The Beginnings of Christian Reform (7)

                 The Need for National Intercession

Introduction:

One of the important roles of believers in their community and nation, is that of being intercessors. Intercession is a predominant theme in scripture, exemplified by great men such as Abraham (Gen.20:17), Moses (Ex.32:7-14), Daniel (Dan.9:1-19), Ezra (Ezra 9), Nehemiah (Neh.1) and Jesus Himself (Jn.17).

As Derek Prince points out,

the intercessor is one who comes in between God and those who deserve His just wrath and punishment. The intercessor lifts his hands to God and says, ‘God, these deserve Your judgment; You have every right to smite them; but if You smite them, You will have to smite me first, because I am standing in between You and them.’ [1]

Intercession Biblically could be for an individual, a group, a city or a nation. Intercession was one of the great marks of the ministry of Jesus. Isaiah 53, speaking prophetically about the atoning work of our Lord, closes with the comment that He “made intercession for the transgressors” while Hebrews 7:25 tells us that “He always lives to make intercession…”

Ezekiel 22: 30 -31:

I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me in the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found none. Thus I have poured out My indignation on them…

This passage shows that judgment must ultimately fall on a sinful nation, if there is no one to intercede. Though God is merciful, He never compromises over sin. He will always be a just judge (Gen.18:25; Ps.19:9; Rev.16:7).

When Moses came down from the mountain and found Israel engaged in fertility cult worship [Ex.32], he broke the two tablets of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written because the covenant had been broken and was now null and void. The death penalty for its violation now applied to Israel.

Because of this penalty, Moses immediately fasted and prayed. He became the intercessor with God for Israel to prevent the execution of the death penalty. What we see, first, is that Israel was prayed for by Moses to prevent its immediate annihilation. He clearly recognised that God’s justice required death (v.19).[2]

 

Today, every nation of the world that I know of, is in a state of spiritual rebellion and decline. The nations of the West especially, which have largely known prosperity and blessing since the Reformation, are in the process of throwing away their Christian spiritual inheritance, exchanging it for atheism, humanism and socialism. The consequences of this exchange will be severe, long-term and painful for every nation: “He who sins against Me injures himself. All those who hate Me love death” (Prov.8:36).

  1. National Judgment:

National judgment came in Israel, leading to its captivity, because Manasseh “filled Jerusalem with innocent blood” (II Kings 24:1-4). Is the murder of 90,000 Australian babies annually (for perhaps thirty years) through tax-payer funded abortions, “filling the land with innocent blood?” (See Prov.6:16-19; Prov.24:11-12).

  1. National sins lead to national judgment: or, God may be entreated by His people:

The Bible makes it clear (Nu.14:11-20; Ps.106:19-23) that it was only Moses’ intercession which prevented the destruction of the nation of Israel, when it was in rebellion against God.

III. When judgment is threatening, the role of the godly is critical:

We are living in an era of great judgment through natural disasters: the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, where some 270,000 people perished, Hurricane Katrina, and the recent earth-quake in Haiti, where there were 200,000 lives lost.  One weekend over 300 people perished in Chile as a result of a powerful earth-quake. In March 2011, 10,000 people perished in Japan due to an earth-quake/tsunami.

It is folly to attribute these events to the devil, to chance, or natural causes. The Bible teaches us that “…if a calamity occurs in a city has not the Lord done it?” (Amos 3:6b) Christians must understand their intercessory responsibilities before God.

  1. Christians must be interceding for their Nation!

“[If] My people who are called by my Name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and heal their land” (II Chron.7:14). The Bible says that “the prayer of the upright is His delight” (Prov.15:8).

Every Monday night we pray in our household for Australia, including its political leaders, that God would be merciful, initiate repentance and change in our nation, and that He would raise up Christian leaders in the nation to be His spokesmen.

Conclusion:

Wherever you are, will you join with me in regularly interceding for your nation?

  1. a) That God would forgive the many sins of the Church, including our failure to properly represent Him, through Jesus Christ.
  2. b) That God would be merciful to us, for He “delighteth in mercy” (Mic.7:18 KJV).
  3. c) That He would raise up His people to be His spokesmen to the nations.

 

  Thou art coming to a King;

  Large petitions with thee bring;

  For His grace and power are such,

  None can ever ask too much,

 None can ever ask too much

(John Newton)

 

 

[1] “Standing in the Gap,” (The Teaching Ministry of Derek Prince), 2010.

[2] Rousas Rushdoony, “Deuteronomy,” 2008, p.151-2.

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