Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath…
Had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them. "The intercession of Moses is compared to the act of a brave leader, covering with his body the breach made in the walls of his fortress." See the figure as given in Ezekiel 22:30. The account of Moses' intercession is found in Exodus 32:10-14. The point on which we dwell is the fitness of Moses to be the mediator on this occasion.
I. THE FITNESS ARISING FROM HIS OFFICIAL POSITION. He was the agent appointed by God, through whom his will might be sent to the people. He was the representative of the people, appointed by them to conduct all negotiations with Jehovah in their name. He was the proper person; and foreshadows the Lord Jesus Christ as revealer of God to men, and negotiator for men with God.
II. THE FITNESS ARISING FROM THE CONFIDENCES MOSES HAD WON. He had gained both power and right by his faithful service of the people, and by his holy familiarity with God. We may say that God had proved him, and so had confidence in him. And the people had proved him, and knew well that they had no better friend. Christ is "beloved Son," and our best Friend.
III. THE FITNESS ARISING FROM THE PERSONAL FEELING OF Moses. He was supremely indignant at the sin of the people; so much so as to have lost his self-control, and flung down the tables. That right feeling towards the sin fitted him to mediate. He made no excuse; he could but plead for pardon. A man with no adequate sense of the iniquity could not have been acceptable as a mediator. But Moses was also supremely pitiful towards the erring people, and this gave him the fitting tenderness in pleading for their forgiveness. So in Christ we find deepest impressions of the evil of sin, uniting with supreme love for the sinners.
IV. THE FITNESS ARISING FROM THE VIGOUR OF MOSES' RULE. God knew that Moses could punish; and if the more serious judgment on the sin was removed, still there must be such punishment as would adequately impress the evil of the sin. Moses was a fitting mediator, because God was assured that he would not neglect this educative and disciplinary judgment. God, if we may so speak, graciously yielded to Moses' persuasions, because he knew that his honour was safe in Moses' hands. So Christ in his mediation "magnifies the Law, and makes it honourable." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.