At all times we are called to stand in the gap. Have you heard this saying?
Are you doing it?
Have I not commanded you to be strong and courageous? Joshua 1:9
I am absolutely not the only one who has stood before a friend and practically begged for prayer through a rough time. You know when you walk in church and the only thing you care about is that spot at the end when Pastor says, “come on up if you need prayer,” or your warrior friend is talking to the new people and all you can think is, “Ok Ok enough with the friendly. I’ve got NEEDS!”
And all you can do is try NOT to crawl out of your skin your need is so great. It’s a weight that you are aching to shove off. A calling you want to toss, but you know you are commanded to stand firm in it. A fear that’s threatening to edge over your sanity until you bubble over to the crazy places.
I know I am not alone when I say I get tear stained phone calls from friends needing prayer. Middle of the night, break of dawn, as we are sitting down to dinner gut wrenching hurts poured through the receiver. So desperate you can feel your friend’s hands clutching your shirt front even though she is in another city.
Reading through Ezekiel causes me to reflect on Joshua. Joshua causes me to hold a mirror up to the behaviors I am allowing that fall outside of STRONG and COURAGEOUS. Holding this mirror up brings me back to Ezekiel and God’s call on my life to speak the words. And this If-You-Give-A-Mouse-A-Cookie life style is brought to you by one girl who can’t seem to leave the city gate.
Ezekiel is a book of crazy. There are words I never want to see with my eyes again and there are words my heart is scared to look at because they demand I respond in a physical and spiritual way. Ezekiel 22 tells of a city surrounded by unkempt walls. The Lord is speaking to Ezekiel, pouring out a list of the worthless taking place within those bricks. It’s gruesome to be sure, but hope isn’t lost.
Because God only needs one.
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. Ezekiel 22:30
He was looking for one to stand in the gap of that gaping hole in what should have been a perfectly healthy protective wall.
Where are your protective walls? If they don’t exist, where should they be?
Around your marriage?
Your extended family?
Around your church and pastors?
How about your city? State?
How about your nation?
And what about your president? No matter where you stand politically God is saying, “I only need one. I need ONE to stand in the breach between this gate.”
Because gaps are meant to be filled. If you don’t fill it with God, the enemy will fill it with whatever he wants. In the book of Ezekiel this looked like worshipping idols and just not seeking God for a little while. Pretty soon there are corrupt governments, debauchery, and parents burning their own babies in idol sacrifices.
We are immune to nothing. Only God’s grace is allowing to see how wrong these things are. But we can probably attest that our filters get cloudier as we get deeper into sin and further from God’s lighted path. Where shadows become the norm and we say the light hurts our eyes.
Pretty soon we are outraged that anyone would dare point out our sins. We allow the dark places to be filled with things we never would have considered before.
In these times, because they come for each of us. In these times I am asking that ONE of you be willing to stand in the gap I have allowed.
And I choose to stand in the gap for you.
Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
God needs only ONE to mind the gap. He wants all of us, but it will only take one. Is it you?
No one will be able to stand against you as long as I live…I will not fail or abandon you.” Joshua 1:5
At the very close of the book of Ezekiel, God instructs the prophet to hang a sign on the gate of the city. This renewed heart. It reads, “The Lord is there.”
This is the name of my city.