And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.
And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): There is a second point [in this prayer] which is most valuable and interesting, and that is the element of reasoning, and of arguing that comes in. It is very daring, but it is very true.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Observe how admirably Moses orders this cause before God, and fills his mouth with arguments. What a value he expresses for God’s favour, what a concern for God’s glory and the welfare of Israel.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: “Moses said unto the Lord, See…”—which really means that he is arguing with God—“See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said.”—You see, he is reminding God of what He had said. He is having an argument with God. “And yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now, therefore,” says Moses, as if he were saying to God, ‘Be logical, be consistent, carry out your own argument. You cannot say this to me and then not do anything.’ “Now, therefore, I pray thee, if ”—still arguing—“if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.” And then in verse 16, “For wherein”—if you do not do this—“wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated…” He reasoned with God. He argued with God. He reminded God of His own promises and He pleaded with God in the light of them.
JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): He filled his mouth with arguments…As Abraham did for Sodom, Genesis 18:23-32.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): With what importunity did Abraham approach the Lord on the plains of Mamre, when he wrestled with him again and again for Sodom; how frequently did he reduce the number, as though, to use the expression of the Puritan, “He were bidding and beating down the price at the market.”―“Peradventure there be fifty; peradventure there lack five of the fifty; peradventure there be twenty found there; peradventure there be ten righteous found there: wilt thou not spare the city for the sake of ten?”
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Is it right, someone may ask, to speak to God like that? Is this not presumption?
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): There is a striving with Him which is allowable and necessary…Was He offended with Moses, who said, I will not stir a step further without thy presence? No; but He yielded, and said, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.”
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The author of the epistle to the Hebrews, who talked so much about our going boldly to the throne of grace, at the same time reminds us that we do so always with reverence and with godly fear. This is all right. What is happening here is this: we are not seeing a man under the Law speaking to the Law-giver. No, it is a child here speaking to his Father. And the little child can take liberties with his father that a grown-up man, who is not his child, would dare to take. Oh, yes, this is a child speaking, and he knows it, and God has spoken to him, as it were, face to face, and Moses knows that. And he comes to him with his love, and his reverence, and his godly fear, and he ventures to argue. He says, ‘You have said this, therefore…’
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Prayer is nothing but the promise reversed, or God’s Word formed into an argument, and retorted by faith upon God again…Furnish thyself with arguments from the promises to enforce thy prayers.
THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): God is never better pleased than when His people importune Him in His own words, and urge Him with arguments taken from His own promises. Though God be a very affectionate father, and a very liberal father, yet His is not a prodigal father, for He will never throw away His mercies on such as will not stoutly and humbly plead out His promises with Him.
RICHARD SIBBES (1577-1635): He loves that we should wrestle with Him by His promises.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Again I commend to you the reading of biographies of men who have been used by God in the Church throughout the centuries, especially in revival. And you will find this same holy boldness, this argumentation, this reasoning, this putting the case to God, pleading his own promises.
G. S. BOWES (circa 1820’s-1880’s): It was said of Luther that, when he prayed, it was with as much reverence as if he were praying to an infinite God, and with as much familiarity as if he were speaking to his nearest friend.
JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): What is it to be the friend of God?
C. H. SPURGEON: Abraham was frequently spoken of as “the Friend of God,” Isaiah 41:4, James 2:23…The strain of his pleading [for Sodom] is worthy of special note. It was not an intercession for Sodom so much as an expostulation with God—friend with Friend. He pleaded rather as a friend of God than as a friend of Sodom—and the Lord recognized to the fullest the force of his friendly appeal! Lot was rescued and Zoar was spared in answer to that prayer.
MATTHEW HENRY: It is a great honour done to Abraham that he is called and counted the friend of God.
JOHN TRAPP: And yet, such honour have all the saints.
JOHN GILL (1697-1771): The character of “friends” is applied to the disciples of Christ, John 15:13-15; and belongs, not only to His apostles, but to all that love Him, believe in Him, and obey Him, verse 15; to whom He has showed Himself friendly, by laying down His life for them.
MATTHEW HENRY: This is my beloved, this is my friend, Song of Solomon 5:16. Those that make Christ their beloved shall have Him their friend; He has been, is, and will be, a special friend to all believers.
MARY WINSLOW (1774-1854): To know the Lord Jesus is our Friend surpasses every earthly good, and is better than the possession of a thousand worlds. To have Him to go to—to lay before Him all our wants, to express our fears, to plead His promises, and to expect that because He has promised He will fulfill—is worth more than all the world can give. His ear is ever open to the prayer of His people.
C. H. SPURGEON: Friends always have an ear for friends.