Selfless Intercession (Exodus 32:32) - Radical

Selfless Intercession (Exodus 32:32)

“But now, if you will forgive their sin, but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.”
– Exodus 32:32

What a prayer in Exodus 32:32! So this is Moses praying after, at the beginning of this chapter, people are worshiping an idol. They’ve constructed a golden calf, they’re bowing down, they’re worshiping and indulging in all kinds of immorality, flowing from their idolatry, which is usually the way it works. Always the way it works, really. Idolatry leads to immorality.

We are prone to stay silent in fear when it comes to sharing the gospel. Let’s put ourselves aside, calling out to God on behalf of others that we may boldly proclaim Christ to them.

So, Moses stands in the gap and he prays, he intercedes, for the people and their sin, and he’s asking God to forgive them. He’s pleading for God to forgive them. And he says in this Exodus 32:32, “Forgive their sin, but if not … ” now listen to this, the take this far, “If you won’t forgive them, oh God, then please blot me out of the book that you have written.”

Exodus 32:32 Reminds Us to Pray for Sinners

Wow! Like, what does it mean to pray like that. To pray for sinners that are under the judgment of God and then say, if you won’t forgive them, don’t even forgive me, like, Moses is so identifying himself with sinners, here, with those that are under the judgment of God, that he’s saying, “If they’re going to be under your judgment, then put me under your judgment. I’m with them.” This is true intercession.

Exodus 32:32 Reminds Us to Be Compassionate

Think about it. We see an example of this in Romans 9 with Paul. Paul’s praying for the Jewish people, and he’s saying, “I would throw myself in the fire so that they could be saved.” Like, I’d go to Hell, basically, for them to experience salvation. That’s a whole level of compassion and intercession that I think is pretty unfamiliar.

It’s unfamiliar to me to say, to look at people, right now that are lost and say, “God, if you won’t save them, then don’t save me. I’d rather go to Hell than them go to Hell.” Like, that is some selfless intercession. It’s offering yourself in the place of sinners. Really, the ultimate example of this we know is Jesus in the Gospel. This is what He has done. He has offered Himself in the place of sinners.

This Verse Leads Us to Pray For Those Around Us

And so, I’m just compelled to pray. If I was to pray like this for sinners around us, who are under your judgment, to pray for their salvation and to put ourselves in their place to be willing to endure judgment so that they might be saved. And God, this certainly changes perspective of even sharing the Gospel. We are so prone to stay silent with the Gospel and not share the Gospel because we’re afraid of what it might do to our reputation, or afraid it might be awkward, or afraid we might get rejected or this or that. God, when we’re praying with real compassion for people who are lost around us, that we will not be worried about those things anymore. We will gladly do whatever to share the Gospel with them.

This Verse Leads Us to Pray for Compassion

So, God, may that be so. Please, oh God, give us that kind of compassion. That kind of selflessness. God help us to put ourselves aside, and to share the Gospel today. I pray for that in my life, I pray for that for everybody that’s listening to this. Every follower of Christ. God give us the boldness to share the Gospel with somebody today. And bring salvation to sinners around us today, we pray. We’re pleading for them right now. We pray for the people we’re going to share with. Please save them, please save them.

We pray, not just for the people around us, we pray where you’ve told us to pray. We pray for the nations, where you’ve called us to make disciples. Specifically, we pray for the Abaza people in Russia. 45,000 of them, just a few believers there in that people group. God we pray, save the Abaza people. Show your salvation among them. Give us hearts for them that would cause us to say, “If you won’t save them, don’t save us.” Teach us to pray like that. For unreached people in the world.

So. Oh, God. We have so much to learn about how to pray and how to love others as you’ve called us to. So, teach us to pray and teach us to love, as Jesus loves. And as Jesus has taught us to pray. In His name we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.


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