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adapted from the book
Quiet Talks on Prayer
by S.D. Gordon, 1904
For the Sake of a Nation 1

First is the incident of Moses' ungranted petition.
Moses was the leader of his people. He is one of the giants of the human race from whatever standpoint considered. His codes are the basis of all English and American jurisprudence. From his own account of his career,
the secret of all his power as a maker of laws,
the organizer of a strangely marvellous nation,
a military general and strategist
- the secret of all was in his direct communication with God.

He was peculiarly a man of prayer.
Everything was referred to God, and he declared that everything - laws, organization, worship, plans - came to him from God.

In national emergencies where moral catastrophe was threatened he petitioned God and the plans were changed in accordance with his request. He makes personal requests and they are granted. He was peculiarly a man who dealt directly with God about every sort of thing, national and personal, simple and complex.

The record commonly credited to him puts prayer as the simple profound explanation of his stupendous career and achievements. He prayed. God worked along the line of his prayer. The great things recorded are the result. That is the simple inferential summary.

Now there is one exception to all this in Moses' life. It stands out the more strikingly that it is an exception; the one exception of a very long line.
Moses asked repeatedly for one thing. It was not given him.
God is not capricious nor arbitrary. There must be a reason. There is. And it is fairly luminous with light.

Here are the facts.
These freed men of Egypt are a hard lot to lead and to live with.
Slow, sensuous, petty, ignorant, narrow, impulsive, strangers to self-control, critical, exasperating - what an undertaking God had to make a nation,
the nation of history,
about which centred His deep reaching,
far-seeing love ambition for redeeming a world out of such stuff!

Only paralleled by the church being built upon such men as these Galilean peasants!
What victories these!

What a God to do such things!
Only a God could do either and both!
What immense patience it required to shape this people. What patience God has.

Moses had learned much of patience in the desert sands with his sheep; for he had learned much of God. But the finishing touches were supplied by the grindstone of friction with the fickle temper of this mob of ex-slaves.