One of the responsibilities of the Old Testament prophets was to act as God’s spokesmen and to denounce the wicked deeds of God’s people. With the exception of men like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, the prophets pretty much ignored the sins of the people, instead giving the people false visions and divining lies (Ezekiel 22:28). But Ezekiel did denounce the wicked deeds of the people, based on the words that God gave him. In Ezekiel 22:30, God told Ezekiel that He searched for someone to stand in the gap for His people, but He could not find anyone. Israel had rebelled against God and would suffer because of her sins.
Standing in the gap means to assume a position of active, resolute defense. God was looking for someone who would be willing to defend His people, someone who was willing to plead their case before Him. When Moses was leading God’s people in the wilderness, there were times when God’s anger burned against them due to their rebellious, stiff-necked behavior (Numbers 14:11). Moses stood in the gap for them and pleaded their case (Numbers 4:19). As a result, God held back His anger and His wrath.
Jesus stood in the gap for all of us. We are all sinners and have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). The wages of our sin is death and, by rights, we should have had to face the penalty for our sin (Romans 6:23). But Jesus stood in the gap for us. He took upon Himself all of our sins as He gave His life on the cross. Jesus became our advocate before God (1 John 2:1) so that we could avoid the penalty for our sin and instead have eternal life.
We are called to stand in the gap for others, to plead their cases before God by interceding for them in prayer. Parents are called to stand in the gap for their children, believers are called to stand in the gap for other believers and, maybe more importantly, for those who do not yet believe. As believers in America, we are also called to stand in the gap for our country. America has turned its heart away from God. Because He is a righteous God, the continued rebellion against Him will cause His anger to burn against it. For that reason, we must stand in the gap for America. We must humble ourselves and pray for God to heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).