Pastor’s Desk July 9th

Scripture Passage:  “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

Dear Friends,

     In ancient Israel every sheep fold had a small entrance way that led in to the compound of safety.  This entrance way was large enough for the sheep to pass through, but small enough for the shepherd to block it with his body.  Once the sheep had entered, the shepherd would lay down to sleep filling the gap.  If an animal or intruder tried to breach the gap the shepherd would stand,  and become a line of defense between the enemy and the helpless sheep.  The shepherd would fight until he could fight no more, willingly laying down his life for the sheep.  What would happen to the sheep if there was no one to stand in the gap?  A terrible slaughter would take place that could have been averted by the faithfulness of one person. So, who will stand in the gap? 

     My story is one of a long line of heroes who stood in the gap for me.  Parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, and friends have all risen to the occasion and provided for my defense.  Sometimes I knew about it, sometimes I did not.  Many times it would be later in life that I found out about their sacrifice and willingness to stand on my behalf.  There are others who because their acts were selfless and unheralded, I will never know about this side of eternity.  Many of my heroes make up that “great cloud of witnesses,” that the writer of the book of Hebrews talks about.  They have already passed from death to life and continue to cheer me on as I continue to run this race.  I still have a lot of present day heroes that faithfully stand in the gap on my behalf looking out for my welfare and protecting my best interest.  I am forever grateful and indebted to them for their faithfulness.  The question is: who is willing to stand in the gap today? 

     I find in today’s society that many want to enjoy the benefits afforded while accepting none of the responsibility that comes with someone standing in the gap.  We want others to protect us and even sacrifice for us, but we ourselves are not willing to do the same for others. With the passing of many saints of old there is a shortage of up and coming “gap standers.”  When the going gets tough and the enemy attacks, the tendency is to flee like a hireling or move with complacency to greener pastures.  Sometimes those pastures lead to the gates of Sodom and Gomorrah.  There are times we are called upon to stand in the gap of the mountain and fight to protect our own.  If we do not, eventually we will have nothing or no one to fight for. 

     I cannot leave today without acknowledging what Jesus did for me.  In John 10:7, Jesus said he was the door, “gap stander” of the sheep.  He was willing, and actually did, lay down his life for the sheep.  He stood in the gap, and took all the fury of Hell and the enemy for me.  He also stood in the gap and appeased the wrath of God for my sins.  He was the only thing that stood between me and destruction.  He is now seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession, “standing in the gap” for us.  With the good shepherd as our example, let us stand in the gap for one another.

In Christ,

Pastor Johnny