Summary: Our God is all powerful and can do anything but He chooses to work through men. Every protective barrier has failed; Kings, prophets, priest, governors, pastors and judges are fearfull, yet God is searching for an intercesor to stand in the gap and make up the hedge.
The name Ezekiel means God strengthens or God empowers. This young prophet of God had experienced some difficult times. He along with Daniel, the Hebrews boys and many others had been carried captive into Babylon. They lost their identity, their heritage and their dignity. It is one thing to be in captivity, but they remained in bondage so long, their bondage became their lifestyle. The captivity in Babylon almost caused them to forget who they were and to who they belonged. In this hopeless situation, the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel in visions and revelations that were designed to call the nation back to God and give them hope for the future.
Ezekiel was called to prophesy to the exiles in Babylon. He had to dispel the false notion that their stay in Babylon would be a short one. Ezekiel also identified gross sin as the culprit for their present condition. Sin is the reason for their severe punishment. God will always judge sin. Ezekiel also shared a message of hope for the future. Although Israel had been unfaithful to God, God remained faithful to his covenant people. They still had a glorious future waiting them.
Ezekiel was God’s watchman on the wall. God allow Ezekiel to observe the nation and make an assessment. His observation revealed some serious problems in the nation. The nation had devalued human life, murder and manslaughter were running rampant. There was wide spread rebellion against authority. There was a general disrespected parenthood. Oppression and exploitation of the poor, needy and the strangers was common place. They dishonor God, his ordinances, his word and his holy things. All manner of sex sins: adultery, incest, fornication and the like was rampant throughout the people of God.
Ezekiel 22:18, 19 "Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem."
The whole nation had become as gross of silver, a residue of what they were should have been. They had become almost worthless, something to be discarded. Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” The sin was now a national problem. The prince and the priest were involved. The prophets, tribal leaders, the elders and the common folk were all involved. Oppression and injustice was the order of the day. At a time when life had been turned upside down, God sought for a man.
Largely the Jewish society had given themselves over to idolatry, injustice, uncleanness, and abominations of every kind; and had profaned in the most shocking manner their religion and their service to God. The corruption spread among persons in the community: the prophet seduced the people; the priests broke the law, and profaned the holy things; the magistrates were addicted to injustice, dishonest gain, fraud, and violence. Not only was sin pulling the nation towards destruction, it had deprived them of God’s Divine protection, and was forcing God to send His judgments against them. These sins God hated and determined to judge. Yet in the midst of this sinful nation, God sought to be gracious, so He looked for a survivor who was still standing.
1.To Stand Between Sinful men and a Holy God - Ezekiel 22:30 "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none."
A defensive stand! When the problems were at their worst and new challenges coming daily, God said, "I sought for a man among them that can find grace in my sight." As pitiful as the nation appeared to be, you would probably think that there was no one among them that God could use. Notice, God did not go search for an outsider, God sought for a man among them! Our God is all powerful and can do anything but He chooses to work through men. Every protective barrier has failed; Kings, prophets, priest, governors, pastors and judges. God is searching for a Noah that found grace before the flood, Abraham who pleaded for Sodom and Gomorrah, or Moses who intercedes for Israel in the wilderness that God would withhold his judgment and have mercy on his people.
The Hebrew word for man is essh or ish, which means to be extant, still existing. It is closely related to the word champion or survivor meaning to continue to live or exist in spite of. You might say, "And I sought for a survivor among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none."