I had just written the post about “Weeping for Saul” and I thought how that some people might not like what I said there. They could think I’m against really holding on for someone in prayer. There are times for that, certainly. If prayer doesn’t work, why pray?
One time, God became so fed up with the rebellious children of Israel in the wilderness that he told Moses, “I have seen this people and it is a stiff-necked people. Now leave Me alone, so that My wrath may become hot against them and so I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.” (Exodus 32:9 & 10)
So did Moses say, “OK, God. Whatever.”?
No, he didn’t do that. Here’s what the Bible says that Moses prayed to God: “Why does Your wrath become hot against Your people whom You have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘He brought them out, to kill them in the mountains’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and be moved to pity. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore, ‘I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give to your seed.” (Exodus 32:11-13 )
Moses interceded and pled for mercy for those rebellious legions he’d led out of Egypt. And then it says, “So the Lord changed his mind about the calamity he had said he would bring on his people.” (Exodus 32:14 )
Moses pled for his people and the Lord changed His mind. And at length Moses’ successor, Joshua, led the younger generation of Israelites to conquer the land of Israel.There are certainly times where effectual, fervent prayer has been the catalyst for miraculous change and has moved the hand of God.
So why wasn’t that God’s highest and best when Samuel was calling out to God for the rebellious King Saul? It must be like the verse I John 5:14 which says, “If we ask any thing according to His will, he hears us.” (I John 5:14)
In the situation with Saul, God saw that Saul was never repentant, never really getting his heart right with God and he never did. God sees the hearts more than any of us can and He saw that it just wasn’t in Saul’s heart to get right with Him. And so God told Samuel to move on.
But what about you? Are you holding on in prayer for someone? A loved one, a child a situation? Should you do that? Does it seem like I am saying you shouldn’t do that?
You could ask yourself, has your spiritual life with the Lord come to a halt because of what you’re praying about? Is what you’re praying for causing you to not be able to move on to something else the Lord is saying you should be moving towards?
That’s the secret I suppose. Are we still yielded to God? Have we ceased obeying and following the Lord, doing His highest and best, because something we’ve been praying for has not been answered? That’s what Samuel was tempted with. Would he stubbornly refuse to obey God because the Lord had seen that Saul was no longer going to follow Him?
Has some loved ones’ rebellion towards God caused you to become rebellious as well? We sure have times where the Lord really wants us to hold on in prayer for some people or situations, no doubt about that. But if it causes us to stubbornly refuse to continue to follow the Lord and the live the truth He’s shown us because He didn’t do what we thought He should, then that’s a serious mistake. And sadly a number of people do that.
Like the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace told Nebuchadnezzar, “Our God can deliver us and He will. But if He doesn’t, we still are not going to bow down to your idol!” (Daniel 3:18) Lord help us for that to be our heart cry. “God, I know you can answer this prayer. But if you don’t, I’m not going to stop believing and obeying you. If you tell me to move on into something else, by your grace I’ll do that.”
We just need to keep our connection with the Lord strong. If He’s leading you to keep praying for some situation or person, like Samuel said, “God forbid that I should sin in ceasing to pray for you.” (I Samuel 12:23) But if God is telling you to move on in some new way, then we need to obey in that and leave those concerns and the burdens of our heart with Him.
“He knows, He loves, He cares,
nothing His truth can dim.
He gives the best to those
who leave the choice with Him.”