Summary: We need to learn to stand in for others. Intercession, witnessing.
Title: Standing in the Gap
Theme: To show that God is looking for people to stand in the gap for His church and his people.
Text: Ezekiel 22:23-31
What a powerful powerful verse of scripture. But also what a sad commentary of the condition of Israel. Chosen by God to be as nation that would bring in the Messiah of the world. Israel was God’s chosen people. He blessed them. He protected them. He delivered them. He gave them the most beautiful land in the world.
5 Groups of People
(1) First Group of Prophets: Leaders could be government, kings
Ex: “like roaring lions tearing their prey”
(a) devoured people
(b) taken treasure and precious things
(c) made many widows in her midst
(2) Second the Priests (religious leaders)
(a) violated My law
(b) profaned My Holy things
(c) have not distinguished between the holy and the unholy
(d) nor made a difference between the clean and unclean
(e) hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths
(f) I am profaned amoung them
(3) Third, the Princes: Government Officials
Ex: “like wolves tearing their prey”
(a) shed blood
(b) destroy people
(c) get dishonest gain
(4) Fourth, the False Prophets
Ex: “plastered them with untempered mortar”
(a) seeing false vision
(b) divining lies for them
(c) saying God has spoken when he has not
(5) Fifth, the people of the Land
(a) used oppression
(b) committed robbery
(c) mistreated the poor and needy
(d) wrongfully oppress the stranger
In return he got rejection. He got compromise. This is what we see in this verse. Israel began to sin greatly so God sent them into captivity hoping that it would lead them back to him. At first it was hard under the captivity of the Babylonians. The land was different. It was a new home and there was no freedom. It was like being in Egypt all over again. But after a while every things began to settle. The Babylonian gods became the Gods of the Israelites. There were new God’s and new pleasures.
Sometimes I wonder if the church reminds God of Israel. All gunho from the beginning but now we seem to settle in. An apathy has settled. A satisfaction has settled in. As some say the ,"Church is suppose to change the world but in the process the world has changed the church". There is compromise.
The very people that is suppose to usher in the second coming has began to question it. The validity of scripture has been challenged. Why? The world looks too good. After 2,000 yrs. the dust has settled and it may not be so bad.
But just as God was looking for a man to "stand in the gap" I wonder if he is making that same call. Who will stand in the gap. Who will build the hedge? Who will stand in the way of sinners offering salvation. Let it be today that before we leave we have it settled in our hearts what we will do.
So what does it mean? "stand in the gap"
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.
Sin creates a gap between God and man. God wants to fill the breach (gap). God is looking for someone who will wake this world up to their sin. They cannot do it they see nothing wrong. Nor can the government.
I. build a hedge means to be an intercessor
Job interceded for his children Job 1:4-5
Job is considered to be the first book written in the Bible. Job gives us a glimpse of what life was like in the life of ordinary people before Abraham. People still worshiped God and offered up sacrifices to him.
Here we see the Godly relationship that Job had. He knew that his children were out. He didn’t know
Abraham knew the sin of this nation. Abraham knew the wickedness and how they did everything that was of their imagination. He also knew that Lot had gone to stay in the city. He knew that if it was destroyed then Lot would be gone also. So he began to intercede. He began to plead his cause with the Lord. He began with 50. If only 50 righteous people were found then would God destroy this city. He wound up with ten. Surly there were ten people in Sodom who were righteous. Lot and Sarah that should make two, then Lot’s two daughters and their husbands. Surly four other people would be righteousness.
Abraham intercede for this city. Yes judgement still came. But Abraham did all he could do and with that his nephew and Lots two daughters escaped. God blessed him because he intercede.