April 10, 2017

Standing in the Gap by Sharon Espeseth

The Golden Calf

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.

* https://www.christiancentury.org/blogs/archive/2008-10/standing-breach

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.


Following this scripture, it is good to remember Paul's saying, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." (Ephesians 6:19-20

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.

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption - YouTube


Mar 21, 2011 - Uploaded by pompeyo1951
Psalm 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.


  1. Thank you for this wonderfully inspiriing and hopeful post Sharon. I think we all need to be reminded about the necessity of 'standing in the gap'.

  2. Thank you... what a great reminder as we consider Christ who breached the widest gap of all, that we too can link hearts and prayers to stand in the gap for others. Bless you!

  3. Thank you, Tracy and Mary, for your positive comments. Thank you, Mary, for your fine statement of what I was implying, but I didn't conclusively say: Jesus, as the Son of God "breached the widest gap of all," between God and man, and this is what Easter is all about.

  4. Thank you, Sharon, for these hopeful and encouraging words. May we all stand in the gap for each other!

  5. Yes, may we all do exactly that, Karma. I have added a Postscript to my blog, in light of what Mary stated so beautifully above. You may find this makes my post more clear. Thanks for reading and commenting..

  6. Get a closer look at these examples of rhetorical analysis essays that would boost your blogging skills and help you to keep trends.

  7. How we live our lives is truly the best example of Jesus that we can show others. Happy Easter, Sharon.

  8. Thanks, Vickie, and Happy Easter to you as well. At one, I was able to say, in Ukrainian, "Christ is risen." The response was, "Indeed he is risen!" I guess I should save that on Easter morning. I am not Ukrainian, so that was an accomplishment to say that, and it sounded so lovely.

  9. Moses stood in the gap and interceded with God for his people when they sinned. Christ stood in the gap and interceded with God for us when we sinned. We can also stand in the gap and intercede with God for each other. Thanks for sharing this wonderful Easter message, Sharon. "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing'" (Luke 23:24 NIV). (I enjoyed watching The Ten Commandments again this Easter weekend.)

  10. Ah, The Ten Commandments. I haven't seen this movie for some time, but it does show how Moses stood in the gap for the Israelites, and how God forgave his people of their wrongdoing. We all have fallen short of the glory of God and we need God's forgiveness and the salvation he offers us. This story and God's love need to be shared. Thanks for you comment, Nina.


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