“Moses, his chosen one, withstood him in the breach to turn back his destructive wrath.” Psalm 106:23
The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend, it says in Exodus 33:11a. He was chosen to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Then when the stiff-necked people angered God at Sinai, God said, “Let me alone, then, that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation.” What did Moses do when God was ready to destroy all of Israel and just raise up a new nation out of Moses’ descendants? Did Moses just say yes, ok, do what You want, Lord? No, Moses “stood in the breach”.
Standing in the breach is a military metaphor, meaning to stand in a break made in a fortress or city wall where an army can rush in and invade. In Sinai, Moses heroically chose to confront God, standing in the gap, interceding like a warrior who tries to stop an enemy at the risk of his life. God relented in the punishment He had threatened to inflict on His people, it says in Exodus 32:14.
We see clearly that we as Jesus’ friends (John 15:15), we may stand in the gap for others. We can plead earnestly like Moses for our family, friends, our nation, whatever we care about. Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote in a poem, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” We will never know how much evil has been turned aside, and how much good has gushed forth, when we are at our knees in prayer. We do not know if God really did intend on destroying the rebellious Jews, who made for themselves a molten calf and worshiped it, or if He was testing His servant Moses.
What we must take away from this passage is we must never give up praying no matter how dire the situation. We need to stand in the breach like Moses, to intercede for one another, to fill in those gaps in one another’s spiritual armor.
Another example is during the time of the prophet Ezekiel. God was angry because, “The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice.” And we read in Ezekiel 22:40 that God “looked for someone among them who would ...stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” Today, will He find us standing in the gap for our nation, for our leaders, for our people, for our family and friends?
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