Stand In The Gap

Photo by Connor Misset on Unsplash

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.

It is so easy to follow the crowd. The crowd always takes the easy way. The crowd is so tolerant of anything God is intolerant of. The crowd loves that which God forbids, and cheers on that which God despises. Our Lord Jesus, loving and kind, came to this world to save sinners. Yet all that He met was opposition. Jesus said of this world:

Matthew 11:16-19 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

What does it matter? you might ask. After all, God is love (1 John 4:8). Let’s all just dance and sing with the crowd: (The following is adapted from Greg Morse’s article, Following Christ In An Unappeasable World)

Boys can be girls, and girls can be boys;
WE are our Maker – our bodies, our toys.

It’s not a baby – don’t feel any shame,
It hasn’t a voice or a smile or a name.

It’s brave to be different; it’s okay to be you,
Boy and boy, girl and girl – it’s called marriage, too.

God is love. But God is also HOLY, righteous, and just. God is the Maker of all things, and the Determiner of right and wrong. The Bible tells us in Romans 6:23:

The wages of sin is death ..

Sin is against nature, against light, against life. If sin goes unchecked, society collapses. In the middle of our town is a terrible section called “West 7th Street”. In addition to tearing up the center of town, our leadership pathetically has decided to allow the roads there to be not just torn up, but unlined. The lines on the road are checks and balances telling us where it’s safe to drive. I have seen several near accidents on that stretch of road, because people drive any way they want to – there is no demarcation! Can you imagine driving on an interstate without lines, or through a major city without any traffic control whatsoever. It would be dangerous, chaotic.

Six hundred years before Christ became incarnate, Judea had erased the lines from the highways of life. When the lines are erased, it is not long before God must act. When God sent a worldwide flood, destroying all but 8 people, it was not on a whim. The Bible says:

Genesis 6:5-7 … And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the Lord said, I will destroy…

And yet, God did not destroy the earth by flood immediately. God is holy, but God is love. God found Noah, a man willing to “stand in the gap”. God gave humanity ample time to repent, to return to His design (for God said in Genesis 6:3 “his days shall be an hundred and twenty years”). Though God eventually – and believe reluctantly – destroyed all life but what was on the Ark,

His love looked for a Noah, but
His holiness brought a flood.

God Is Looking For A Person To Stand For Judea

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.

Word Study: God sought. This is the Hebrew בָּקַשׁbâqash, {pronounced baw-kash’}, which is in the Piel Imperfect. The Piel Imperfect tells us that God is intensively and continually looking for the gap filler.God’s search for just one was ongoing, and might I say desperate.

God sought for a person – any person – who would stand in the gap before me for the land. God was not looking for that person to stand alone. God was looking for a person who would stand … before Me, someone who would say, “Lord, I believe Your Word. Lord, I will stand with you and FOR THE LAND because I love you”. God looked all throughout Judea. The Bible says:

2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. …

Everywhere God looked, He found none.

The POLITICIANS would not stand in the gap

Ezekiel 22:6-7 Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood. 7 In thee have they set light by father and mother:

The foundation of good civilization is based on how that civilization regards “father and mother”. The fifth of the ten commandments is (Exodus 20:12) “Honor thy father and thy mother. This is the ONLY commandment that gives a reason for obeying it. God said, “that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you”. God did not tell the children to LOVE their parents, but to HONOR them. The citizens of a country are taught civility and order when they are taught as children to obey the authority of the parent. When children are taught that parents are not important – that you can have an abortion or be issued ‘the pill’ without parental approval, you move toward a totalitarian society. Dennis Prager notes:

One of the first things totalitarian movements seek to do is to break the child-parent bond. The child’s allegiance is shifted from parents to the state. Even in democratic societies the larger the state becomes, the more it usurps the parental role.”

Ezekiel 22:7 … in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.

The leaders of the country should care about how the immigrant, the orphan, and the widow are treated. The weakest of society should be cared for, not used as pawns for their ability to vote.

Ezekiel 22:8-9 Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths. 9 In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness.

