Stand In The Gap

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As we view the conditions in our world today, it’s easy to get on the side of criticism or just be discouraged to the point of cynicism, but many are crying out, “what can we do?”

Ezekiel 22:30 (ESV) — 30 And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.

It is not easy to be one who stands in the gap on behalf of the church, community, state, or even the country but if we realize God has everything under control and He has allowed things to be as they are so the call to “stand in the gap,” needs to be heard loud and clear. Otherwise, we may focus on what is not right or what is gone, rather than on what God is calling us to do. In Psalm 11, we see this question presented as the problem of the destruction of foundations of life are being destroyed by the wicked. Please note that although the psalmist is taking refuge in the Lord, there is a cry from many to get out of town and just leave the circumstances. But as a recognition of God on His throne, there is also a recognition of God testing the righteous as he builds His case against the wicked. Therefore, the psalmist ends with a word of hope in knowing whatever happens one day He will see the face of God and be satisfied.

Psalm 11:1–7 (ESV) — 1 In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain, 2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; 3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” 4 The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. 5 The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. 6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

Standing in the gap means taking a stand to live a righteous life before God. Of course, we recognize that any righteousness produced by us is “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) so the righteous are those made righteous by the Lord Jesus Christ as the Spirit of God draws a person to faith in the finished work of Christ in taking away our unrighteousness as we trust in His righteousness as our only hope before God. Those who have been made righteous by the work of Jesus Christ demonstrate that in the way they live, so being willing to stand in the gap means being willing to stand up and be counted as a follower of Jesus Christ, living a life that is different from the ways of the world, as one lives according to the will of God as found in the Bible.

How does that make a difference? It is an important part of standing in the gap as we see in the book of Genesis. God let Abraham know about His intention to destroy Sodom because of the great wickedness. Abraham discovered an important part of standing in the gap. He asked God if He would spare the city if there were fifty righteous people there and God say He would spare it. Then Abraham continued asking until he brought the number down to just ten righteous:

Genesis 18:32 (ESV) — 32 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”

For just ten righteous people, God would have spared the city of Sodom. We can tell that there were not ten as Sodom was destroyed. What does that have to do with us today? What if God is counting the righteous on behalf of our country, state, county, city, or even our church? Are you one to be counted? If so, you have the responsibility to live out a righteous life before an ungodly world as you live it out in honor to God, thereby standing in the gap.

Ezekiel 22:30 (ESV) — 30 And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.

Two other ways to stand in the gap are being willing to be an intercessor (person of prayer) on behalf of the church, city, county, state, or nation. Every time you approach the throne of grace as Paul described in 1Timothy 2, you are standing in the gap.

1 Timothy 2:1–2 (ESV) — 1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

2 Corinthians 5:18–21 (ESV) — 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Another way of standing in the gap is being wiling to be an ambassador of reconciliation. In other words, you are willing to sound the warning of God’s pending judgment and to deliver the message of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:11 (ESV) — 11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.

It is a serious matter to be willing to stand in the gap but so is a pending judgment unless God grants repentance. Therefore, the call is for boldness, for those who will forsake convenience to live, pray, and speak for God before a world that has turned their back upon Him. Keep in mind the great boldness and confidence Paul expressed:

Romans 1:16–17 (ESV) — 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Will you stand up and be counted as one who will stand in the gap? Will you seek to live a righteous life, depending upon the help and power of God as you apply His word every day? Will you stand in the gap and pray for the country and the leaders as you express dependency on God, seeking Him for mercy? Will you stand in the gap and be bold in your witness for Christ for this is our hope in seeing hearts changed by God?

Sadly, as you look back at the preceding paragraph and answer the questions, look again at the cry of the Lord from Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 22:30 (ESV) — 30 And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.

God looked and found none. Will you stand up and be counted or will you leave that for someone else? May God help all of us to wake up and stand up and be counted as one who will stand in the gap.


Bob Brubaker

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