Standing in the Gap
From a Feast Sermon By Jack Ray, as remembered by
Frank Brown two months later

Yahweh made man in His image. Not only do we look like Him (a physical representation of His Spiritual body), but we have emotions similar to His. He can be entreated; He can and does change His mind when entreated. Else why would we pray and expect an answer? If everything was "set in concrete," as we like to say, and nothing could be changed, then what would be the point of asking Him to change situations, such as healing the sick, intervening in our lives in a favorable way, forgiving our sins, etc.?
But this does not mean that the Scripture in Malachi 3:6, quoting Yahweh as saying, " I am Yahweh; I change not," is not true. He means that He has set His laws in effect and are immutable; His overall plan for mankind will come to pass, His prophecies are sure. But it does not mean that He cannot or will not change His mind regarding a particular circumstance. Let's examine some Scripture that shows this very thing.
In Genesis 6, we find that Yahweh is sorely displeased with the man He has created (vs 1-5). In verses 6-9, we find that He "repenteth" of making man, and only Noah has found grace in His sight. Noah stood in the gap so to speak for all mankind, because he had found favor in Yahweh's eyes through obedience. The blessings resulting from his obedience is recounted in Genesis 8:20 to 9:1:
(Gen 8:20-22 KJV) "And Noah builded an altar unto Yahweh; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. {21} And Yahweh smelled a sweet savour; and Yahweh said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. {22} While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." (Gen 9:1 KJV) "And Elohim blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth."
If it had not been for Noah's righteousness, mankind might well have been totally destroyed in the flood.
Yahweh determined to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their perverted sexual orientation as well as other sins. He and two Spirit beings came to do this job. On the way they stopped to visit Abraham and confided the purpose of their mission to him . Let's pick up the story in Genesis 18: 20-26:
(Gen 18:20-26 KJV) "And Yahweh said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; {21} I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. {22} And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before Yahweh. {23} And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? {24} Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? {25} That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? {26} And Yahweh said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes."
Abraham kept on entreating Yahweh until He agreed not to destroy Sodom if ten righteous could be found. But, think of it! In this sizable city, not ten righteous could be found, so Yahweh destroyed Sodom, Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain around it. However, He did warn Lot, who took his reluctant family and left just in time.
If it had not been for Abraham standing in the gap for the righteous (few though they were), they all, including Lot, would probably have been incinerated.
Let's skip along now to Moses' time. You remember the various acts of rebellion and doubt that the children of Israel were involved with on their trek out of Egypt, enroute to the promised land. They incurred Yahweh's wrath on more than one occasion. At the very time Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone (Exodus 32), the people had made an idol and were corrupting themselves in an orgy.
(Exo 32:9-10 KJV) "And Yahweh said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: {10} Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation."
But Moses interceded for the people. He "stood in the gap" for them. He was not interested in Yahweh's offer to make of him a great nation. He pleaded for the people that Yahweh would spare them. He reasoned with Yahweh.
(Exo 32:11-13 KJV) "And Moses besought Yahweh his Elohim, and said, Yahweh, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? {12} Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. {13} Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever."
And what did Yahweh do? Did he squash Moses for his impertinence? Did He say, "Just who do you think you are, to talk to the Eternal One of the universe like that?" No, the next verse tells us:
Exo 32:14 And Yahweh repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
Of course, the greatest one to stand in the gap for us, is Yahshua the Messiah. He stands in the gap for us daily, interceding on our behalf.
(1 John 2:1 KJV) "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Yahshua the Messiah the righteous:"
Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is the Messiah that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of Yahweh, who also maketh intercession for us.
Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto Yahweh by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Scripture tells us that Yahshua is our example; we are to become like Him. We are to emulate Him; do the things He did. Then shouldn't we also stand in the gap for each other? Stephen stood in the gap for those who murdered him, following Yahshua's example of asking forgiveness for His murderers (Luke 23:34 and Acts 7:59-60).
If they could ask forgiveness for murderers, should we not be able to intercede for our brothers and sisters? Consider the following Scriptures, and remember, they are direct commands for us today. Yes, it is a duty that is often unpleasant, depending on how we are received.
Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
We are to exhort one another to good works.
(1 John 5:16 KJV) "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it."
(James 5:19-20 KJV) "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; {20} Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins."
(Heb 10:24 KJV) "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:"
As unpleasant as it may appear, we have an obligation to go to our brother or sister if we see him or her sin. We should meekly point it out, considering our own selves, lest we be lifted up thinking we are better than they. But once you have done this, the "ball is in their court." It is up to them to take action. You have delivered yourself. If they do not, you have done all you are required to do.
Leaders in the Assemblies, elders, pastors and ministers, should stand in the gap for their people. Fathers and mothers should stand in the gap for their children. We must pray for one another, as well as exhort one another. To neglect others is not an act of love, but just the opposite. Let us love one another, and show that love in a positive way.

Back to Index

Back to Main