“Get away from the midst of this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces. And Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer, and put fire on it from off the altar and lay incense on it and carry it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone out from the Lord; the plague has begun.” So Aaron took it as Moses said and ran into the midst of the assembly. And behold, the plague had already begun among the people. And he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped. (Numbers 16:45-48 ESV)
Several of the Levites had rebelled against Moses, claiming they had just as much qualification to serve as priests as Aaron and his sons. So they stirred up many of the chiefs in rebellion. God was ready to consume them then and there but Moses and Aaron fell on their faces and interceded for them. The people as a whole were spared but not the instigators. They were swallowed up by the earth. The people were angry that these men were killed and rebelled again (crazy)! And again, God’s anger was kindled and he set out to destroy them. So Moses and Aaron acted quickly to make atonement for the people and stand in the gap, “between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped.”
This shows us the work of a priest. He intercedes for the people before God. As the church, we are called a “holy nation” and a “kingdom of priests.” We are called to stand in the gap and intercede for the our communities and our world. We are called to stand “between the living and the dead” and proclaim the gospel – the good news that God has made atonement for them through Jesus.
Lord, forgive us for failing to stand in the gap and allowing the busyness and the comforts of life to keep us from our calling to act as priests for our community. This year, grant us joy in seeing many turned from death to life through the gospel as we engage in standing in the gap. Make this a year in which we see many come to new faith and be baptized and become devoted followers of Jesus and faithful members of His church.