Standing in the gap.

When I was about ten years old, my dad and I went hiking in the mountains of Bavaria.  We started out in a beautiful meadow, but the terrain became more rocky and treacherous the higher we climbed.  At one point we had to cross a ravine.  I was too scared to jump over, so my dad lowered me into the chasm while he stepped over to the other side where he would pull me out.  Right at that moment, a climber far above us loosened a large rock, which came hurling down the mountain straight at me.  I was stuck in the ravine and couldn’t get out of the way.  Somehow my dad was able to get his hands around the rock and slow it down enough to keep it from crushing me.  I’m convinced my father saved my life that day.  He stood in the gap between me and that rock.

***

I believe there is still time to rebuild the wall of righteousness and restore the deficit of character that has bankrupted our nation.  It won’t be easy.  Many people will watch the collapse of the wall on YouTube and chalk it up to another sign of the End Times.  They are standing by for the Rapture.  Restoring the wall would only serve to hinder the Day.

Well-meaning others will form committees, make posters and tweet about the Build A Better Wall Initiative. They remind you that after the service they will be standing around to collect donations of Legos and Crazy Glue.

Still others have already been to the wall.  They started under cover of darkness, chipping away one brick at a time and are now, in the afternoon sun, standing back to revere their handiwork.

Finally there are those who will be real about the extent and location of the damage and about their part in the collapse.   They will hike to the edge of the city – well beyond safety and way past comfort – all the way to where the wall was.

Then they will position themselves in the ruins, in the empty space where they are most vulnerable.  Where they are exposed to the elements and the enemy. They will stand in the gap between mercy and judgment and they will start building.  The work will be hard and dirty and bloody, but they will not stand down.

For as long as the breach remains, they will be the wall.  Who will you be?

But now O God, strengthen my hands.  Nehemiah 6:9

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Houston we have a problem.

The U.S. deficit for February alone was $223 billion dollars.  Is anyone awake?

To put that into perspective, McDonalds – which has over 33,000 stores worldwide – earns $24 billion in revenue each year.  The company’s 400,000 employees would have to work for ten years just to pay off the debt we racked up in one month.  And that doesn’t even include the interest.

Margaret Thatcher famously said that the problem with socialism is sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.  It would be one thing to acknowledge that we are broke and let the gears of the federal government grind to a merciful halt.  It is quite another to keep shoveling debt onto the backs of our children, securing the curse of bondage for our posterity.

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 (NLT)

We clearly have a problem.  But our $223 billion gap is not a deficit of dollars.  We have allowed the wall that has guarded us in the past to collapse.  Don’t believe those who tell you we have to focus on fiscal matters and let social issues take the back seat for now.

They are not just wrong.  They are exactly wrong.

Genesis: the story of separation.

20130315-002110.jpgI started to read the book of Genesis today and was struck by the realization that most of the creation story is actually the story of God dividing one thing from another: light from darkness, oceans from atmosphere, sea from dry land, day from night. Even the vegetation and the animals were separated, “after their kind.”

Adam was created when God separated a handful of dirt from the ground and breathed on it.

Man’s first task was to call out the animals and give them a name. I’ve often wondered why God didn’t just tell Adam what to call them. But Adam, being created after his Kind, participated in the separation story by giving each animal a unique identity, setting one apart from the other.

Much later, after a separation of another kind, God instructed Moses to build a partition in His House – a place where God could visit those He had named as His own.

We too are part of God’s separation story. We are His special separation. A chosen generation. A royal priesthood. A holy nation.

A people for God’s own possession, so that we may proclaim the distinction of the One who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1Peter 2:9).

[image source: Library of Congress]