Last night was just one of those nights (I'm sure we've all had them). I was up all night. I was tired when I went to bed, but I just couldn't get to sleep. All night I was frustrated about it. After what seemed like a looong night, the alarm went off at 7am and I got up to get ready for church.
In between services today, I was talking with Mark (my pastor) and in the conversation I told him that although I don't typically have completely sleepless nights, last night I was up the entire night. He mentioned that he hoped I prayed for him and I had to look him in the eye and say I hadn't. We both laughed, but it was a good reminder for me. I pray for him and Laura often, quite often actually. I pray for our entire staff because the attack on us can be pretty intense because of the work we do. But last night, I wasted it. I was too consumed with me.
Then tonight, "coincidentally" I'm reading in Exodus and came across this verse: "Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend." (33:11) But you have to read the whole beginning part of the chapter about when Moses was leading his people out of Egypt; a WHOLE bunch of people, flawed people (people like you and me and the rest of the world). It says that he would often set up a "tent of meeting" near the camp. Everyone who wanted to make a request of the Lord would go near the tent of meeting and make their request.
BUT...when MOSES went to the tent of meeting, all the people came outside their tents to watch. Can you envision that? Do you wonder why it was different when Moses went? Why it would evoke such a response from everyone? Well, it tells you why. When Moses went into the tent, a great big cloud would come over the tent and hang out there while Moses was inside (are you still picturing this?) Then, that's when that verse, verse 11 comes in..."Inside the tent of meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend." Now that's pretty cool. Moses had reached such an intimacy with God as an intercessor (someone who pleads on another's behalf) that he could speak with God face to face like you do with your friend.
I read a quote once that said "an intercessor is someone for whose sake others are blessed." For Moses’ sake, for his intimacy with God, a whole nation was both spared and blessed. You can read all about that in the OT.
It's about selflessness. When I was awake all night, I WAS praying, but I was praying, "Lord, let me go to sleep." I bet I prayed that a hundred times last night. It was selfish. Mark was not reprimanding me today in any way, he wasn't speaking that way with me, and we actually laughed about it. But it's a lesson for me today, one I already know, but needed to be reminded of. I would love to be that someone...that because of me, someone else is blessed because I interceded for them.