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. (Ezekiel 22:30)
Relate: He guarded a field of beans and that made him famous. There is a story in the Bible of a man named Shammah and his courageous stand in a field of lentils. Well, it isn’t really a story, it is only two sentences but there is oh so much to read between the lines. One day the Israelite and Philistines met for battle. At first the Philistines were getting the better of it and the entire Israelite army fled. The entire army minus one. When every other soldier turned and ran, Shammah stood his ground in a field of lentils. He guarded a field of beans and he continued to do so, holding off the entire Philistine army. The rest of the Israelites stopped running when they realized the Philistines weren’t chasing. Then they figured out why they weren’t being chased. Finally they mustered their courage, rejoined Shammah, and won the battle.
Fiction literature is full of these type of one man stands. Real life? Not so much. It takes a special type of courage to stand your ground when everyone else around you runs. It takes a special type of courage to be the only one doing right when everyone else around you is doing wrong. It takes a special type of courage to be that one man (or woman) standing in the gap.
React: I would really like to think I am a gap stander. I would really like to think that I have the type of courage it takes to do what is right when everyone else around me does wrong. I can imagine myself standing in the way of that tank in Tiananmen Square. But is that really me? Not a chance. I have a hard time taking the right stand even when nobody else is around, let alone when there are others and they are all doing wrong.
It is quite obvious to pretty much everyone whose head is not buried in the stand that our world is rapidly moving toward a time when such stands are going to be more and more necessary. Whether you live in Turkay, Toronto, or Tokyo evil is on the rise. Whether you call yourself American, Armenian, or Australian, the need for people to stand in the gap grows ever greater. But you, if you are anything like me, are just not able to do so. We are no Shammah. That is why we need someone to live in us to whom we can surrender control.
I am desperate for You to make me brave. When I get beyond the delusions of who I wish I was, I realize that I am simply not made of the stuff of legends. I am no Shammah. On my own I do not have the strength and the courage and the integrity to stand in the gap while the world around me crumbles. Give me Your courage. Give me Your strength. I surrender myself and my doubts and my fears to You. Even if it is only a field of beans You have called me to stand in, help me to stand strong. Through me, let the enemy stop and be able to go no further. Through my intercession hold back our judgment from my neighbors and nation. Let me be a Shammah for Your Kingdom’s sake.