“Be the One to Stand in the Gap”Categories: In the Bulletin
In the time of the Old Testament, a wall defined a city. The outer wall of a city was the first line of defense against incoming threats. If you did not have a wall, you did not have a city. If a church is like a “city”, as Jesus describes it, then it’s important that we keep the walls up. What are those walls? Not barriers, so that we can hole up and hunker down like a physical wall. The structures that form the borders of the church are the standards of righteousness—faith in the character of God and in His precepts, and the confidence that comes from trust in His grace. All Churches of Christ are meant to be fortified with truth, faithfulness, unity, respect and above all love for God and for our fellow man.
What happens when these structures are falling apart, broken in places or left in ruin? What happens when the principles that outline the church are in disrepair? When the Jewish people were in captivity and their culture had become leavened with sin, God longed for someone to “stand in the gap.” Amidst politicizing, selfish ambition, pride, idolatry, sloth, distrust in Him and all manner of sin, the Lord desired fervently that someone would have the courage to do right. In Ezekiel 22.30 the Lord said “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.”
Fast forward now to today. What is the manner of the world in which we now stand? Politicizing. Selfish Ambition. Pride. Idolatry. Slothfulness. Distrust in God. We can’t close our eyes, plug our ears and say “Lalalala I’m not listening.” This is real. It punches holes in our walls. How does the church respond? Well, sometimes we retreat inward and sit in the comfort of our four walls…without noticing the gaps. We see our broken walls and leave them unattended. Sometimes worse, we just run for the hills and abandon our family.
Let it no be so. The church is meant to be a haven for love and a shining light for the grace of God. Let those principles be the walls that outline this church…and when those lines are broken, where the gaps are—YOU be the one to stand. Standing in the gap means extending a hand of forgiveness, opening our hearts, praying for an enemy and showing grace to all. Remember the One that stood in the gap for you and follow Him.
- Cain Atkinson