The fervent prayers of a righteous man avails much. One intercessor pleading on behalf of others can change the fate of a person, place, people, congregation, or nation. This is proven throughout scripture with examples like: Moses, Ester, and even Christ Himself.
Time and time again God got fed up with the Israelites in the wilderness and readied Himself to destroy them. Yet Moses repeatedly interceded on their behalf and stayed God’s wrath, even while those he interceded for stood ready to stone him. One of my favorite examples of this can be found in Exodus chapter 32, starting in verse 9.
Weary of their constant sin, rebellion, and lack of trust in His Words, God tells Moses that He will kill all of this wicked and stiffnecked (stubborn) people, and make a new nation from Moses only. Now it’s important to understand what this really meant for Moses. These people pretty much hated him. They gave him nothing but trouble. Moses had given up everything, being heir to the thrown of Egypt, to lead these people from bondage to freedom. All the while they constantly cursed him, mocked him, frustrated him, wanted to kill him, usurp him, or replace him, they disregarded everything he told them as God’s messenger, and drastically slowed both their own and his journey.
Not only was God telling Moses that He was going to take the burden of this people off of him, but that this great nation of promise would now come solely from him. It would have loved and honored him and He would have been its patriarch as Abraham was to this people. Instead of history identifying Jehovah as the God of Abraham, it would have henceforth identified Him as the God of Moses, the father of a great people.
With all of this laid before him, what did Moses do? Did he leap and praise and bless the Lord his God in whom he had found favor? No, he fell, wept, and pleaded with the Lord his God in whom these people had lost favor, begged on their behalf for one more chance, and God obliged. Because of the intercession of one selfless man, the fate of an entire nation and the history of the world was changed. Truly the effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man really does avail much. This is not an isolated occurrence, but an assured and repeated reality.
God is love but God is also just. It is not His will that any should perish, but that all come to repentance. However, we have free will and He is not a man that He should lie. Therefore, what He has spoken He must honor, be it blessing or wrath. All of God’s promises come with conditions and when we refuse to humble ourselves before God and meet those conditions His justice requires Him to act. Yet He has built in a loop hole, that promise that the effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man avails much. Herein lies the power, place, and purpose of the intercessor. To carry the burden of a people who have lost the desire to carry it themselves. To have hope for the hopeless, compassion for the compassion-less, and faith for the faithless. In this the Lord is well pleased and His anger stayed.
When there is no righteousness in a people, place, or nation, God calls forth righteous intercessors to stand in the gap and pray for the fallen. The more unrighteous the people, the greater the need for righteous intercessors to turn the tide. Even just one faithful intercessor can change the fate of multitudes, but if no man will answer the call, then judgment will surely fall.
We now stand in the midst of a nation of greedy corrupt leaders, sin justifying preachers, and lying flattering prophets, who rule over a selfish, wicked, and prideful people. The cup of the wrath of the Lord stands ready to be poured out upon a people not ready to drink it. Yet even still, God is desperately looking for one willing to stand in the gap for them. A righteous man or woman, who will plead with selfless humility, pray with shake-less faith, and change the fate of a nation, even if only for a generation. Will it be you?
“Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have daubed them with untempered mortar, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord God, when the Lord hath not spoken. The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God.” – Ezekiel 22:26-31