Summary: God is moving upon the hearts of men all across America. Happy Father’s Day dads!
“Rise Up O’ Men of God!”
God has placed within the heart, hands, and soul of men incredible power to heal or hurt, build up or tear down, comfort or crush, and serve or enslave. Throughout history we can see glaring examples of both extremes. When men decide to do something…something happens.
In Ezekiel’s day society was facing a crisis and the Lord looked for a man to stand in the gap and make a difference, but none was found. Turn to Ezekiel 22:24 and let’s begin reading there.
23Again the word of the LORD came to me: 24“Son of man, say to the land, ‘You are a land that has had no rain or showers in the day of wrath.’ 25There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her. 26Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. 28Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says’—when the LORD has not spoken. 29The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice. 30“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. (Ezekiel 22:24-30 NIV)
About one hundred years after Ezekiel spoke these disturbing words from God, the protective wall surrounding Jerusalem from her enemies was down. The wall had been down for almost an entire century since the exiles had returned. Because of the breach in the wall the enemy came and went at will. As a result the people suffered greatly. The city suffered constantly. The glory of the Lord became clouded by the tragedies, turmoil, and seeming triumph of the enemy. Then one day, one man heard the call of God. One man was burdened by the Lord. One man took action. His name was Nehemiah. Because Nehemiah heard the call of God and was willing to step into the troubled city and rally the people -- the city and its inhabitants were blessed! The wall that had been down for almost 100 years was rebuilt in 52 days!
The walls are down in America today. The enemy has made his way through the gap in the wall. While the enemy has been marching through the gap in the wall and taking prisoner millions of men, women, and children – we men have been resting smugly in the barracks, we’ve been nestled in our noxious, nebulous, castles of comfort and confidence, and we’ve been busied with busyness. It is time to rise up o’ men of God! Rise from our sleep, from our slumber, and allow God to use us to turn the hearts of this nation back to God!
“Men.” The simple utterance of the phrase use to bring to mind images of strength, courage, integrity, valor, character, and commitment. The models that were held before us in the media while I was a child were towering figures like John Wayne, Moses in the Ten Commandments, Martin Luther King Jr., Sir Lancelot, and Indiana Jones. My how times have changed! Today, we see weak, feeble, paltry, pathetic images of men paraded on the pages of magazines and on television. There’s Hank Hill the star of “King of the Hill” and everyone laughs at Ozzy Osbourne as the new media dad. These are not the men I know. The men I know, many of you men here at Britton Christian Church are men of substance, men of faith, men who desire to make a difference!
We hear slogans suggesting that men are pigs and slobs shouted at radical feminist’s gatherings across the land. Men have become the butt of jokes instead of portrayed as being leaders of our people. Rather than being strong towers of strength, protection, and security men are being made fun of in unprecedented proportions. These are not the men that I know. The men I know are men who, like the men of Issachar in 1 Chronicles 12:32, “understand the times” and are willing to live their lives for the glory of God!
I do need to say that to some degree much of the degrading dialogue that has gone on in the public square concerning men has been earned. We men have committed far too much of our time and energy to turning TV. channels rather than hearts. We have gotten excited about temporal, transient things like sports, cars, and climbing the ladder of success instead of passionately pursuing the things that will last long after we are gone. We have invested our efforts in being leaders in the work place while neglecting our homes, churches, and communities. All of this has been true, but in the words of that great American theologian of the 60’s, Bob Dylan, “The times they are a changing.”