Standing in the Breach

They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a metal image. They exchanged the glory of God
for the image of an ox that eats grass. They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt. Therefore he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them. Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise. They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the Lord… They provoked the Lord to anger with their deeds,
and a plague broke out among them… Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was stayed… Many times he delivered them, but they were rebellious in their purposes and were brought low through their iniquity. Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry. For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.” 
Psalm 106:19-21,23-26,29-30,43-45

We deserve judgment. In reviewing Israel’s history, the psalmist recounts their wanton rebellion, their blatant rejection of God’s commands, and surely God was righteous and just to return to them what they had sown. But he is also merciful, and used both Moses and Phinehas to intervene on their people’s behalf. According to God’s covenant love, appealing to His mercy, they stood in the breach and interceded on their behalf, imploring God to withhold judgment and be seen as glorious and merciful.


Of course, the greatest Breach-Stander is the One Who became the Passover Lamb, our Savior Who willingly gave His life on the cross to bridge the gap between sinful man and holy God. He opened wide His arms when He died for His people to give them life and hope and meaning. He lives to uphold His own, giving strength and understanding and energy to handle all we face. He is sufficient, the only mediator. It is His love that ultimately fills the breach in every intercession. (Psalm 107:1-2; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Timothy 2:5).

We are called to care about and for those entrenched in hopelessness, those struggling with the challenge of confused and ailing parents, or watching a loved one’s life slip away, or overwhelmed with circumstances and responsibilities and unmet needs. To be a Moses or Phinehas, we stand in the gap for them by interceding on their behalf, by pleading for the Spirit’s intervention in their souls, and by reminding them that they are loved. This takes compassion, desire, time, concentration, effort, all supplied by God to the willing, trusting heart. (Philippians 2:13; 4:19; James 5:16)

For whom will I stand in the gap this day, will I kneel in intercession? Whom will my open arms embrace? Whose way of sorrow or desperation or unbelief will I carry to the cross? It is our privilege, as those saved from slavery and experiencing God’s fullness, to stand in the breach for those still shackled, for the Lord’s sake.

Lord and Redeemer, thank you for standing, arms spread wide, in the breach for me. In compassion and divine love, may I be deliberate to stand there too, at the foot of your cross and throne, for others.

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