Recently I had to preach a sermon on a Sunday morning on short notice. Usually anything less than a month I consider short notice, but this time it actually was a last moment kind of situation. As I thought about what I would say a short time later, this verse popped into my mind:
So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Ezekiel 22:30
Actually, the thought of standing in the gap had been rolling around in my mind for a couple of days, based on some things I heard my pastor and others say. I realized that those thoughts were occurring because of what I was going to need to do this particular morning. There was a gap in the wall that the Lord wanted someone to stand in. And He found me. A small gap for a short time, but I stood as best I could.
That is how the Lord works. He presents circumstances and opportunities to serve Him. If we are centered on Him, we will stand, for we will see the gap before us that He wants filled. You may never have to preach or teach, you may just be asked to go out of your way to show a kindness, to do something with no expectation of reciprocity or reward, to share your witness and proclaim your Lord to someone you might have just met in passing.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. John 10:11-13
The passage from John was another I used that Sunday morning. When we stand, we need to be shepherds and not hired hands. For what we are doing shows we own the situation the Lord has put us in. We own it for Him and in Him. Hirelings run from trouble, the Lord is asking for us to stand:
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, Ephesians 6:13-14a
This was the last verse I used. Stand, stand, therefore stand. The Lord will not give you more than you can handle. When any of us sees a gap in the wall, we should realize the Lord knows what we see, that the Lord enables us to see that gap. He wants us to stand in it, and what the Lord wants us to do, He will give us the strength and courage to accomplish if we turn to and rely on Him alone.
I will close this post with an excerpt from a personal blog I wrote several years ago, but no longer use as a current blog. I thought of this post as I prepared my impromptu sermon, and editing through it, found this portion helpful to me:
It made me realize that battles fought for the Lord in quiet or dark corners of the world bring no less glory to Him than those on open and public fields of battle. The most difficult struggles are those waged in places where you are the weakest, which is often when you are or feel alone. But God knows and measures the heart, He knows the effort and there is no less glory for God if few, or no one else is watching but Him. Because He has won your heart and you are ready to stand in the gap for Him. So build the wall and stand in the gap. Do not be discouraged, but know in your heart that others are standing in their own gaps, beside their own piece of the wall, waging battle as well. You do not know them, but He does as well as He knows you.
So stand in the gap, because when you step back and look at your daily actions through the lens of eternity, is there anything else for one to do?
Stand therefore, because…
Jesus is coming soon!