The leadership of the nation should have respect for God our Creator – yet they did not. The leadership of the nation rules that nation at the will of God. Just as Saul lost his position as King for disobeying God, the Lord will overthrow those who put their hands on the Bible, taking an oath with a “so help me God”, but then fail to stand in the gap.

Ezekiel 22:10-11 In thee have they discovered their fathers’ nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution. 11 And one hath committed abomination with his neighbor’s wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father’s daughter.

The leaders of the nation should treat human sexuality the same way God treats it. When the leaders of the nation endorse sexual immorality, it damages the soul of the nation.

Ezekiel 22:12 In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord God.

The politicians of Judea were motivated not by justice, but bribery and collusion. The nation was falling apart because the leadership was not honoring the ways of God. There was no one to stand in the gap!

would not stand in the gap

Ezekiel 22:25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.

The Prophets (Preachers) of Judea ceased communing with what God said, but instead made a conspiracy. This is the Hebrew קֶשֶׁר qesher, {pronounced keh’-sher}, which means “to join together in order to commit treason, to make an unlawful alliance”. The Preachers stopped saying “thus saith the Lord” and instead began to appease the people. This is nothing new. While Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Law, the people rebelled against God and demanded Aaron make them a god. The Bible tells us:

Exodus 32:4 … {Aaron} made it a molten calf; and they {the people} said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

When God saw what Aaron did, He told Moses:

Exodus 32:10 (ESV) … let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you”.

Praise God, though, that Moses stood in the gap before the Lord. He sought the heart of God, saying:

Exodus 32:11-14 (ESV) “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’” 14 And the Lord relented…

Oh, praise God there was a Moses to stand in the gap. But there is none in Israel as God speaks through Ezekiel. The Prophets, the Preachers commit treason against God, and band together. God said:

Ezekiel 22:28 And her prophets have daubed them with untempered mortar, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord God, when the Lord hath not spoken.

Word Study: God uses an interesting term here for what the false preachers are doing. They are building walls with untempered mortar. The word mortar was supplied by the King James translators, as it is not in the original text. The word is simply תָּפֵל tâphêl, {pronounced taw-fale}, which means “untempered, foolish, that which is subject to failure”. The preachers were not staying with God’s Word, but were building the House of Israel with that which is fallible, easy to destroy. The Psalmist famously said:

Psalm 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

The Word of God is tried and true. It is from our Maker, and it is for our best. When the Preachers conspired together to commit treason against God, they were also committing treason against Judea. God’s preachers are to:

Ephesians 4:15 be speaking the truth in love

This alone is what will bless the nation, the state, the community, and the family. But it was not just the Prophets/ Preachers that were off base, but,

The PRIESTS would not stand in the gap

Ezekiel 22:26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

The PROPHETS were to speak the Word of God, and the PRIESTS were to serve the Lord. It was God’s initial intent that ALL of Israel be priests. Yet after Israel’s failing at Mount Sinai, God made the children of Levi or the Levites to be priests. The priests ignored the commands of God. God the Son said:

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

What God has said is right, is right even if all the world disagree. Yet the priests of God backed away from the truths that God established. God said, put no difference between the holy and profane. God’s people – saved by faith in Christ – are to honor what God honors, and dishonor what God dishonors. The priests hid their eyes from my sabbaths. God established the Sabbath for mankind, for a time to remember the goodness of God, a time to praise His name. The Bible says of the believer in Christ:

Revelation 1:5-6 {Jesus Christ} that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 And hath made us kings AND PRIESTS unto God and His Father

Every believer is a priest before God, with Jesus Christ as our High Priest (Hebrews 2:17; 4:14; 5:6). The priests must say the same thing that God says. If God declares it unclean, we are to declare it unclean. But God said there were no priests who would stand with Him in the gap. The forces of darkness cannot be defeated if priests and prophets do not work together.

