Summary: This series focuses on our role as intercessors, through prayer and action.
Standing In The Gap
Two weeks ago Nikki and I traveled to Tennessee to visit our family. To get to Tennessee, we traveled east on Interstate 70. Interstate 70 runs from Utah all the way to the upper east coast. As we traveled east on 70 through Missouri, we came to a point where we crossed into Illinois. In order to get from Missouri to Illinois, we had to cross a bridge. After crossing the bridge, we got on to Interstate 64 down to Interstate 57 which took us into Kentucky. To get from Illinois to Kentucky, we had to cross another bridge. These two bridges were large, main bridges that we had to cross but there were several smaller bridges that we also had to cross before we arrived in Tennessee. If you have ever crossed a bridge before, use that memory to aid your understanding of this message: “Standing In The Gap”.
Bridges are used to assist travelers in getting from one point to another. Often they are built over rivers, streams or ravines that are took deep to securely extend the road. Without the bridge, you could only drive so far and then would be forced to either walk (in the case of a ravine) or take a boat to cross the large body of water. The function of a bridge is to “close the gap” between two destination points. Traveling on Interstate 70, we could not cross into Illinois from Missouri without the bridge. The bridge closed the gap between those two states. This is what we as Christians are called to do, strand in the gap and close it. We are to provide a direct link to God for those who are unable or unwilling to stand on their own.
Let me give you some natural examples of what it means to stand in the gap and then we will examine the spiritual side which is the point of this message. So let starts with a newborn baby. Every one who has done anything to assist a newborn baby has stood in the gap. You stood in the gap for that baby because what the baby could not do for itself, you did it for them. If the baby was hungry, the baby had no means of feeding itself so it cried. You understanding the needs of the baby came forth and fed the baby. Your feeding of the baby was you standing in and filling the gap between the baby’s hunger and the food. How many of you have ever gone shopping for an older person who was unable to leave their home? The gap was they had a need that they could not fulfill themselves. When you went shopping for them, you stood in the gap and close it. One last example; how many of you have ever prayed for someone else, whether they requested you to do so or you were led to do it? When you stood or kneeled before God in prayer for someone else, you were standing in the gap. You were fulfilling a need for someone who may have been unable to fulfill it themselves. Standing in the gap is our duty, our calling as Christians. God is looking for those who are willing to stand for those who cannot stand for themselves – are you willing?
I. The Call To Stand In The Gap
Accepting the call to stand in the gap is one of the most important things we will do as a Christian. We need to understand that things happen when we stand in the gap. When a Christian prays, things happen. When God touches our hearts and leads us to pray or intercede on behalf of someone else, things happen. We are not here just to live our lives, we are here to influence. Influence our families, friends, community, city, state, nation, and world. If you are not being a spiritual influence, then chances are that you are being influenced spiritually. When we stand for those who are unable to stand for themselves, we are fulfilling that spark of grace that each of us have been recipients of. Consider the situation that Ezekiel found himself in when he received this word from the Lord. The Jews were in exile to Babylon at this time and most of Ezekiel’s message was focused on the fall of Jerusalem – their last hope. They were God’s covenant people and Jerusalem was the city of His temple, yet that did not bring them out of exile or save the city. When you read through the 22 chapter, God shared with Ezekiel some of the sins of the people. Some of these sins included killings, disrespect of parents, sexual promiscuity, contract killing (assassins), forgot the Lord, oppression of the poor and needy. As you look at this list, all of these things are going on right now in our society, in our city and even in some of our homes. But it gets worse.