Numbers 14:18-19—The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven these people, from Egypt even until now.
The LORD was ready to exterminate these whining people when Moses interceded for them. Because of the fact that God knows the future, I think He was not as desirous to destroy them as much as He was to bring out the heart of intercession in Moses. Moses interceded with God according to the character of God that had been revealed to him. He’s saying, “Wait a minute. You told me You were abounding with love and forgiveness. You are just, but then there is that wonderful side of You that is so great in Love. Exercise that love now, and forgive these people.” When we plead with God according to His wonderful attributes, we are standing on a sure footing from which to plead. We can make a case that is legitimate. The people would be punished, but at the same time, God would exercise His great love. God answered Moses prayer because He was pleading according to the attributes of God. That is how we should pray too. Do you know God is abounding in love? You can count on that. Just as He forgave them all the way from Egypt to the entrance of the Promised Land (a picture of our journey from the world to heaven), so will He forgive you when you look to His wonderful attributes. He forgives us not because of what we do but because of who He is. Yet, there is a warning here. We may not arrive at all He had for us because of our insistence on sin. That sin will affect generations to follow. Learn from these rebels who are so like us, and cast yourself upon the LORD.