The other day, while I was out of town, my wife woke up to the sound of hoofbeats in our yard. That's actually a problem. Misty, her horse, is supposed to be out in the pasture, inside a barbed wire fence. But this particular day Misty was having a grand old time running around our yard - and, without quick action on my wife's part - soon she would have been out of our yard and in harm's way. Fortunately, my wife managed to get Misty back to her pasture before any harm was done. But the big question was, "How do you prevent this horse from getting out again?" The problem was that storm with 80 MPH winds the other night - it uprooted the tree that was anchoring one corner of the pasture's barbed wire fence. We were hoping that the downed tree and the partially intact fence would be enough to keep Misty in until we could close the gap. It wasn't. Our horse just found the gap and ended up going where she really should not go.
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Closing The Gap."
It's not just a horse that exploits a gap in the fence. It's the lion, too - the one the Bible says is prowling around, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Satan, of course. And you can be sure the destroyer is prowling around your life, your home, your ministry right now, looking for a gap in the fence - a way to go where he should never really be allowed to go.
So here's a quick lesson in how to drive your enemy nuts. It's in our word for today from the Word of God in Nehemiah 4:6-7. It comes from Nehemiah's fascinating account of how a small band of Jews rebuilt the walls and gates of a devastated Jerusalem in 52 days, all the time surrounded by enemies that were determined to stop them. And here's one important step they took to cut off their enemies' attacks - a step you may need to be taking to keep your eternal enemy out.
The Bible says, "So we rebuilt the wall until it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the men of Ashdod (that's a lot of guys against you!) heard that the repairs in Jerusalem's walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry." I guess so. Those gaps were weak spots in the wall that they could use to go where they should never be allowed to go.
Now, you want to send your enemy Satan away frustrated and fuming? Close up the gaps in the wall around your life, your marriage, your family, your ministry. Because right now he's doing all he can to get inside through those gaps and destroy everything that matters. You can't neglect the gaps any longer - there's too much at stake. The gap through which Satan is getting in may be one of your important relationships that you've been neglecting - and ugly stuff, you know, grows in a garden that's neglected. Or maybe it's a strained relationship that is allowing your enemy to sow resentment and anger. The hard feelings you've allowed to grow inside you are a gaping hole for Satan to exploit. Or it could be a compromise you've allowed - in your integrity, in your sexual standards, in what you watch or listen to for entertainment. Maybe the gap is a past sin you have not dealt with, or lustful thoughts. Or just allowing yourself to consider quitting - on our marriage, on a commitment, on a ministry God has called you to.
Wherever the gaps are, you can be sure your enemy has identified where you're vulnerable, and he's planning to use those gaps to get into the core of your life. When there's a gap in the fence, a gap in the wall, it can only put you in harm's way - actually in hell's way. Don't wait another day to start closing the gaps. You've got too much to lose.