Num. 14:19 Please pardon the sins of this people because of your magnificent, unfailing love, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.
God had plans to destroy the Israelites because of their rebellious, sinful hearts, until Moses prayed for them. Because Moses prayed, God relented and did not destroy them. A couple of things jump out at me.
First, Moses cared enough for the people of Israel to pray for them. It’s hard to appreciate why Moses felt like he did for the people. They often made life miserable for him. They were complainers. They often held Moses responsible for their problems. They didn’t always follow his leadership. They kept falling back into sinful practices. They really were a difficult people to be around, let alone lead. In spite of the kind of people they were, Moses couldn’t just sit back while God destroyed them. He cared for their souls enough to plead with God on their behalf. I wonder, “How prone we are to pray for those who make our lives miserable?” Do we care that they are like sheep without a shepherd? When was the last time you prayed for God to help and save someone who was a thorn in your flesh?
Another thing that strikes me is the concern that Moses had for God’s reputation amongst the nations. Moses knew that if God were to destroy the Israelites, it would give the rest of the world an excuse to reject Him and call into question His ability to save His people. Moses cared about God and pleaded for his mercy so that God would be seen in a positive light and not a negative one. I wonder, how much do we care about how God is perceived amongst men? Do we love Him enough to strive to protect His image by the ways in which we represent Him daily in our lives? What kind of a God do people see in you? Do they see a God of magnificent and unfailing love? Do they see a God who really cares and instills His love for them in you? Do they see enough of who God really is in you to be attracted to Him?
The greatest witness we have for a lost people is our genuine love for them. We cannot be a witness to the whole world, but we can be a witness in our own little worlds. We are God’s love agents to those whom we rub shoulders with. We are the ones to pray for them and show them the way to Christ.