Recently I received the following question: What does it mean to “stand in the gap” for someone else? Here’s a brief reply.
“Stand in the gap” is a phrase used in Ezekiel 22:30. There it describes God with arms raised, ready to destroy all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. But at the last second, before the final killing blow, God looks around for one last reason to delay judgment. He looks for a person who will ask God to give Jerusalem one more chance. He looks for any person who believes that there is hope for the people of Jerusalem to change. God is looking for someone to “stand in the gap.”
- Abraham attempted to “stood in the gap” for Sodom and Gomorrah, unsuccessfully.
- Jesus “stood in the gap” for his executioners when he asked God not to hold their sin against them since they “didn’t know what they were doing.”
- Moses successfully “stood in the gap” for Israel in Numbers 14:11-25 when God planned to destroy all of Israel and make the descendants of Moses God’s promised people instead.
How amazing it is that God is willing to delay his judgment at the request of a person who has the boldness to ask God to relent! Is it our prayer for people to have one more chance to repent and follow Jesus Christ?