WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JUNE 19, 2023
TOPIC: STANDING IN THE GAP
BY T. O. BANSO
“I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” (Ezekiel 22:30-31 New Living Translation).
To stand in the gap, in the context of this message, is to intercede on someone’s behalf in prayer. Jesus is the intercessor for those who believe in Him. He is the one standing in the gap for us before God. He makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34).
The writer of the book of Hebrews says Jesus is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him since He always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25). Jesus has entered into heaven to appear in the presence of God for those who believe in Him (Hebrews 9:24). He is their high priest.
1 John 2:1 says we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He pleads our case before the Father. Someone standing in the gap does a similar thing. He pleads someone’s case on his behalf before God.
The followers of Christ need to stand in the gap for others, especially their spouses, children, families, loved ones, and those who may need their intercession.
We may know the issue for which to stand in the gap for someone. Sometimes we may not know the reason other than the fact that we have a burden to intercede for them. In this case, we have to pray in the Spirit, more than at any other time, to be able to pray right.
Romans 8:26-27 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (New King James Version).
Our standing in the gap may be because of a revelation we’ve heard, a request for it, or a particular issue that we know about the person. It may be with or without fasting. Faithfulness, selflessness, and persistence are requirements to effectively stand in the gap.
There are records of great interventions by God on earth because of the faithful intercession of some people. They stood in the gap and their intercession provoked God’s intervention.
We may never know the effects of the failure of people in the contemporary world to stand in the gap for others. When there were situations that called for intervention or when God gave them a burden to intercede but they did not respond, it had repercussions on the people.
The failure of such people will be like the situation recorded in the book of Ezekiel when God sought an intercessor but found none. “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” (Ezekiel 22:30-31 New Living Translation).
May you not fail God or those He has raised you or prompted you to stand in the gap for.
Some examples of people in the Bible who stood in the gap
1. Abraham stood in the gap for Sodom and Gomorrah. This is recorded in Genesis 18:16-33. The case of Sodom and Gomorrah was not like the situation recorded in Isaiah 59:16, which I referred to earlier, when God found no intercessor or no one to intervene or help the people of Judah.
Sodom and Gomorrah had an intercessor but they fell short of his expectation. Abraham thought there would be ten righteous people in that city; and therefore, asked God not to destroy the city if He could find this number. He never knew that the city was so sinful that there would not be ten righteous persons there.
2. Moses and Aaron stood in the gap to avert the destruction of Israelites because of the sin of Dathan, Korah, and Abiram in Numbers 16:1-3. In Numbers 16:22, Moses and Aaron interceded that God would not be angry with the congregation because of one man’s sin. The LORD responded and asked the congregation to get away from the tents of the three rebels.
3. Moses stood in the gap in prayer for the Israelites for their idolatry, and for Aaron, who had made a golden calf for the people thereby leading them into idolatry (Exodus 32:30-35; Deuteronomy 9:18-21; Psalm 106:23). If Moses had not stood in the gap, the punishment would have been more severe than it was. His intercession saved Aaron’s life during the plague the LORD sent upon the Israelites as punishment.
Moses also stood in the gap for his sister, Miriam, who became leprous for challenging his leadership. God refused to hear Moses’ prayer to heal her. He insisted that Miriam must be punished for her sin for seven days (Numbers 12:10-15).
In Jeremiah 7:16; 11:14; and 14:11-12, God equally forbade Jeremiah from continuing to stand in the gap for the people of Judah because of their persistent sin of idolatry, among others. The LORD was angry with them and had made up His mind to punish them.
He said in Jeremiah 15:1 that even if Moses and Samuel stood before Him to intercede for them, He wouldn’t help them. These two people were great prophets of God and intercessors.
The people of Judah had really sinned against the LORD and made Him extremely angry. According to the Prophet Eli in 1 Samuel 2:25a, “If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?” (New King James Version).
Repent of your sins that could make God not listen to the intercession for you.
4. Samuel stood in the gap in prayer for the Israelites. He said in 1 Samuel 12:23, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way” (New King James Version).
5. The vine keeper or gardener stood in the gap for the fig tree. If the vine keeper (Jesus Christ) had not stood in the gap, the owner of the vineyard (God) would have cut down the fig tree (the nation of Israel/the Christian) for its unfruitfulness. But the vine keeper successfully pleaded for a final chance – another year (Luke 13:6-9).
6. Paul stood in the gap for the church. Paul talked about his prayer for the churches of Colosse and Thessalonica (Colossians 1:9-14; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).
Whom who are you standing in the gap for? Can God trust you to faithfully stand in the gap for your spouse, family, loved ones, friends, church members, congregation, pastor, or any other person He may give you a prayer burden for?
Benefits of standing in the gap
1. You turn away the wrath of God or avert His judgment.
2. You provoke the mercy of God and divine intervention.
3. You prevent a bad dream or revelation from coming to pass.
4. You experience the personal joy of answered prayer for others. You feel glad that God could use you to bring about a positive change or avert evil.
5. You sow a seed, which you’ll reap later (Galatians 6:7). When you stand in the gap for others, God will cause others to stand in the gap for you, too, when there’s a need for it.
May the Lord find you faithful.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your intercession for me in heaven. Holy Spirit, help me to recognize and respond to the burden to pray for others. Help me to be faithful in standing in the gap for others. Father, strengthen those who are standing in the gap for me. Give them prompt answers to their personal prayers also.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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