Day Three: Standing in the Breach

Exodus 32:7-14 (NIV)

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

“I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

Psalm 106:19-23 (NIV)

At Horeb they made a calf
    and worshiped an idol cast from metal.
They exchanged their glorious God
    for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
They forgot the God who saved them,
    who had done great things in Egypt,
miracles in the land of Ham
    and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
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.

“In telling Moses to step aside, God made it clear that Moses was the only thing standing between Israel and destruction. But Moses accepted this responsibility and became the great intercessor for the people.” [Garrett, Duane A. A Commentary on Exodus]

“When we approach God on the basis of his covenant, we have the ultimate security. God has promised to save everyone who comes to him through faith in Jesus Christ. We have been saved by the blood of the everlasting covenant (Hebrews 13:20) – the blood that Jesus shed on the cross. And God cannot break his covenant. What a wonderful encouragement this is to anyone who has trouble believing that he or she can still be forgiven. God has promised to save us not just now, but forever. Our salvation is not made secure by our own obedience, which is bound to fail, but by the unbreakable promise of God. As the Scripture says, ‘If we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself’ (2 Timothy 2:13).” [Ryken, Philip G. Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory]

We have the unbelievable privilege and responsibility of intercession “in the breach” in the present already-not-yet age. Like Moses, we base our prayer on God’s promises, which are now guaranteed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Today, let’s spend time in prayer, obeying 1 Timothy 2:1, which says, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people”.

– NB