Stand in the Gap Make up the Hedge
Ezekiel 33:6 (NKJV) “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.”
Ezekiel 22:30 (KJV) “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 (NKJV) “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 (NLT) “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.”
When I thought of Ezekiel 33:6 two pictures came to mind. The first was Batman, as the protector of the city, on top of a skyscraper looking out over Gotham. The other picture that came to mind was a man on his face, lying prostrate in prayer. Those two images combined are what I am trying to get across to you in terms of your role as a father.
Other than ensuring that your wife and children receive Christ, being the spiritual protector and intercessor of your home may be your most important role as a father.
You may already be thinking, my wife is better at praying than me. That may be the case for now but God is just looking for your obedience, not your eloquence. He is looking for the sincerity of your heart. God wants you to use your faith believing that He hears your prayers. The enemy is watching too. The devil is looking for your absence, he’s looking for openings, areas of neglect and abdication.
There is a place in prayer in your home that only you, as the father, can fill. I’m not saying that your wife, or your spiritually mature kids, can’t lead prayer. I’m saying that in the background you are the spiritual Batman. You are a spiritual sentry patrolling the wall guarding your family ensuring that every encroachment is repelled.
There is also a place of intercession for your family that only you can fill. Your wife may be filling it alone now but this is not God’s best. Do what you need to do to get in place. What does it take to get in place? It only takes obedience, a willing heart, faith that God hears your prayers.
You may have said, “My wife is the “intercessor.” That is one of my spiritual pet peeves because intercession is not a gift, it’s a decision. Search for the spiritual gift of intercession in the Bible. You won’t find it. Intercession is a decision to go into prayer on behalf of another. Often intercession is the result of a decision to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to pray for someone.
Yes, women are often more sensitive to these promptings. Yes, because of their emotional makeup many women are more fervent in their emotional response to these promptings. But we as men get the promptings to pray or intercede also, we just don’t respond. Oh, by the way, you don’t need a prompting to pray for someone! You can decide to pray for someone without being prompted.
God said, “I looked for a man to make up the hedge or to build the wall in prayer for the inhabitants of the land. You are the man that makes up the protective hedge, that builds the wall for your family. You are the sentry standing on the wall in prayer for your wife and your kids—whether they live with you or not.”
One of my greatest struggles, when it came to standing in the gap, was considering my falls. In my case, battles with lust and later pornography and eventually adultery and divorce.
I felt I didn’t deserve to be on the wall, that I didn’t deserve to stand before God in prayer. I allowed the devil me to sell me on the reasons why I was disqualified to pray. His mission is to steal, kill and destroy. If he can get the dad off the wall, he can advance in his mission against all the members of the family.
The purpose of the devil’s condemnation is to get you off the wall, to get Batman to leave the city, to retreat into the Batcave. Don’t allow it to happen. Repent. Confess your faults to God and a trusted friend. Get accountability. Receive forgiveness. Get back on the wall. Get back on your face.
For Reflection: Have I abdicated my responsibilities as watchman and intercessor for my family? Have I downplayed the importance of my contributions in prayer? Have I allowed condemnation over my failures to make me in retreat spiritually? What can I do today, this week, to get back on the wall, to get back on my face, as it pertains to my family?
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