While Moses was meeting with God on Mount Sinai, the Israelites thought their leader had been gone too long. In his absence, the people asked Aaron to make them gods who would "go before them." They didn't think of speaking to God, the one who had rescued them from the hand of Pharaoh and led them safely out of Egypt.
Complying with the people's wishes, Aaron asked them to bring him their gold jewellery. From this jewellery, Aaron fashioned a golden calf. He then built an altar and announced a festival on the following day.
|The Golden Calf|
Aware of what was happening, God told Moses to go down and deal with this corruption. Calling the Israelites a "stiff-necked people," God had had enough of their disobedience and rebellion. He was ready to destroy them and start a new nation with Moses.
Moses Stands in the Gap
"But Moses sought the favour of the Lord his God." On behalf of his people, Moses reasoned with God. Wouldn't it look evil to the Egyptians, he asked, if you brought the Israelites out of Egypt " to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth?"
Pleading with God, Moses asked, "Wouldn't the Egyptians consider this evil on your part? 'Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people.'" Moses reminded God of his promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Israel about making their descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. What about the promised land? (See Exodus 32:1-14.)
|Moses descends from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments|
The psalmist summed it up: "So he said he would destroy them--had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them." (Psalm 106:23 NIV) Because of Moses' intercession, God relented and he did not destroy his people.
Standing in the Gap--What Does That Mean?
The phrase "standing in the gap" is more familiar to me than " standing in the breach" or "stepping into the breach." What does it mean?
Researching this phrase online, I found more information than I could put in my blog. Without degrees in theology, I would summarize that God is holy and finds sin intolerable. On the other hand, his love for the each person, including the sinner, is perfect. There is a gap between God's intolerance for evil and his all-encompassing love for each person.
By talking directly and openly to God about how things were going with the Israelites, Moses was standing in the breach, or pleading their cause. If you wish to read more about Moses standing in the gap, you may find this article interesting.
In ancient times, cities were often walled for protection from outsiders or even from flood. Without getting into archaeology, one can imagine these walls needed maintenance and repair. In this context, someone would stand in this gap of the wall, perhaps even armed, to stop an unwelcome guest or a wild animal while the wall was being repaired.
How Can We Stand in the Gap for Others?
Reading InScribe blogs this month, it is obvious that many of us InScribers have our own struggles for none of us is flawless. Nor are our families. We have concerns for our loved ones who may be prodigals from our families, or prodigals from their faith, who may have physical and/or mental health problems. We or our loved ones may be agonizing over financial shortfall, mismanaged funds, marital problems, or addictions.
|Standing at the Breach for Others|
We, as people of faith, may need to stand in the gap for our writing colleagues or our loved ones. The best way I know to do that would be by intercessory prayer, which means talking to God on behalf of others. Like Moses did.
Without knowing all the details about other peoples lives, we sometimes know when they could use support. We cannot fix our love ones' problems, but we know someone who loves them even more than we do and has more answers and more power than we do.
To stand in the breach, we need to arm ourselves against the foe and Satan is the foe. The best arms we can use our God's Word, God's love, and the time we spend with God in prayer. To read more about the full Armour of God, read Ephesians 6:10-18.
It may sound folksy to say that God specializes in things thought impossible, but St. Teresa of Avila has said, "You pay God a compliment by asking great things of him." We need not be shy.
At Easter time we may be more aware of loved ones and neighbours who need to hear or read the gospel story. Or maybe they need to see us live the story by showing our faith, hope and charity.
Happy Easter to all!
|With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption. (Psalm 106)|
For your listening pleasure.
Mar 21, 2011 - Uploaded by pompeyo1951Psalm 130, this lament (a Penitential Psalm, some takes it as the other "Miserere" ) in its entirety (Ps 1-2, 3-4, 5 ...
I missed stating clearly what Mary Wand put in her comment below. (Please read.) Although I was implying and leading up to the fact that, as Mary said so beautifully, "Christ . . . breached the greatest gap of all" between God and man by sending his Son to die for us on the cross. "And this is what Easter is all about."
Jesus is our greatest Intercessor between us and our Heavenly Father. Although we can pray directly to God the Father, Jesus say, " . . . I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
Jesus intercedes for us, but we can also intercede for others.