As I read through many of the Old Testament books in the bible I often struggle with the dynamics of the relationship between God and His people. Let me try and explain.
It is hard for me to relate to the life and experience of the Israelite people as they wandered in the desert having to make sacrifices and offerings (burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, guilt offerings) for forgiveness when they had broken their covenant with God. As a believer today I have an open line of communication with God through prayer, through the sacrifice made by Christ on the cross I have privilege of coming before God through Christ to ask for forgiveness. I often wonder how my faith would have been different if I was wandering with the Israelites through the desert.
Reading through the book of Numbers gives us a glimpse into the life and actions of the people and it’s leaders. On behalf of the people Moses talked with God, he prayed for deliverance from afflictions and destruction when they all had sinned and turned their backs on God. In the face of difficulty and opposition we have a leader who stood strong and humbly went before the Lord on their behalf. As leaders today we have the privilege of praying for others. So far, it has been my experience that most people no matter their maturity in faith or understanding of grace and mercy continue to look to their leaders for prayer and direction. As a leader this becomes a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Like Moses we can be leaders who pray for God’s people and in light of the cross we have the opportunity to encourage them to pursue a personal relationship with Him. I am thankful for a loving, gracious and merciful God who sacrificed His Son so that we could have a relationship with Him.