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Standing in the Gap


By Benjamin H. Liles

          Hallelujah (Praise the Lord)! Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His mercy (faithful love, steadfast love, loving kindness, loyal love, grace, ) endures forever (is everlasting, is to eternity, exists forever). ~ Psalm 106:1

           While I could break up this message into a number of messages, I think it would benefit all to keep it in this one. So, what is the psalmist saying here? He is remembering what the Lord has done for him and for his people, that much can be gained. But there is far more. He continues after this first verse to explain the majesty and depth of God's faithfulness and deep love for His people - Israel. 

          We read: 

               "Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can declare all His praise? Blessed are those who keep justice, and he who does righteousness at all times! Remember me, O Lord, with the favor You have toward Your people. Oh, visit me with Your salvation, that I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, that I may glory with Your inheritance. We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly. 
Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; they did not remember the multitude of Your mercies, but rebelled by the sea—the Red Sea" (Psalm 106:2-7).

          This writer of this psalm remembers fully well of what His Lord did for the people of Israel. He may not have lived since the time of the Exodus, but that tradition of telling and passing on what the Lord did to Egypt at the Red Sea is kept fully before Him. He explains that Israel was wicked and rebelled even at the Sea where God made Himself mightily known on behalf of His people. He worked a miracle on their behalf to spare them from death and destruction. And in that way also brought destruction on those who dared to do them harm. 

          The Psalmist continues on: 

               "Nevertheless, He saved them for His name’s sake, that He might make His mighty power known. He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it dried up; so He led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. He saved them from the hand of him who hated them and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. The waters covered their enemies; there was not one of them left. Then they believed His words; they sang His praise. They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert" (vs. 8-14).

          God delivered Israel from her enemies to make Himself known. He didn't do it just for them to show Himself off to other nations, which He most certainly did, but He did it to make Himself known to them. He was showing the nation of Israel His strong hand. Those who hated Israel, Egypt, were swallowed up in victory by God. 

          Sometime in the year 2000, evidence was found of Chariots and wheels in the Red Sea.

         
          And here as well -- 

                                         
          Still, the Psalmist declares that after these things, while in the desert of the wilderness Israel both lusted exceedingly and tested their God. So, what happened? We're told - 

               "And He gave them their request but sent leanness into their soul. When they envied Moses in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the Lord, the earth opened up and swallowed Dathan, and covered the faction of Abiram. A fire was kindled in their company;  the flame burned up the wicked.
They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped the molded image. Thus they changed their glory into the image of an ox that eats grass. They forgot God their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt, wondrous works in the land of Ham, awesome things by the Red Sea" (vs. 15-22).

          Those who conspired to lead Israel into wickedness and rebellion against God Almighty, they were swallowed up by the earth, which God caused to open up. Yes, He is a loving and merciful God, but let us not be quick to forget that in His righteousness He is both just and right to judge as He does. His name is I AM after all. He has always been, always will be, and will ever be. He may be Jehovah, but He is first and foremost Yahweh and Adonai in relationship to us. 

          The Psalmist continues on: 

               "Therefore He said that 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. Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His word, but complained in their tents, and did not heed the voice of the Lord. Therefore He raised His hand in an oath against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness, to overthrow their descendants among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands. They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices made to the dead. Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds, and the plague broke out among them. Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was stopped" (vs.23-30). 

          God had just given to Moses His laws. He looked down from the mountain where He walked and talked with Moses, saw their rebellion against Him and in His anger took some of the Israelites down. And yet Moses stood in the gap for Israel. It was as if God was testing Moses to see if he could see His heart for Israel. My point for this can be seen in part of Daniel's prayer for understanding how long Israel would be in slavery to Babylon for her crimes against God. 

          We read there, "Now, therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name" (Daniel 9:17-19).

          I could go through all of Psalm 106 to keep proving my point that God listens to those who are right with Him. That people need to stand with Him and pray for healing for the people, to bring His holy name glory. It isn't just Israel God is King over, but this whole world. He created it all. He desires for us to give Him glory. He desires to bless us. But before He can do so, we need to humble ourselves. We need to see ourselves as He does. While He doesn't look at us as if to condemn us, neither does He look at us wishing. He desires of us to desire Him. We need to be like the Prodigal, realizing we are far from home. He is our daddy. He desires to restore and revive us. But first, we have to realize we are in error. Not Him. We are. Only then can we be the people who He will accept as being fully His.

          Father, I come before You seeing my need in You. You are who You are. I am nothing but sinful, proud, arrogant, and unworthy of Your love. You are far above me, but also ever near me. Ever since You sent Your Son to die in my place, Your kingdom has been near. I not only thank You for this but also see how willing You are in making me Your child. I praise and worship You for this. Change my unclean mouth and heart to being clean and pure. Help me to stand in the gap for others as did Abraham, as did Moses, as did Paul and Peter too. I thank You for making me Your child; for loving me enough to also be my Lord and Savior. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.