NLT - 30 “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.
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Using scripture to interpret scripture, let us back up in Ezekiel 22 to the word of the Lord in verses 19 - 22: " ‘Because all of you have become dross, therefore, behold, I am going to gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20 ‘As they gather silver and bronze and iron and lead and tin into the furnace to blow fire on it in order to melt it, so I will gather you in My anger and in My wrath and I will lay you there and melt you. 21 ‘I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and you will be melted in the midst of it. 22 ‘As silver is melted in the furnace, so you will be melted in the midst of it; and you will know that I, the LORD, have poured out My wrath on you.’" Since Ezekiel was written before and shortly after Israel was taken to Babylon, this is a prophecy that God is going to send his wrath on Jerusalem as a test or, as it were in metaphor, God is going to smelt Jerusalem to "melt" the Israelites and separate the value from the dross. Of course, when He did so none were found to be metal and they were all skimmed away as dross to Babylon. In direct reference, then, God was asking for someone to stand up in those years between Ezekiel's initial prophecies (he started in 592 B.C.) and the conquering of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar (in 586 B.C.). Although "stand in the gap" is usually thought of, in Biblical history, with reference to Nehemiah's rebuilding of the wall, I personally doubt that this was, other than alllegorically, a reference to the rebuilding effort. I base that conclusion on the rest of Ezekiel 22, a scathing description of Israel of the day: Idolatry; defilement; bloodshed; a reproach and a mocking by other lands; ill repute; turmoil; rulers for the purpose of shedding blood; oppression of aliens, fatherless and widows; mistreatment of parents; despising and profaning God, his symbols, his sabbaths; slander; lewdness to and well into abominations of depraved sexuality; bribery; ill-gained financial profit; injury of neighbors for gain by oppression; and, finally, just plain forgetting the Lord. When I realize that God's response was to, pretty much, wipe out Jerusalem and leave only a few, poor, caretakers, force everyone else to a new land, a new culture, a new religion and a life continuing such depravation and abomination as the standard, what do I fear? I fear the same thing happening to us in the USA today. It's not really to hard, be you Democan or Republicrat, to see all of these things going on. Stand in the gap. Prayer is, of course, the first step in any process, as is mentioned wholeheartedly in 2 Chronicles 7:14. True Christian response HAS to go WELL BEYOND the beginnings found in prayer. To serve the Lord as he requests is the greatest honor we have. It is given in Colossians 3. Read the whole chapter, for that matter the whole BOOK of Colossians, but remember these important directions (when all else fails, read the directions): Start out with that prayer and by taking care of YOURSELF: 5 PUT TO DEATH THEREFORE WHAT IS EARTHLY IN YOU: SEXUAL IMMORALITY, IMPURITY, PASSION, EVIL DESIRE, AND COVETOUSNESS, WHICH IS IDOLATRY... 8 PUT THEM ALL AWAY: ANGER, WRATH, MALICE, SLANDER, AND OBSCENE TALK FROM YOUR MOUTH. and Here it is, how to stand in the gap! compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiving as our Lord forgives, and binding with love and God's peace, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
I believe the answer is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." God's blessings reign through righteousness, not at the expense of. The key is repentance.
Intercessory prayer. Read Isaiah 59:1-4, 16. Isa. 59:1 "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness. 4 No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity. 16 He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him." What to pray for? Mercy on God's part and then on ours, and returning to holiness on our part.
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