Saturday, September 22, 2007

Praying with the Bible

Knowledge of the Bible is a loop that feeds back into prayer, and prayer then leads back to informing our Bible study.

Numbers 13-14 tells us of the Israelite spies going into the land to scope it out. When they return, all of the spies except Caleb and Joshua provide a pessimistic report to the people, telling them they should fear the inhabitants of the land. The people of Israel rebel, begin making plans to return to Egypt, and argue that God has brought them and their children into this new land that they might all die there. God in turn offers to Moses that He will disinherit the people, and create a new people from Moses.

Moses' prayer is interesting. The thrust of it is to argue that if the people of Israel die, God's name will be blasphemed among the heathen. He argues from the greatness of God's mercy, and argues explicitly from the forgiveness of their sins which the Israelites had already received.

This prayer is much like Abraham's prayer in Genesis 18. Both men essentially remind God of Who He is, and of His nature, and plead with Him to act as He is. Abraham further argues that it is against God's nature to destroy the righteous with the wicked.

Notice also the Trinitarian nature of Moses' argument in Numbers 14.14: "thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night." Notice also that once again the Israelites are reminded that God speaks to them "face to face," which ties in with the theme of glory, a recurring motif in the book of Numbers.

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