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Standing in the Gaps

“Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows” (Neh. 4:14).

This past Sunday I taught the adult class and we looked at Nehemiah 4. Nehemiah is a book about the people of God rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem yet the rebuilding is more about the people than it is the walls. Like any good story there are the protagonists (Nehemiah and the workers) and the antagonists (Sanballat and Tobiah). Like any successful villain, Sanaballat and Tobiah try to thwart the workers from accomplishing their task. They try criticism, slander, ridicule, public shame and when all of those fail, things get violent. As we read through Nehemiah 4 one of my youth group parents made this comment:

“I love how they put people in the gaps to protect them.”

I honestly did not think about that. Then a brother made this comment:

“They put families there too which was smart because I might not die to protect someone else but I’ll die to protect my family.”

I didn’t think of that either. Nehemiah put people families in the gaps—the vulnerable spots in the wall—to protect the progress of the wall but ultimately to obey what God was blessing.

Standing in the gaps.

Who is standing in your gaps protecting you while you obey the task God has given you? Is it your spouse? A mentor? A confidant? A spiritual director? A group of ladies at church? A men’s group? A parent?

When I resigned from Main Street a few years ago I remember being in a really bad place. Folks who I thought stood in my gap suddenly stopped calling, texting or dropping by. I don’t blame them as people have to move on. Yet, I needed people to help. We attended a church for a few months and I can’t tell you how many times this church stepped up in helping us. In a time we were vulnerable they stood in the gaps.

So…

Who is standing in your gap? Find someone.