August 29, 2021
"I sought for a man among them who could build a barricade or stand in the gap to oppose Me on behalf of the land, so that I would not destroy it, but I found no one."
“‘I sought for a man among them who could build a barricade or stand in the gap to oppose Me on behalf of the land, so that I would not destroy it, but I found no one. Therefore, I am pouring out My fury on them, consuming them with the fire of My rage, bringing their own ways on their own heads,’ says the Lord, God.” Ezekiel 22:30-31
When I read Ezekiel, my heart breaks for the United States because I know what is in store if she does not repent. My heart also breaks for Israel because I read what happened to her when she did not repent. And when I read the Revelation, my heart breaks for those who refuse the gospel and remain in the World; I know what is in store for them because they will refuse to repent.
The 16th-century Scottish protestant preacher, John Knox, was known for advocating violent response to Catholic atrocities of his day. He was eventually imprisoned, yet, in the final two days of his life, Knox informed his friends that he had spent the last two days “battling on behalf of the Church.” He ended his days doing the work of an intercessor. Intercessory prayer has been practiced by all the best of God’s leaders.
Think of Abraham, the “father of the faithful,” praying for his son Ishmael: “If only Ishmael might live under Your blessing!” (Genesis 17:18) Abraham also pleaded for Sodom. (Genesis 18:16-33) Think of the many times Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before the Lord, standing between God & Israel. Think, too, about Paul, pleading for Messiah followers, that they might be strengthened with power. (Ephesians 3:14-19)
In Ezekiel’s day, no intercessors could be found for Jerusalem. That was a shame because God indicates (in today’s passage) that Jerusalem’s ultimate fall came expressly because no intercessor was prepared to stand between the city’s sin and God’s wrath.
Take a moment and ask yourself an honest question: In light of our present cultural tensions, have you focused your prayers more on your personal escape than on God’s relenting from judging our nation as a whole? Have you sought how He might use you to stand in the gap for others? The reason I ask is that we must have intercessors’ hearts. Prayer works! And there have been times when the entire course of history has been changed by the prayers of God’s intercessors…or the lack thereof.
Some believers hold that God is unmovable, and our worship/prayer does not sway His plans in any way. It is, to them, as if God set history into motion, wound-up a clock at the beginning of time, and He is patiently waiting for the buzzer to go off, signaling time’s end. I am sad for those people because nothing could be farther from the truth. Don’t take my word for it; take God’s! He searched for an intercessor for Jerusalem (as there had been in days past) but to no avail.
Let’s take today’s chapter as a challenge to recommit ourselves to the Lord, seek Him with all that is within us and pray on behalf of those who are yet to believe! Perhaps, God will respond, as in the days of Judah’s King Josiah. (2 Chronicles 34:26-28)