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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

STAND IN THE GAP

Ezekiel 22:30 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.

Through Ezekiel, God relates this abominable state of the Hebrew nation. The first few verses of this chapter tell of Israel becoming idolatrous and abandoning God. Their leaders had profaned all things that were holy. They had oppressed the fatherless, widows, and strangers. They had led the people in all kinds of fornication and unnatural lust. To God, they were as dross - the impurities of refined gold or silver. Due to their condition, God was on the verge of consuming them as the heat from a blast furnace separates the dross from the precious metals. Her prophets, priests, and kings had gone astray from God, and the people of Israel had followed them.

God says in verse 30 that He looked for a person among them that would make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before Him, but none could be found. The hedge is the stronghold around a city that served to deter and prevent invasions from enemies. The gap is each position that is to be filled by soldiers making up the strong hedge of defense. In other words, there was a gap in their defense. There was a weak place in their defense where the enemy could break through and capture the city. God was looking for a person that could fill this gap, but could find none. In Israel's army of men, no one could be found that could steadfastly fill the gap and defend the City of God.

It takes a person that is steadfast to fill the gap in God's defense. The compound word steadfast is interesting. Stead means to stand in the place of another. The gaps of God's defense are to be filled by His soldiers. They are filling the gap in stead of God, that is, in the place of God. Fast means firm, fixed, constant, established, etc. To stand firm and fixed in someone's place is to be steadfast.

There is a wonderful example of standing in the gap that is referred to in Psalms 106:23. During the wilderness wondering, Israel made and worshipped the golden calf. The wrath of God was kindled by this act and He was about the destroy them. But Moses interceded and stood before Him in the breach, to turn away His wrath from their destruction. The breach of a defense is the same as the gap. Moses firmly stood in the gap and defended Israel. Not their action, but their heritage. Israel was saved from extinction by the steadfastness of Moses "standing in the gap".

God is calling to His people today to firmly stand in His stead - standing in the gap.

1) To resist Satan - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren in the world (1 Pet. 5:8-9).

2) To overcome adversity - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword (Rom. 8:35)?

3) In order to persevere - We are the house of Christ ... if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end (Heb. 3:6). We are heirs of Heaven with Christ ... if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end (Heb. 3:14).

4) To do good works - Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58).

We are to stand in the gap for God, resisting Satan, overcoming adversity, persevering, and doing good works. We are to do so in order to enjoy the hope of eternal life. We are to do so to be with our Savior Jesus Christ and live in God's presence forever. Through the apostle John, Jesus says, To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne (Rev. 3:24). God wants you and needs you to Stand in the Gap!