Can Our Prayers Cause God to Change His Mind? (Exodus 32:14)

10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

11 But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” 14 Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened. (NIV)

Exodus 32:10 - 14

ESV - 10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you. 11 But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, "O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

Clarify Share Report Asked January 12 2020 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
I would say that the Bible indicates that God can be moved to change a course of action not only by the interceding of established believers (as indicated by the passage cited in the question), but by demonstrations of contrition from non-Israelites, as well, such as when the repentance and prayers of the people of Nineveh in response to Jonah's preaching (Jonah 3) saved Nineveh from being destroyed.

January 12 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Aurel Gheorghe
From Exodus 32:14 it appears that God sometimes, upon request, change His mind. Twice more, Moses pleaded with God on Israel's behalf (Num 14:1-16; 16:1-50) and each time God reversed His plans. 

After pleading with God not to reject Israel, God “repented” (Ex 32:14, KJV). Other translations say the Lord “relented,” “changed his mind,” “reconsidered,” “felt sorry for the people” and “thought twice” about His decision. These are human words trying to explain God’s indescribable love and compassion for His people. He didn’t relented because He was indecisive or capricious - Moses’ prayer moved His loving heart.

Another example is when Abraham asks God not to destroy Sodom if there were 40, then 30, then 20 and then finally 10 righteous people (Gen 18:24-28). In the end, God couldn't find 10 righteous people, so the city was destroyed. Yet God was willing to consider saving the city because of Abraham’s pleadings. Interestingly, God’s mercy stopped only when Abraham stopped asking. Would He have spared Sodom for 5 or only 3 righteous people? We will never know because Abraham stopped asking. 

Intercessory prayer changes God’s actions because it’s consistent with His nature. There are still consequences for those who rebel against God. Moses carried out some tough discipline for those who refused to repent. 

Lastly king Hezekiah was told by the prophet to prepare to die. Yet, Hezekiah pleaded with the Lord (2 Kings 20:1-3) and in His mercy, the Lord added 15 years to Hezekiah’s life (2 Kings 20:6).

God always changes His mind when we repent and turn from sin (2 Chronicles 7:14).

January 16 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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