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STANDING IN THE GAP

Standing-in-the-Gap

When Robert Hunt landed at Cape Henry on April 26, 1607, he planted a wooden cross and said, “The Gospel will go forth from these shores, not only to this land but to all the nations of the earth.” In 1620, William Bradford and the signers of the Mayflower Compact declared they came to this land “[f]or the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian religion.” The signers of our Declaration of Independence relied on “Protection of Divine Providence,” and today our Pledge of Allegiance acknowledges we are “one nation under God.” We are a nation with a gospel purpose.

Are the declarations made at Cape Henry or on the Mayflower relevant today? How might those commitments made four hundred years ago reveal our identity and destiny? If we accept the significance of these historical declarations, how should we pray for America?

Our nation’s situation today is not unique in history.

When Israel’s destiny hanged in the balance after the great exodus from Egypt, Moses interceded giving us an excellent example of how we ought to intercede for America. The Israelites had departed Egypt and were now dwelling on the other side of the Red Sea. Moses had ascended the mountain, and for forty days he met with God. Meanwhile, the people waited at the foot of the mountain. Then we find in Exodus 32:7-14 how the story continues:

The Lord told Moses, “Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.’” Then the Lord said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation.”
But Moses tried to pacify the Lord his God. “O Lord!” he said. “Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and such a strong hand? Why let the Egyptians say, ‘Their God rescued them with the evil intention of slaughtering them in the mountains and wiping them from the face of the earth’? Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against your people! Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You bound yourself with an oath to them, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven. And I will give them all of this land that I have promised to your descendants, and they will possess it forever.’ ”
So the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people.

God wanted to destroy Israel, and He offered to make a new covenant with Moses and make of him a great people. Moses could have silently accepted God’s determination and watched Israel’s destruction, but

something had happened in Moses’ heart on the mountain with God. Moses did the unthinkable: he interceded for Israel.

The word intercession means “to come in between,” and an intercessor is one who comes in between. “In between” whom or what? Intercession is standing in the gap. The intercessor comes in between God and the object of God’s justified wrath and asks for mercy. The intercessor expresses to the Lord, “You have every right to judge these people. But if You judge them, You’ll have to judge me too because I’m standing between You and them.” As an intercessor, Moses was bold. He risked his life and boldly stood in the gap between a rebellious nation and a just God even though God told Moses to leave Him alone.

Moses was also humble. He asked God to consider His honor and glory and act according to His character. Moses did not approach God on the basis of any goodness in himself. Though Moses was raised in a palace and likely was trained and equipped to lead a nation, Moses rejected God’s offer of a new covenant and remarkably reminded God of His 400-year-old covenant with Abraham. This covenant was as effective as the day it was made.

Considering Moses' intercession as an example of how we can pray for America, are not the 400-year old declarations made at our nation’s founding effective today? Yes, we have sinned, and God is justifiably angry. But

we have a choice. We can ask God for mercy and grace to fulfill the vision He gave to those who landed at Cape Henry and Plymouth Rock, or we can tacitly agree with those who wish to destroy our history and distort God’s vision for America.

There are signs that God is moving in America, and it makes sense that our adversary would rise up to remind us of our sins. He will try to erase the good in our past and steal our future. Will we agree with our adversary and say all is lost? Or will we, like Moses, boldly and humbly intercede for our nation? In praying for our nation, let’s choose to follow the powerful example of Moses and intercede for God’s vision for America.

In these trying times, we need to pray with all of our hearts! "God, You are Lord and we are Your people. You are the Just Judge. We approach You with confidence in Your grace and mercy to ask you to forgive our rebellion. Revive us and restore us once again. Restore us to fulfill Your vision and purpose in America. In keeping with the vision of those You inspired to land here four hundred years ago, may the Gospel of the Kingdom of God go from shore to shore and from America’s shores to all the nations of the earth. Amen."

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Men and Women of Faith: David (Paul) Yonggi Cho
Tarry Not, O God: Prayers of Note Series

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