He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague stopped. (Numbers 16:48)
Relate: You could say it was all about leadership issues. Moses had been leading the people of Israel out of Egypt, through the desert, and into the Promised Land. He had raised up key men and leaders to share in the burden of leading and guiding the people. Some of these leaders had apparently let the power go to their heads. Three of them: Korah, Dathan, and Abiram joined together to challenge Moses’ authority. Korah gathered 250 other prominent leaders around him and confronted Moses directly. The other two led a passive-aggressive rebellion. They simply refused to show up even when specifically summoned.
Then God showed up. Through Moses all the people were commanded to get away from those who had rebelled. Just like something out of a Steven King novel, the ground opened up and swallowed the three along with their homes and possessions. As if that weren’t enough, fire then came out and destroyed the two hundred fifty leaders who had joined in the rebellion. Unfortunately, the crowd that was watching all of this was a bit thick. Before the dust had cleared they were all up in arms against Moses. How dare you destroy God’s leaders? Who gave you the right?
Hello? Is anybody home up there? The presence of God had visibly shown up on the scene. The ground had swallowed the rebellion’s leaders and fire had consumed the rest. This was no conjuring trick. Nobody who is anybody could honestly believe that this was Moses’ doing. But still the people rebelled. If ever there was justification for strict, fierce, and hard judgment, this was it. But Moses and Aaron still pleaded for the people. The took their intercession, the incense, and stood between the living and the dead. Aaron was an old man at this point, but he ran. He ran as fast as he could to stand in the gap.
React: God showed up again. Jesus came. He lived and walked and talked with the people. He healed the sick. He taught and demonstrated the love of God. Lepers were cured, blind eyes opened, hungry bellies fed, and even the dead were raised back to life. But there was leadership issues. When Jesus said, no one can come to the Father except through me, the crowd didn’t like it. When He said, I am the Gate, I am the Bread, I am the Good Shepherd, I am the Way Truth and Life, the crowd rebelled. They strung Him lifted Him up on a tree and nailed Him to it. Jesus literally stood in the gap between the living and the dead. He interceded on behalf of the people that the plague of sin and death might be stopped.
The high priest Aaron interceded for his people. The Great High priest Jesus interceded for His people. I am called to be a part of that holy priesthood. Am I interceding for the people? Will I stand in the gap between the living and the dead? What will it cost me to do so?
God, I will go. I will stand between the living and the dead. I will live in the gap. Give me the courage and the wisdom to know where and how. Show me what it looks like for me to do so. Take away the distractions and lures that will prevent me from going and living and praying where and how you would have me. Let my life be the sacrifice, let my prayers be the incense that will stop the plague of sin and death in my life, my community, and my world.