times. Here it seems that Papa Jethro wisely points out, “Hey Moses, Stop trying to fix everything for everybody and start bringing difficulties before God first.”
Long ago in a small Sunday school room in North Carolina…
I remember studying a passage at the end of Numbers 16. God was ready to put an end to the children of Israel and Aaron, at Moses’ command, runs into the middle of the gathering with the incense to make atonement for them since the plague had already started. It goes on to say, “[Aaron]Â stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped.” (Numbers 16: 48)
The reason I remember it so well is that my teacher, Lucinda, said to me, “You’re going to be one that does what Aaron did. You’re going to be an intercessor. You’re going to stand between the living and the dead and see people saved.”
Perhaps an interesting thing to remember since I often can’t recall what day it is. Nonetheless, it impacted me because as Christians we should be ones who are interceding, or pleading on behalf of others, to find life in Christ.
It sounds like no big deal though, right?Just stand before God for the people so you can give Him the difficult problems.Â
Personally I find that intercession is anything but easy because you recognize the weight of what will happen if something does not change, if God does not intervene.Â In the Numbers 16 passage, as in several others, there was a literal matter of life or death.
The thing with intercession is that it requires putting aside yourself completely. It is often uncomfortable, messy and maybe even unappreciated. It may take days or even years of interceding and sometimes you still don’t have the privilege of witnessing the change you are desperately pleading for, but then it isn’t about the intercessor.
Lucinda, my Sunday school teacher, spent hours interceding on my behalf during some of my darker days as I struggled to find life and God. At the time, I hated it but now I am forever grateful for her persistence in prayer and her love.
Intercession requires great love, and great love often requires great sacrifice.
Moses had to love the people of Israel to intercede time and time again for them, even to the point of saying to God that if He wouldn’t forgive their sin then He could also remove Moses from His book. (Exodus 32:32)
Aaron had to have a great love for the people of Israel to grab the incense and run into the midst of a God-sent plague in hopes of saving them.
Jesus had to have a great love for us to take on the sin of the world, take on death, Â and come back to life to forever be interceding (Hebrews 7:25).
We, as Christians, have the opportunity to put ourselves aside and join with Christ in interceding for the many around us who are in great need. There are many difficulties that we simply cannot fix, but we can bring them before God and leave them in His capable hands.
I often feel like I fail those in my life because in my busy schedule and desire to do good I forget to intercede and let God take care of the big issues that I cannot and am not meant to handle. And sometimes I simply avoid it because it is difficult and it seems easier to close my ears and sing “la la la la la” at the top of my lungs instead of recognizing reality. That doesn’t stop reality from being reality though.