“Who turned the rock into a pool of water, The flint into a fountain of waters.”
Israel was in a bad place. Conservative estimates calculate the camp of Israel to be nearly 2 million souls. They had left the comfort of the Nile river and began the arduous journey through the desert en route to the land of Promise. It did not take long before the difficulty of their journey began to take its toll physically and emotionally. The hardship of their experience coupled with the lack of basic provisions caused them to doubt the power of God to carry them safely to their destination. When their water supply ran out it is understandable that their faith was challenged and their weaknesses revealed. Their hardship would provide another opportunity for God to reveal His loving kindness. The characters in the scene include the congregation of Israel, an arid desert, a solid rock and a stick in the hand of Moses. What looked to be an impossible situation turned out to be a means for God to reveal Himself to the nation.
All of us find ourselves face to face with difficulty that is beyond our ability. We might not be in a physical desert or be in want of water but we are certainly in the midst of circumstances that are beyond our ability to handle. What a joy to know that God can use whatever means are at our disposal to provide whatever is lacking in our lives. The one who turned the rock into a pool of water is the same one who will provide for you in whatever struggle you are currently facing.
“Then Queen Esther answered and said, ‘If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request.'”
When the chance arose for Esther to make her request known to the king, she pleaded on the behalf of others. This is called intercession, and is a critical part of the prayer life of every believer.
When Jesus responded to the disciples’s request to teach them to pray, He gave a model prayer that included praise, petition, confession and intercession. When we pray we should allow time for praying on behalf of others. Intercession includes both praying with others, and in the place of others. We should pray for the physical and spiritual needs of our Christian friends, and we should pray for those who have not yet come to Christ.
Esther’s prayer for the life of her countrymen is a good illustration of what is at stake when we are praying for our unsaved friends. We should keep in mind, we are standing between them and separation from God. Like the watchman who stood guard over an ancient city, we should stand in the gap for those who don’t yet know Christ; praying for their salvation.
Intercession should include praying for their hearts to soften, their eyes to open, and an opportunity for them to hear the Gospel. We should also pray for boldness to share the love of Christ with them, and power to live out our Christianity in a way that is attractive to them.
A great complement to intercession, is taking an opportunity to show the love of Jesus. Perhaps an invitation to coffee, or even to church, might open a door to share the Gospel with someone you have been praying for.
1 Kings 13:6
“Then the king answered and said to the man of God, ‘Please entreat the favor of the Lord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.’ So the man of God entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored to him, and became as before.”
Jeroboam had been called and anointed as king of Israel. He was given the same opportunities and promises that David was given. His problem was, instead of drawing near to the Lord, he followed the gods of the surrounding nations, and turned Israel away from the Lord. God, in His unparalleled mercy, sent an unnamed prophet to win Jeroboam back to the ways of the Lord. The man of God declared a powerful message of rebuke to the king; and with a stunning show of the power of God, the altar split in two. Jeroboam’s heart had become so hardened, his response was to demand this young man be imprisoned. As the king’s hand stretched forth condemning the prophet, his hand suddenly withered. With a withered hand, and a broken altar, the king pleaded with the prophet to pray for him. Sadly, his prayer was not one of repentance, he simply wanted things restored to the way they were.
Unfortunately, Jeroboam is not alone in this. Too often, when calamity comes our way, as a result of wandering off the path of God, we seek only to have things returned to normal. The king should have taken this as a time to repent of ungodly activities, and get to the business of following the Lord. It is both wrong and dangerous, if we are only seeking to have the Lord take our difficulties from us, and not seeking to live a life that is well pleasing to Him.