Can't See the Forest for the Trees
Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”
And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
I must say, when I read this account of Moses conversation with God, I actually chuckled. I thought to myself, "Moses! God just told you His presence would go with you! Why would you respond, 'If your presence will NOT go with me, do not bring us up from here." And then Moses continued to make a case for why the Lord should go with them even though God had already said He would!
All I could picture is me and my younger brother when we were kids, putting our heads together on how we were going to ask mom and dad to take us for ice cream. We would even speculate that "if they said maybe, that would mean there was a good chance we could." A spokesperson would be chosen amongst ourselves and then either my brother or myself would carry out our carefully crafted request complete with all the pros for why it would be a good idea to go get ice cream. The "spokesperson" would be so busy making our case, that we totally missed that our father had already nodded his head yes. Then when the realization hit, we'd be like REALLY?!? lol. Imagine if a lawyer presented his case like that and then when he won the court battle, would act all shocked and shout in the court room "REALLY?!?" lol. That would definitely beg the question, "Did you believe anything you were pleading?".
I confess I do this in prayer as well... When I pray I assume the answer is no or will result in a negative outcome, and then miss the answer in the process!
Or I will come up with the answer that I deem fit for the request and then carefully ask the Lord in prayer. Inevitably, in the short-term, I would miss the answer because the outcome wasn't how I determined it should be... Yet ultimately it was answered in God's good and perfect way.
I actually wrote a post about this a few years ago that sheds more light on missing answer to prayer in my post Dare to Ask.
Prayer is the way we speak to God... And we can talk to Him like a friend because Jesus is our Friend.
I think there is something about conversations with friends that are very different than any other relationship. Maybe it's because we aren't typically asking or expecting something of our friends, but just sharing and doing life together. There is an ease to these types of friendships and conversations where true listening takes place because there is an underlying trust as confidants and friends.
We can come to the throne of Grace with that same ease. The Lord Jesus is our ultimate Confidant and Friend. We don't need to carefully craft our requests, pleading our cases or coming up with the process by which the prayer request is answered, but we can trust Jesus to listen for He knows us and our circumstances better than we do, how ever He sees fit to answer, we can rest in that. We don't need to talk over Him and miss that the answer has already come.
Whatever you ask in my name,
this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Moses knew the Truth of John 14:13, and typically when He spoke to God, He would pray that the Lord would glorify Himself by answering, but in the account from Exodus I shared above, He pled the fact of "how would the people know that he and the Israelites had found favor in God's eyes."
I could be making a big assumption here. So please take this with a grain of salt. But I wonder if Moses wasn't hearing the answer to his prayer because he was basing it on how he and the Israelites would be perceived. Was there a moment of doubting God's favor?...
But as I shared in last week's post Grown-ups Have Temper Tantrums Too!, when the Lord answers our prayers it is not based on what we have or haven't done as children of God, but based on His will and His great love for us.
I find great comfort in knowing that God does glorify Himself in all our answered prayers. As a result, we can absolutely know that He WILL answer... Let's anticipate that answer with great joy, free from fear or worry.
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