Standing in the Gap (Numbers 16:48) - Radical

Standing in the Gap (Numbers 16:48)

“And he stood between the dead and the living and the plague was stopped.”
– Numbers 16:48

This verse comes at the end of a very humbling, sobering chapter. Korah’s rebellion, this picture of sin among God’s people and the spreading of that rebellion in such a way that a plague was coming upon the people and Moses and Aaron intercede for them and the picture here is Aaron going, holding up a sensor between the dead and the living and through this picture of intercession, the plague is stopped, showing us a powerful picture of intercession. What happens when somebody cares enough to stand in the gap between sinful people and a holy God and to plead for mercy?

This Verse Calls Us to Stand in the Gap

May we be a people who stand in the gap interceding for others. Might we pray for those around us and throughout the world who have not testified to the goodness of God’s Son.

Here is a picture we see in Moses and Aaron at different points. This is a picture we see in others throughout scripture. This is a picture ultimately we see in Jesus as the one who stands in the gap as the intercessor between us and our sin and rebellion and God and his holiness and he makes a way for us to be saved, for the plague of our sin, death, to be averted.

Jesus is our intercessor and then he calls us, by the power of his life in us, to intercede for others. When we pray, part of our praying should be focused on intercession, on standing in the gap for people around us in all kinds of ways, and I’m driven in Numbers 16:48 to think about people who are under the plague of sin right now and need us to stand in the gap for them.

Numbers 16:48 Calls Us to Share the Gospel with Others

So, who are you standing in the gap for? Who is around you? In your life, family, work, interactions within the community, city where you live? Who are you pleading for? God, save them. God, save this person from their sins. Please show your grace and mercy to this person. Please cause the plague of death to be averted from this person. Who are you interceding for like that right around you? And then for us to be driven to intercede like that, for people all around the world who’ve never heard the good news of God’s gracious provision for our sin.

I think about Bhutan today. I was looking at different unreached people groups in Bhutan and people group after people group after people group … There’s 0.0% Bible-believing, gospel-believing people. Just none. Not to say there are no followers of Christ whatsoever in Bhutan, but there are very, very few and entire people groups where we know of no known believers. Who’s gonna intercede for Bhutan? So, let’s intercede right now.

This Verse Prays for God to Open the Eyes of the Lost

Like right now in this moment. God, we take our place in the gap and we pray for those who are dying in their sin. Right around us, just God, right now, we pray for people we know. I’ve got faces and names in my mind right now who are on a road that leads to an eternal hell. Just bring those faces, and names to our mind right now and God, we intercede for them. Please show your mercy. Please show your grace. God, please show your salvation to them, we pray.

So God, please save them. Please save them. We ask you to save them. We offer our lives. Use us to bring this good news of your grace to them. Open their eyes to see it and believe it. God, please, please, please, save them through us. Give us boldness. Forgive us for staying so silent with the gospel so often, God. Give us boldness to share the gospel and please, God, avert your wrath. May they not taste death. May they know eternal life, not eternal death, and God, we pray right now, we together stand in the gap for Bhutan.

Numbers 16:48 Prays for the Non-Believers

For the men and women and children of Bhutan. All these different people groups are totally unreached. No access to the gospel. No believers among them. So God, we pray that you would change that. We’re standing in the gap right now and interceding and asking God, please change that. Please cause your grace, your gospel to be known in Bhutan. So please oh God. God, please, please, please use our prayers right now as a means by which your gospel goes to them.

We ask that you would send out laborers into that harvest field so now followers of Jesus who know the gospel in that harvest field, for any believers there are in Bhutan, God, we pray that you would strengthen them right now. We pray that you would help them. Help them to spread the gospel there. So God, we pray. We pray for the people of Bhutan. Show your salvation there. We pray that death may be averted, that the plague of sin, they might be saved from it, they might have eternal life. So God, we intercede. We stand between the dead and living. So God, we pray. We pray that the plague of eternal death would be stopped in people’s lives all around us and in people in Bhutan. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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