Week of Monday, April 5 ­– Sunday, April 11
Stand in the Gap – Man as Defender

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 NKJV

The blockbuster movie 300 retells the story of an epic battle fought between a massive Persian army and a mere 300 Spartan defenders. In the real-life Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC), the elite Spartan warriors together with less than 10,000 Greek citizens, made a no-less valiant attempt to hold off the massive Persian army long enough for messengers to warn the Greek city-states about the impending invasion and rally them to rise up together in defense of their homeland. In a brilliant strategic move, King Leonidas and his Spartan warriors decided to make their stand at the strait of Thermopylae, which was a narrow gap between the huge cliffs on one side and the sea on the other. Leonidas and his 300 men with their servants, along with about a 1,000 Greeks who remained for the final battle, courageously fought to the death in their heroic attempt to “stand in the gap” against the Persian invaders.

A little over 100 years earlier, God’s people had their own firsthand experience with invaders. The Babylonians had already conquered Judah in 605 and returned in 598/97 BC, taking away Daniel, then Ezekiel and a host of other captives. Now, a third and final invasion loomed on the horizon. A wall, like the one around Jerusalem, served as the defensive perimeter around a city and was part of the last line of defense, but a “gap” or “breach” in that wall would potentially be disastrous. The same general scenario was replayed centuries later in San Antonio at an old Spanish Mission called “The Alamo.” Defenders have to swarm to the location of the breech, stand in the gap and hold that breach against the invaders. If they were successful in repulsing the attack, the gap in the wall would need to be repaired as soon as possible. If a breach was left undefended or unrepaired, the city would ultimately fall, leaving the people inside at the mercy of the invading army.

God told Ezekiel earlier in this chapter that the sinful actions of the false prophets, priests, princes, and the people in general had created a “breach” in the spiritual walls protecting them (see v. 23-29). Now, God’s fury was about to break through in judgment on Jerusalem.

Surprisingly, from what God indicates here, this could have been avoided. God looked for someone—anyone—who would stand in the gap and intercede for the city. Like Abraham did for Lot and his family before God’s judgment fell on Sodom (see Gen. 18-19). Like Moses did for Israel when God threatened to wipe them out (see Psalm 106:23; Exod. 32). In Ezekiel’s day, God searched for such a defender, but He could find no one. Apparently, if someone had been willing to “stand in the gap,” the destruction of Jerusalem could have been avoided. Since no one was willing or able to defend the breach and rebuild the wall, God’s judgment fell. In fact, the Babylonians breached those walls around Jerusalem and destroyed it in 586 BC.

The Psalmist voices God’s enduring question: “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” (Psalm 94:16 ESV). See, God is still looking for someone, anyone to stand in the gap. To stand in the gap spiritually and physically to protect our wives, our children, and grandchildren as well as the nation that God has given us. To stand in the gap and intercede for those who are lost and headed toward destruction. To stand in the gap for those unable to defend themselves, like the unborn. To stand in the gap for our Christian values that are under savage attack. To stand in the gap as Americans against any invasion of tyranny and threat to our liberty.

God is still looking for you and me to step up as Defenders. Will you muster your courage and stand when others flee in terror? YES, you can make a difference and stop the attacks from Satan. You can be a man in that gap, holding your lance high, shield up and ready for action, prepared for battle with a determined enemy. Remember, the Good Book says we win, but God says we must stand also. Will you stand in the gap?

  • What was true back in Ezekiel’s day is still true in a military context today: A breach in a defensive perimeter can mean disaster. How can you ensure that the spiritual “defensive perimeter” around your family holds against attack? What are some practical things you can do to shore up that perimeter and stand in the gap for them?
  • As you survey Ezekiel 22:23-29, do any of their sins line up with what you are seeing today in America that are likely causing a “breach” in our spiritual walls, leaving us open to God’s judgment? What can you do as a Defender to stand in the gap for our nation?
  • Ask the Spirit of God to point out any “breaches” in your own spiritual walls because of sin and for the strength and courage not only to repent, but when restored, to serve as a faithful Defender in your home, church, community, and nation.