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Monday, August 15, 2016

Standing in the Gap (Ezekiel 22:30)

 "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."

Jeremiah and Ezekiel's messages fell on deaf ears. The LORD looks for someone, anyone to heed His prophets' warnings. Scripture indicates that no one with influence took their messages seriously. Noah preached righteousness and no one besides his wife, sons and their wives took him seriously. Abraham intercedes on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah hoping that Lot would at least reach his family (10 people) then God's judgment would be averted. Sadly, Lot had no influence in the city despite the fact that he was an elder at the gates.

What does it take to become a person who stands in the gap? A person who stands in the gap:
  • Is unafraid to speak out against sin
  • Understands the seriousness of sin and rebellion against God
  • Is willing to pay the price of persistent and prevailing prayer
  • Fears God more than he fears man
  • Counts the cost of being in the minority or even alone
  • Risks being misunderstood by others or accused of judging others
  • Understands that rewards for intercessory service always come much later
Just as the messages of Noah, Lot, Jeremiah and Ezekiel were not received by their people, so the intercessions on behalf of others aren't highly appreciated. God, however, still looks for a man or woman today who will stand in the gap.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Ezekiel 20:30-22:31
  • What prohibits the house of Israel from being able to approach God?
  • What does fire represent?
  • How do the people respond to the threat of judgment? What does this tell you about mankind?
  • What does God tell Ezekiel to do before the people and why?
  • Who does the sword represent and who is the sword directed against?
  • How does the king of Babylon decide which city to destroy (Rabbah or Jerusalem)? Read Proverbs 16:33. What does this tell you about God?
  • When does God promise restoration will come?
  • List the sins of Jerusalem in chapter 22. How does this compare with the sin of our nation and our churches today?
  • Describe Jerusalem's princes, officials, prophets, and people and their sins before the LORD.
  • Who does God look for among His people?
  • What is the overwhelming message of Ezekiel?
Turning truth into prayer
God looks for men and women to stand in the gap today as intercessors. Offer yourself to the Lord as an intercessor. God uses wicked nations as a sword against His rebellious people. Pray that our nation will turn back to God before it is too late.