Two generations passed between Hezekiah and Josiah. They were evil days; fifty-seven years of defying God. Fifty-five of those years belonged to Manasseh. So terrible was his reign that it brought about this statement from God: “I am going to bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle” (2 Kings 21:12, NIV).
After more than a half century of godless rule, Josiah came to the throne of Judah. It was written of him: “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left” (23:2, NIV).
In the course of Josiah’s reforms, the Book of the Law was discovered. When the king heard the law read he was horrified and tore his clothes in mourning at the sin of the nation (22:12) and the grievous offense committed against God.
Huldah, one through whom God spoke in those days, delivered a message to the young king. The judgment of God could not be avoided, but “Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord” (22:19, NIV).
Josiah’s response of repentance and submission held off the judgment of God for a little bit longer. He had become a “gap man.”
The prophet Ezekiel, lamented the absence of “gap men” in his day. With so much evil around, so much corruption, so little godly leadership, it was hard to find someone who would stand for truth and righteousness. Ezekiel knew that God would delay His judgment as long as there were “gap men” still doing their jobs. When there weren’t, well, the inevitable would happen. “‘I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord” (Ezekiel 22:30, 31, NIV).
We need men and women today who will take a stand for truth and righteousness, who will stand “in the gap.” As the number of “gap men” decreases, so the moment of God’s judgment on the church, on the nation, grows closer. The world seeks to silence the voices, little knowing that its success rate only seals its own fate.
May God raise up more “gap men” like Josiah in these evil days. May God be able to count on us to stand “in the gap.”
Lynda is a missionary, speaker, educator, writer, editor, and cat lover. She was born and raised in Timmins, the heart of gold mining country in northeastern Ontario, Canada. Lynda has served with Fellowship International for more than thirty years, first in Colombia, a brief stint on home staff in Toronto, Ontario and, more recently in Venezuela. She is currently on staff at First Baptist Church in Timmins, Ontario where her primary focus is spiritual formation. The author of Divine Design for Daily Living, a 365 day devotional journey through the entire Bible (published in Spanish and English), Lynda blogs Lynda’s Grain of Sand, maintains her own website Northern Breezes , and has been seconded by Fellowship International to serve on the Communications team of The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada.