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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Standing in the Gap for Others

Why does the LORD spare Aaron after he casts an idol in the shape of a calf for Israel to worship? Moses intercedes for Aaron.

Why does the LORD spare the children of Israel after they believe the spies’ report and refuse to enter the land of promise? Moses intercedes for them.  
In fact, one constant during the forty years of travail in the wilderness is the continual intercession of Moses for God’s people. The psalmist sums up his ministry, “Therefore He said He would destroy them, had not Moses His chosen stood before them in the breach” (Ps. 106:23). Moses’ ministry of intercession shows him as a type of Christ, interceding for those who do not deserve such prayers, and standing in the breach to take hold both of God and man. How does Moses become such an intercessor?
God’s promises guide man’s prayers. God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would cause their descendants to become a great nation drove Moses’ intercession; “I prayed to the LORD and said, “O Sovereign LORD, do not destroy your people, your own inheritance that you redeemed by your great power and brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Deuteronomy 9:26-27a).
Moses can pray with authority and confidence because the God of heaven has given His word; that word will not change, will not fail,and will not return void. Moses knows that the promise of God is more true than the circumstances in which the children of Israel currently live, so he prays not by what he can see or figure out, but in accordance with the living word of God. 
The writer of Hebrews says of Moses, “He endured, as seeing Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). It is no wonder that he becomes such an intercessor; when you see the One who is invisible, you can do the impossible, and ask the unbelievable. 

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 "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth" (Deuteronomy 11:18-21)

I listened to a guest speaker give a spiel about their "Bible" ministry at our church today. The speaker mentioned having five different Bible translations on his desk and even having a Bible on his cell phone but he couldn't quote John 3:16. That got me to thinking about how often Americans rely on their access to hard copy externals (the fact that they have Bibles) instead of heart copy internals (you can tell when a person has hidden the Word of God in their hearts when they open their mouths--it just comes out). 

The Psalmist says "Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11). It's not what's on your bookshelf or desk but what is in your heart and in your mind. It is what surfaces when you face temptation or difficulties.

Someone once said to me, "You don't really know what you can't recall." Because we are literate people we rely on our books and outlines (external resources) whereas oral peoples rely upon what they've heard. Songs, stories, and drama assist them in remembering what they've heard. Retention requires the discipline of repetition.

The children of Israel were responsible to keep God's word fresh in their hearts by keeping it fresh in their conversations. Believers today are no different. Knowing where your Bible is located and knowing the Bible are two different things. We need both a desk copy and a heart copy of God's Word. May we be people of the Book!

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Deuteronomy 9:1-11:32
  • What does God call the children of Israel and what proof does He use to verify His assessment?
  • Why does God fulfill His plans through Israel in spite of their obstinacy?
  • What does God promise to do for Israel if they will love and follow Him with all of their hearts?
  • What one thing will protect the children of Israel from walking contrary to God?
Turning truth into prayer:
Ask the Lord to make you a person of the Word--not just familar with the Word but intimate with the Word.