“Then I said: ‘O Lord God, cease, I pray! Oh, that Jacob may stand, For he is small!’ So the Lord relented concerning this. ‘This also shall not be,’ said the Lord God.”
Amos, the shepherd-prophet, saw two consecutive visions that revealed the impending disaster looming over the nation. The first was a swarm of locust that would come just prior to harvest time. History records massive swarms of locusts in and around Israel, that had devastating affects upon the land, the people and the economy. One such incident describes a swarm so great, it devoured every crop in he field, took the bark off the trees, and even the thatch off the roof of many homes. The only thing that stopped this deadly swarm, was when they finally reached the Sea. So many locust died in the waters that a plague broke out and thousands of people died. The second vision was that of a fire that would consume the land. If these visions were fulfilled consecutively, the devastation would be catastrophic.
What happens next is amazing. Amos declares, these visions did not come to pass. This was not because they were idle threats, nor was it because God does not keep His promises. These disasters were averted because of the intercession of one man, who once cared for sheep and now cared for the nation. This one man who stood in the gap and prayed on behalf of the entire nation, rescued the people from disaster.
This is quite convicting to me, partly because I tend to associate the work of God with a multitude of people. If we called a prayer meeting and five thousand people showed up, we might expect God to do something great. We might even anticipate the moral tide of the country to begin to change. However, when we sit alone in our devotion chair, and intercede on behalf of others, we rarely do so with great expectation. Keep in mind, a lowly shepherd from Tekoa stood in the gap, prayed for his nation, and the judgment of God was averted.
What, or perhaps, who will you stand in the gap for today?