“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30)
The Lord uses people to do His work, but so few are willing to stand in the gap. It would be easy for God to just do things Himself, but He chooses to involve humans to help accomplish His plan. Very few are found who are willing to step out on faith to accomplish God’s will.
Where are righteous men and women who seek God diligently, listen for His direction, and give their all to accomplish God’s will? He could be calling you to do something you think is impossible. Take your fingers out of your ears and listen to Him.
We aren’t born righteous. Because of Adam’s sin we’re more apt to follow the evil temptations from Satan than to seek God and follow His ways. In spite of our human failings, God is able to use men to accomplish His plan. Nobody lived in more evil days than Noah, yet he kept himself apart from the corruption of all creation. Because of his obedience to God, humanity was given a new start.
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)
Jesus said the end days would be like those of Noah’s day, and we see that happening. Will you, like Noah, separate yourself from the corruption around you? God needs righteous men and women to be examples to a lost and dying world. He needs you to stand in the gap.
It didn’t take long until sin and corruption took hold again. Satan stays busy corrupting mankind. When the time was right, God called Abram from a heathen culture. Abraham wasn’t righteous, but God saw past the idolatry and knew his potential. He called Abraham to be the father of a great nation. Because of Abraham’s willingness to obey God, the nation of Israel was born.
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3)
Through the nation of Israel God gave His greatest gift to mankind, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. If Abraham had refused to leave the idol worshiping culture he lived in, God would have found somebody else.
“And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” (James 2:23)
Because of obedience, Abraham is remembered as a great man in spite of his failures. God can use you too if you’re willing to obey Him. He can help you to step away from the sin around you and lead you along His path of righteousness.
Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, God demonstrates that He chooses men to lead, but women are also given the opportunity to stand in the gap. Deborah is a woman who comes to mind when we think of people who obeyed God.
“And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.” (Judges 4:4-5)
God revealed to Deborah that Israel was to fight against King Jabin of Hazor. She enlisted Barak to lead an army of men to fight against Sisera, the captain of ‘army. Barak only agreed to go fight if Deborah went with him. Deborah must have loved the Lord and served Him well because she agreed to go. Barak would face a fierce battle and he Deborah was close to the Lord and could give godly advice. Every leader needs godly advisors in order to make right decisions.
“And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.” (Judges 4:9)
Deborah heard God’s voice and wasn’t afraid to speak His truth. God used her to righteously judge Israel and to inspire Barak to fight in battle on behalf of God. We all fight battles with the enemy. Satan wants to come between you and God. Fight the battle by studying God’s Word and applying it to your life. Surround yourself with godly men and women who hear God’s truth who will give you godly advice.
Today we seem more apt to look to Facebook friends for advice, but unless they are like Deborah and speak on behalf of God you are looking for help in the wrong place. The battle belongs to the Lord, but you need to arm yourself with His tools of battle…with His righteousness.
Another woman who stood in the gap was a young Jewish woman named Hadassah, better known as Esther. She lived in the very pagan Babylonian culture found in Shushan. Through a series of circumstances she married King Ahasuerus and became his queen. She had been advised by her cousin Mordecai to not tell anyone that she was Jewish. As it turned out, that was good advice.
Eventually a man named Haman brought charges against all of the Jews and convinced the king that they should be killed on the thirteenth day of Adar. That’s when Queen Esther chose to stand in the gap. Mordecai made her aware of the planned murder of her people and told her this:
“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
God had allowed her to be the queen for such a time as that. Esther understood that she needed to bring Haman’s evilness to the king’s attention, but she hadn’t been called to him for many days. If she approached him without being called he could have had her killed. Esther chose to stand in the gap.
She was able to invite King Ahasuerus and Haman to banquets which she prepared in order to get Haman to show his true nature to the king. Haman did just as Esther had hoped and King Ahasuerus had him hanged. She also revealed that she was, in fact, Jewish and would be killed by the king’s decree. King Ahasuerus repealed the decree.
What if Esther had chosen to keep silent? Esther was in a unique position to speak up for the Jews, even though her life could have been in danger. Today we need to follow her example. Israel is in a war against satanic people who want to destroy them.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” (Psalm 122:6)
The battle is vicious, but stand in the gap by praying for Jerusalem.
The people I’ve described stood in the gap and obeyed God. Were they righteous people who were a bit more perfect than others? No, they were just people who chose to obey God. Many others are named in the Bible who God sees as righteous in spite of their failures. We might look at Lot as being lost and beyond salvation. He chose to live in Sodom, a city filled with the filth of sin so great that God needed to destroy it. Yet, Peter says that Lot was a righteous man.
“And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; and delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” (2 Peter 2:6-9)
Lot doesn’t seem to have accomplished any special mission like Abraham or Esther, but if the Lord can see him as worthy of salvation, then you and I can take heart. He was in Sodom, but wasn’t a part of the abominable sin there. The sin of this world grows darker each day. Even though we live here we don’t have to partake in it. Only faith in Jesus Christ will make your righteous and save you from eternal death.
The men and women mentioned above were regular people living their daily lives…people just like you and me. Each and every day we are faced with a challenge to do what God asks of us or to fail. When God asks you to step out and witness to a neighbor or a co-worker, do you cower in fear of what they might think, or do you share the gospel with them? Esther could have lost her life for speaking out on behalf of the Jewish people, but you probably just run the risk of being scoffed at.
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Romans 6:13)
God will give you courage when you need it, but you need to be willing to step out in faith. You may not be asked to build an Ark or be a war advisor, but winning souls for Christ is the most important task God has set before every Christian.
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30)
Study Scripture in order to have answers and pray. Let the Holy Spirit lead you. God is always looking for righteous man and woman to stand in the gap and accomplish great things for Him.
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.” (Romans 3:22)
It isn’t your own righteousness that qualifies you for service to God, but righteousness that only comes through faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If you confess Him as your Savior, then move away from unrighteous ties to unbelievers and stand firm upon His word.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Witness to the unrighteous, but don’t yoke yourself with them. Everyone who saw the Ark being built saw Noah’s faith in action. If Noah had joined with the unrighteous people of his day he would have failed in the task God called him to do and he would have died in the flood.
We can never be righteous enough by our own merit to stand before God…it’s only the righteousness of Jesus that makes us worthy.
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him: and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:7-9)
We need to make God’s ways our ways and think like Him. While we live on this side of heaven we will never completely understand His ways, but we can draw closer to Him. Study Scripture, pray, and find ways to stand in the gap for Him.
“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:3)
He’s looking for sinners to repent and to be righteous through Him. He’s looking for you to stand in the gap.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original Scripture is “theopneustos” (God breathed).