Bold 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,
wondrous works in the land of Ham,
    and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
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...
They murmured in their tents,
    and did not obey the voice of the Lord.
Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them
    that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
and would make their offspring fall among the nations,
    scattering them among the lands.

Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor,
    and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
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.
And that was counted to him as righteousness
    from generation to generation forever…

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.
He caused them to be pitied
    by all those who held them captive.

Save us, O Lord our God,
    and gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
    and glory in your praise.” Psalm 106:19-31,43-47

Moses, then Phineas, boldly interceded for their (and God’s) rebellious people. Armed with righteous anger layered with compassionate love layered with zeal for God’s honor and Name, they stood in the gap between the fickle rebels they served and the gracious God who alone could save. (Exodus 32:4-10; Numbers 25:1-13; Deuteronomy 9:13-21)

In choosing independent lives, a number of excuses keep us from getting involved with those on a precipice of need or futility. Annoyance at repeated failure or interruption callouses our hearts. Fear for security driven by uncertain income bends our bent of wanting to share toward self protection. Impatience at ingratitude and disdain for ongoing foolishness convince us it is not worth making the effort. We justify weak wills, borne of self-interest and soft living, with too much ease.

But Jesus Christ, as perfect Intermediary, stood in the breach for us. Absent frustration or arrogance, revenge or malice or greed, He emptied Himself of all but love to make the way for us to escape certain judgment. By His death we can have life, by His wounds we can be healed. Therefore, how can we not seek and seize every opportunity to intervene on behalf of others? (Isaiah 53:4-6; John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:3-8)

Do we dismiss with disdain the idol-worshipers and murmurers among us? Have we forgotten the majesty of Christ’s generosity toward us? With whom would we today plant ourselves between despair and hope, death and life, to intercede in earnest, passionate prayer and ministry?

Lord, help me stand and intervene for others with the love and mercy with which You have done so for me.

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