Editorial - Standing In The Breach

There were two occasions when Moses stood in the breach for his people before God, and they both occurred on the occasion of their worshipping the golden calf. The first occurred while he was still on the mountain when God informed him of the defection of the people, and the second occurred when he returned to the mountain top and offered his own life for theirs.

Moses had absented himself for forty days on the mountain with God to receive the Ten Commandments. The people had become impatient and were bewildered at his absence, so they begged Aaron to make them "gods that shall go before us" in Moses' place – thus the golden calf.

But God was angry with the people: "Therefore he said he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen one stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath lest he destroy them" (Psalm 106:23). God had even said to Moses: "I will make of you a great nation" instead!

Moses reminded God that he had sworn by himself to Abraham, Isaac and Israel: "I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they will inherit it for ever" (Exodus 32:13).

He also pleaded that the Egyptians would taunt them and say: "He brought them out to harm them . . . to consume them from the face of the earth." So God heard him and "relented from the harm which he said he would do to his people."

On the second occasion Moses made an even greater sacrifice on behalf of his nation. He went up to the top of the mountain again, saying, "So now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin." He was prepared to stand in the breach to the ultimate when he said to the Almighty, "Oh, these people have sinned a great sin . . . yet now, if you will forgive their sin – but if not, I pray, blot me out of your book which you have written" !

Once again God respected his intercession on behalf of the people and they were spared as a nation, but God said, "Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot him out of my book."

God proved Himself both just and faithful; He listened to His servant Moses as he stood in the breach in a time of crisis. And He will hear our prayer when we too stand in the breach on behalf of His people when they are beset with enemies or when they have forgotten "to cling to him for he is their life" (Deuteronomy 30:20).