In Exodus 17 the children of Israel went to battle with the Amalekites at Rephidim. The Prophet Moses was told of God to “stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand” (Exodus 17:9). As Moses held up the staff, Israel prevailed. But when Moses dropped his hand, the Amalekites prevailed. The Bible says:

Exodus 17:12-13 But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.

Just as Aaron the priest {along with Hur) held up the Prophet Moses’ hands, the priests must stand in the gap, lifting up the arms of the prophets. But the priests would not stand in the gap, and judgment was coming.

The PEOPLE would not stand in the gap with God

When the politicians, the preachers and the priests refused to stand, lawlessness spread throughout the land. We have seen this in our own country as mobs took over city blocks, and destroyed public property like statues and monuments. Lawlessness and darkness always abounds in the absence of light.

Ezekiel 22:30 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.

As God looked over Judea, all He saw was lovelessness and hatred throughout the land. The people used oppression, and exercised robbery, stealing from one another. When God is ignored, or in last place, the people pursue a “me above all others” mentality. The nation suffers from this. The poor and needy are not cared for, and the stranger is oppressed.

God said, I believe with sadness:

Ezekiel 22:30-31 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. 31 Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God.

God looked and looked for but ONE person to stand in the gap for the nation, but said I found none. Had God found but ONE, the indignation of God would have been held from Judea.

God Is Looking For The One To Spare The Nation

Much of what we read in our text today could be applied to present day America. I believe that America – because of extreme political views on both sides – is not far from a horrible collapse. But God will not allow our nation to collapse IF He can find the ONE. Read again God’s Words:

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.

Word Study: God does not seek for a large number. God seeks A MAN. This is the Hebrewאִישׁ ʼîysh, {pronounced eesh}. This is the word Adam used when he first saw Eve:

Genesis 2:23 Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman {אִשָּׁה ʼishshâh, [pronounced ish-shaw’]}, because she was taken out of Man {ʼîysh}.

God is looking for ONE who will stand in fellowship with Him. ONE is a very important word in the Scripture – perhaps the most important word there is. Consider:

Romans 10:13 (ESV) … everyONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Revelation 3:20 (ESV) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyONE hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Jesus told the young man who wanted eternal life, in Mark 10:21 “ONE thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor … and come, take up the Cross, and follow Me”.

Jesus told Martha, when she complained that Mary was sitting at His feet (Luke 10:42), ONE thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

The Apostle Paul said, (Philippians 3:13) “this ONE thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

ONE man, by disobedience, brought sin and destruction into the world. ONE Jesus went to the Cross for the sins of the whole world to right Adam’s failure. God will save a nation, if but ONE will stand in the gap in fellowship with Him. Be the ONE whom God uses. Do not be like the crowd. Do not be driven by social media, by Hollyweird, by the fallen crowd. Choose to be the ONE in fellowship with Christ.

Lamentations 3:21-24 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

Stand with God. Stand with Jesus. Stand in His Word, and in His power. If you are the ONE, you may stand alone. Jesus stood alone on Calvary, but changed the world. Dr J. Mike Minnix wrote in his sermon, Standing in the Gap:

One” man named Abraham began a nation by obeying God and became the father of faith. “One man named Joseph saved the nation by turning from temptation. “One” teenager named David fought for the nation when he faced Goliath. “One” woman named Esther rescued the nation by risking her life.

It is so easy to throw up your hands, and go with the crowd. But Beloved, just as God punished Judea, I believe God will punish America if some ONE doesn’t stand. I commit my life that I will be the ONE. Will you join me? I am reminded of the little boy who had a horse for sale. A prospective buyer asked him, “Son, can that horse run fast?” The boy replied, “No sir, he can’t run fast, but he can sure stand fast”. Let us all commit to be the one, to

STAND FAST in the faith (1 Corinthians 16:13)
STAND FAST in the liberty wherewith
Christ hath made us free (Galatians 5:1)

STAND FAST in one spirit, with one mind
striving together for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27)

STAND FAST in the Lord (1 Thessalonians 3:8)

May God the Holy Spirit and His precious Word move us all to so commit. The life of our nation depends on our response. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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