Shining Face | Devotion 1: Standing in the Gap
Pastor Pat Rowland
I often wonder where I would be if it were not for people that went before others on my behalf to vouch for my character and ask for mercy. I have never been a person that has done things terribly wrong, but I have had my moments of idiocy. For example, there was the time in college I was pulled over in the early morning hours just outside of the college campus. I will spare you the details, but I was going pretty fast and tried to duck down a side street to avoid being pulled over and having to pay the expense of a speeding ticket. I know it was not really my finest moment, because speeding was the least of my problems when I was pulled over 100 feet from my apartment. If it was not for a campus police officer that had known me well enough to vouch for my character, I might have been arrested for failure to stop. Instead, I parked my car and walked to my apartment with only a warning and a deep sense of gratitude to both officers.
It was Moses in Exodus chapter 34 who stood in the gap for the Israelites pleading before “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:6-7). Moses knew that God was frustrated with his people and rightfully so; as a matter of fact, Moses was upset as well. However, he approaches God placing his own character and reputation on the line for his people.
Exodus 34:8-9 says, “And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. And he said, ‘If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.’”
God is just, and what the Israelites deserved was not God’s mercy. Moses asked for His favor to be extended to his people, in a representation of what Christ has done for us. We do not deserve God’s favor, but just like the campus police officer did for me 25 years ago, Jesus did for us 2,000 years ago. Where would we be without those that have gone before us?