Today I shared the Word in the church service and the topic given to me, by God, was Standing in the Gap. The main text is found in Ezekiel 22: 30 that says, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have destroyed it, but I found none.”
Gaps or breaches are cracks that separate. To stand in the gap is to expose one’s self for the protection of something or someone. It is to make defense against any assailing danger, to take the place of a friend. The requisite is WILLINGNESS to STAND in the GAP BEFORE OUR LORD.
It is a sad day when in the history of Israel when God looked for one person to declare against sin and to intercede to God on behalf of the people and He found none. He did not see anyone, no one said, “I’d like to bargain on our behalf, Lord.” It is all the more sad when the Lord said He looked for one person, I sought for one man, yet I found none.
Throughout history, God has been mercifully listening to brave men and women who intercede on behalf of the people. It was sad in the account of Ezekiel because He found none. But there were times, Praise the Lord, when He did.
Let us walk through the men and women in the Bible who stood in the gap:
MOSES stood in the gap in Exodus 32:10-14. Moses stayed with the Lord in the mountain for a long time and the people got bored. With Aaron’s consent, the people built idol made of calf. The Lord got angry and He said “I have seen these people, and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them.” “BUT MOSES SOUGHT THE FAVOR OF THE LORD His GOD.”
MOSES said “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘it was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains to wipe them off the face of the earth?’ Turn from your fierce anger, relent and do not bring disaster from your people. Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.”
In Psalm 106:23 Moses was affirmed, “so He said He would destroy them had not Moses, His chosen one, stood in the gap before Him to keep His wrath from destroying them.”
In the same Psalm, another man stood in the gap.
PHINEHAS stood in the gap when the people despised the land given to them. In Psalm 106: 28-31, it says, “They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods; they provoked the Lord to anger by their wicked deeds, and a plague broke out among them. But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked. This was credited to him as righteousness for endless generations to come (Numbers 25: 1-13).
Women of faith stood in the gap too. They were ultimate mediators.
In 1 Samuel 25 a lady stood in the gap on behalf of her husband the good for nothing Nabal. The story, to cut it short, is this. David was running from Saul. He was already anointed king by the prophet Samuel but there was still a king who had become unpleasant to the eyes of the Lord, Saul. The king was chasing David and he went to Maon with his soldiers and stayed in the desert. Nabal owned sheep near the desert and when it was sheep-shearing time, David asked his soldiers to request for food from Nabal. After all, it was a festive time and Nabal did not lose any sheep because David’s army was more or less protecting him in the desert.
But what did Nabal do? He refused David’s army and insulted him. Surly and good for nothing talaga. When David learned Nabal’s answer, he told his men to put on their swords for they will kill Nabal. You might ask, is this just? Well, yes it was during this time in the custom of Israel. You see, David was protecting Nabal. And his response to David seeking a favor from him, during a festival, was to insult him. Surely, if I were David, I will be angry.
When a servant learned about David’s plan to kill Nabal, the servant reported to Abigail, Nabal’s wife.
ABIGAIL lost no time (1st Samuel 25: 18). She took food, wine, sheep, cakes, etc and loaded them in donkeys. She did not tell Nabal but she went out to meet David who was on his way to kill Nabal. What did Abigail do and say?
When she saw David, ABIGAIL quickly got off her donkey and bowed down to David with her face on the ground. She pleaded, “Lord, may the blame be on me alone. May my Lord listen to me, pay no attention to Nabal. He is like his name and his name is “fool” and as for me, I did not see the men my master sent. Now since the Lord has kept you, my master, from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands…”
In verse 28 she asked David, “Please forgive your servant’s offense… When the Lord has done to my master every good thing He has promised, concerning him and has appointed him as leader over Israel, my master will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having to avenge himself.”
David told Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day…” In 10 days time, Nabal was struck by the Lord and died.
ESTHER stood in the gap on behalf of the Jews who were about to be killed because of the edict that was produced by an anti Jew official in the palace (Haman). It says in Esther 5 that Queen Esther interceded to the king on behalf of the Jews.
In the New Testament, there were people too who stood in the gap. PAUL, in one instance, asked Philemon to forgive and accept back Onesimus, Philemon’s runaway servant. He told Philemon to charge Onesimus to his account.
But do you know who among the Bible characters made an ultimate intercession by standing in the gap?
JESUS stood in the gap. He went down from heaven, carried our sins to the cross so that the Father will not cast judgment that is rightfully ours.
Look at yourself, carefully examine yourself, if God were to judge you today, will he bring you good tidings or will his Just Judgment would be to bring you to hell? As for me, without God’s salvation and grace, I am certain that if I were to die today, I will not have a favorable judgment. Kasi nakakainis ang ugali ko. I’m irritable when I’m hungry (eh I’m always hungry), patience is not my virtue.
But the Lord Jesus crossed the breach between heaven and earth and made the ultimate sacrifice. He became the lamb that was slain and so He became the great mediator. As stated in 1 Timothy 5-6, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men – the testimony given in its proper time.”
Just like God the Father in the Old Testament who was looking for a person, someone to stand in the gap, Jesus looks for companions in the gap. He is looking for men and women who will:
- Launch out into the deep – Those who will soak themselves in the word of God and cast nets deep into the sea. They are those who looked to Jesus and went further down the bay to go fish. They immersed themselves in the word of God who told them to launch out into the deep. Esther launched out into the deep, literally, when she fasted and prayed before she went to see the king. Jesus had many travailing prayers before the day He faced His cross.
- Intercede – To stand in the gap is to intercede in prayer. It is to plead to God for a soul, for healing, for grace, for salvation, for joy, and strength of another person, another life. It is to beg God not to cast judgment on another life even if such a life is worthless (Nabal). Abigail begged David not to kill Nabal. Esther begged to king to spare the Jews. Moses and Phinehas begged God to spare Israel, they pleaded for a nation.
- To go to missions, to do good works so people will know God and go to Jesus. Standing in the gap is not only to intervene so that will not cast judgment. It is also to CROSS the people across to the holiness of God.
Standing in the gap is difficult. It is to belabor. It is to risk yourself out there.
But you know what? There are sure rewards for standing in the gap. And it’s clearly written:
- “But Phinehas stood and intervened and the plague was checked. This was credited to him as righteousness for endless generations to come.”
- Abigail married David (you know how it is to be a widow back in the days, to be a widow and suddenly a handsome incoming king asks your hand in marriage, aba ay para syang nanalo sa lotto. Mula sa frog prince to a handsome king in waiting ang napangasawa nya.
- Esther gained Haman’s property (Esther 8:7). Pinayaman sya.
So stand in the gap. Let us all stand in the breach so that others will be saved. Let us join Christ who stood in the chasm for our sake. When the Father looks at us, will He see us launched into the deep, interceding, doing missions, doing good works, pleading Him to not to bring judgment but to bring salvation? Or will it be a sad day like in Ezekiel’s story when He looked for ONE PERSON, maski ISA LANG, and He found none?
Stand in the gap 🙂