To learn about the importance of praying for our bothers and sisters in Christ, we will taking our scripture reading from Numbers 16. To deepen your knowledge of God’s word, I suggest that your read the chapter entirely as well as follow along with the scripture references throughout this devotional.
We are far from being a perfect creation; most of the time we are disobedient and we are always sinful. We abuse others and we try to fit God into our lives instead of placing our lives in God. However, while in our rebellion God still wants to be near and made it possible to draw us to himself through the blood shed of Jesus.
Because we have become new creations we sometimes forget about our brothers and sisters who are struggling in sin.
When those in our community are sinning, what is our response? Some of us condemn them. Some of us shun them. Some of us are in agony over them, while some of us really don’t care. We should take our example from Moses and Aaron’s reactions when prominent religious leaders and members chose to rally against the authority of God when he placed Aaron an his descendants as Israels priesthood (Exodus 28:1).
Each time those around them were sinning and drifting away from God, Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground (verses 4, 22, and 45). I think it is safe to assume that each time they were face to the ground it was because they were praying and getting into God’s presence because immediately afterward there would be some sort of statement about God. Before they said or did anything they needed to make sure that God’s will was behind the decision they made. Working outside of God has its consequences, and they knew that the severity of the issue would not allow room for any mistakes.
Through Moses and Aaron’s example of prayer there are 3 basic “prayer principles” we can follow when helping those in the church who are sinning
- Pray for Guidance
- Plead with God in prayer
- Take action and purify
Pray For Guidance
Moses prayed before he ever initially confronted Korah and his followers. When an issue is brought to us our first reaction shouldn’t be to judge and condemn, it should be to go into prayer. God knows the perfect way to deal with any situation. When we enter the situation without first going to him we can make everything worse and more difficult to fix. God told Moses exactly what to say, so he will do the same for us when we ask him. He will guide us to the right motions to do, the right tone to use, and the right words to say.
Plead with God
Korah decided to still go down the path he was on, even after Moses spoke with him. He rallied people around him to overthrow a system God placed because of pride. He angered God to the point that God commanded Aaron and Moses to run away so he could kill all the Israelites. Our God is a perfect God, in which there is no darkness. At the sight of light darkness must flee, just as in the presence of God sin must be banished. Aaron and Moses knew the people of Israel would have died for something that wasn’t their fault because Korah was the one orchestrating the rebellion and manipulating everyone. That is why Aaron and Moses pleaded with God.
When our brothers and sisters in Christ are entangled by sinful situations, we are to plead to God in prayer because that is what Jesus did. He is the greatest intercessor to have ever walked on this planet. Jesus pleads to the father for our safety and salvation. Through Jesus being the final sacrifice he has separated our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west. He had given us the opportunity to get as close as we like to God because sin is no longer the barrier that separates us.
Take Action and Purify
The third instance of prayer in Numbers 16 lead to action being taken. Moses and Aaron this time did not ask God to spare the lives of the Israelites because the community saw first hand what God is capable of. Just the day before God opened up the earth and sent fire to remove the corruption and sin within the community. Instead of realizing sin was the cause of so many deaths, the entire community decided to blame Moses and Aaron saying that they “have killed the lord’s people” (verse 41 [NLT]). The fact that the community didn’t take responsibility for initially being stirred up and following the leadership of Korah angered God, and he once again entered the stated of removing sin from his presence because the sin God spared his people from dying of once again entered their hearts.
I believe Moses and Aaron understood why God decided to start killing the Israelites again, and that is why they took action this time. Aaron stood with God between the living and the dead to purify as many people as he could so they wouldn’t experience the rath of God. This is the same thing Jesus did when he gave up his earthly life for us. When we are in our sin Jesus stands between us and the anger of God. Jesus purifies us so that we no longer receive the payment for our sins.
When helping our brothers and sisters who are struggling with sin, our action is to purify. We are to remind them of God’s love, Jesus’ sacrifice, and our commitment to stand strong by their side. We are to constantly pray for them and keep them accountable to their actions. Our place is not to judge their salvation, but to be a light that makes the path of their salvation clear.
This Week’s Challenge:
How have you treated your brothers and sisters in the church when it comes to their sins?
Are you giving more weight and value to certain sins you deem to be more grave?
If you aren’t showing them Christ then pray for forgiveness and for the transformation of your heart.
And use the three points mentioned to pray for those in your church who are struggling with sin. Before moving on to the different points, make sure that God wants you to continue. So many times we think we are doing or saying things that are advancing God’s kingdom when in actuality we are pushing the people we are trying to help further away from God.