Discover His heart: He’s looking for someone to stand in the gap
The first time I visited London I was amused by the terminology the Brits used in the Underground train system. Warning passengers to watch out for the space between the platform and the train, it was announced as well as printed on the platform, “Mind the Gap.” My mind immediately looked for a Gap Store, but perhaps that’s just me. However, I appreciated their warning because missing that step could have been a very painful learning experience, maybe more painful than reading Ezekiel 19-24. God’s message to Israel regarding the gap takes this warning to another level.
Ezekiel’s ministry of unheeded warnings to the captive Judeans in Babylon was coming to a close. God had spoken to His people through many prophets only to be ignored and scorned, so when a group of leaders came to Ezekiel asking for a word of encouragement from the Lord, His response was not good. “Some of the leaders of Israel came to request a message from the Lord. They sat down in front of me to wait for His reply. Then this message came to me from the Lord: ‘Son of man, tell the leaders of Israel, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: How dare you come to ask me for a message? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I will tell you nothing!”‘” (20:1-3)
At one time or another, we all have gone to someone with a question or piece of news and had the person jump down our throat, metaphorically of course, with an unexpected and unhappy response. Sometimes we are so caught up in our own self-serving life that we are absolutely clueless how much we have offended someone. Israel was about to find out how much they had offended their God.
God’s message over the next couple of chapters was scathing at best, and Jerusalem and its inhabitants were reminded of their rebellious history, even as far back as their trip out of Egypt where God held back His hand of judgment. In the message, Jerusalem was called a City of Murderers, the people compared to worthless slag from melted silver and the nations of to Judah and Israel were compared to vile prostitutes. Only a handful of kings and prophets throughout their history attempted to turn these nations back to God, and all the rest were found guilty – guilty prophets, guilty priests, guilty princes and guilty people. Whew! I can feel the heat.
However, even in this dissertation of judgment, God could not hide His true heart, “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.” (22:30) But I found no one. How His people had broken His heart! How He longed to restore, renew and revive. God offered mercy and grace, but no one wanted them. Ezekiel and others tried to stop the hand of God as Moses had done in the wilderness, but they were without a defense because of the utter wickedness of His people. No one could speak for them.
God is not looking for cautious gap minders or fence sitters today. He’s looking for gap standers, those who will rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards our lands. He is looking for gap standers who will build a defense in the courtroom of judgment by seeking out and presenting to Him a people who will love and serve God.
Moving Forward: Challenged by God’s heart today, I will join with so many others around the world to stand for righteousness and to seek out those who will love and serve Him. See you at The Gap!
Tomorrow @ Luke 17-18