(February 15, 2019) Missionary statesperson Dr George Forbes reminds us that God needs heroes…
Believe it or not, God – yes, Almighty God – has a particular need, a big one!
Ezekiel 22:30 tells that he reveals his heart cry: ‘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.’
Throughout the history of God’s people, both in Old Testament and New Testament times, God has sought for a man or woman to be his voice, to stand in the gap before him for the land. All too often he has not found even one.
Yes, there have been many times in decades past when someone has responded, someone who heard God’s call and obeyed it. But in our generation, our day, he is still looking for men and women who will stand in the gap for a nation, a land, a people.
Heroes of faith, lights in darkness
Some such heroes of bygone times are named in scripture… in the Old Testament and the Acts of the Apostles and other New Testament records: They belong in God’s Honour Roll!
In recent generations of Christian faith there have been other such heroes of faith… many are not listed here, but we can think of –
- William Carey
- Hudson Taylor
- Adonorim Judson
- Gladys Aylward
- David Livingston
- Mary Slessor
- Amy Carmichael
- Jim Elliot
- And so many others…
Each of them literally ‘stood in the gap’ for a people, even a country. They were lights in great darkness. There are other living heroes serving God today in our troubled world, advancing the kingdom of God in new places among unreached people groups. They too are truly bridging the gap.
Understand the gap
To bridge any gap, one must know it is there. Additionally, to learn everything possible about that gap.
Building a literal bridge over a chasm requires essentials that must be researched, checked and verified by those who have the necessary training and skills. This all takes time, resources, skills, patience and commitment.
It would be useless to send a team of willing untrained workers to even survey the site, let alone build the bridge! The same applies to bridging the spiritual gap that must be crossed with the gospel by those who are called and equipped for this task.
Standing in the spiritual gap
It’s vital that we realise that…
- This is the most serious task, as well as the most difficult, on earth.
- To share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people in their mother tongue, by people whom they have learned to respect and trust requires commitment of a special kind as well as gifts and skills that only the God of eternity can give.
- This is the major task of the church of Jesus Christ.
Personally I’m thrilled that I belong to a local church that recognises these facts, as well as being committed to this task. My prayer is that God will raise up many more such churches committed to this big task, obedient to the call of God in this century.
There is need for thousands of local churches to yet join this company of committed churches; instead of just taking short-term missions trips to see situations where the national church is working, somewhere in the developing world.
Needed: Praying churches
The tragedy of Ezekiel’s time (‘But I found none’) is being repeated in our time! I believe the missing element is prayer.
I earnestly recommend that local church leaders pray about the places and the nations where no one is yet standing in the gap. This is not some emotional plea to change for my sake. This is my heart plea to pastors… look at the fields and ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers where there are none, or very few.
When Jesus saw the multitude, without a shepherd he called on his disciples to pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest. Luke 10:2 records, ‘These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields”.’
God hears our prayers!
The apostle confirmed in 1 Peter 3:12 that, ‘The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.’ The greatest thing that local churches can do is to pray for labourers to go into the harvest fields that are yet silent. To select them and send them in partnership with committed, trustworthy mission agencies to the neglected places and regions.
- And not just an occasional prayer, but prevailing prayer – intelligent prayer, knowing the realities and the challenges. Victorious prayer that breaks the barriers and moves mountains of opposition and difficulty.
- Without much prayer we will never prevail, but with faith-filled prayer we will see the glory of the Lord in the darkest places on earth. We will see multitudes coming to Christ.
- Nothing is more important to God than for the church to complete the harvest task he gave to us.
We live in a day when movies are highlighting the need for superheroes to save the world!
The cry of our prayers should be for superheroes of biblical, supernatural faith like those mentioned above, who will with God’s help change our nations!
Let’s hear and respond to God’s Ezekiel 22:30 heart cry.
Dr George Forbes is internationally recognised as a missionary spokesperson with a heart for the lost of the nations. With a wealth of missionary knowledge and a unique ability to communicate the global picture, he is widely known as the ‘story-teller.’ Link: email@example.com