Jesus took the 10 Commandments and combined them into 2 “great” ones. The first is to love God with all your heart and mind and strength. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. If you obey the first, you don’t worship, venerate or pray to anyone but Jesus. Doing so is idolatry, which God judged Israel and Jerusalem already in last few chapters. Now, He judges Israel and Jerusalem for crimes against people — murder, adultery, extortion, etc. Which, if you truly love your neighbor as yourself, you wouldn’t do such things. At the end, God is seeking someone righteous enough to stand in the gap between the city and Him. As we’ll see, He found no one then. Who will stand in the gap today? Let’s dig in…
Ezekiel 22 – the Sins of Jerusalem
Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Now, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Yes, show her all her abominations! 3 Then say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “The city sheds blood in her own midst, that her time may come; and she makes idols within herself to defile herself. 4 You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed, and have defiled yourself with the idols which you have made. You have caused your days to draw near, and have come to the end of your years; therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all countries. 5 Those near and those far from you will mock you as infamous and full of tumult.
6 “Look, the princes of Israel: each one has used his power to shed blood in you. 7 In you they have made light of father and mother; in your midst they have oppressed the stranger; in you they have mistreated the fatherless and the widow. 8 You have despised My holy things and profaned My Sabbaths. 9 In you are men who slander to cause bloodshed; in you are those who eat on the mountains; in your midst they commit lewdness. 10 In you men uncover their fathers’ nakedness; in you they violate women who are set apart during their impurity. 11 One commits abomination with his neighbor’s wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; and another in you violates his sister, his father’s daughter. 12 In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take usury and increase; you have made profit from your neighbors by extortion, and have forgotten Me,” says the Lord God.
13 “Behold, therefore, I beat My fists at the dishonest profit which you have made, and at the bloodshed which has been in your midst. 14 Can your heart endure, or can your hands remain strong, in the days when I shall deal with you? I, the Lord, have spoken, and will do it. 15 I will scatter you among the nations, disperse you throughout the countries, and remove your filthiness completely from you. 16 You shall defile yourself in the sight of the nations; then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ”
Israel in the Furnace
17 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 18 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to Me; they are all bronze, tin, iron, and lead, in the midst of a furnace; they have become dross from silver. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have all become dross, therefore behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20 As men gather silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin into the midst of a furnace, to blow fire on it, to melt it; so I will gather you in My anger and in My fury, and I will leave you there and melt you. 21 Yes, I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and you shall be melted in its midst. 22 As silver is melted in the midst of a furnace, so shall you be melted in its midst; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have poured out My fury on you.’ ”
Israel’s Wicked Leaders
23 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 24 “Son of man, say to her: ‘You are a land that is not cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation.’ 25 The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. 26 Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27 Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. 28 Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken. 29 The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. 30 So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. 31 Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.Ezekiel 22 NKJV
Standing in the Gap
I’ve lived in several major cities, New York, San Juan, Miami and now I’m in Phoenix. When you turn on the local news, the headlines read of murders, corruption, and all sorts of crimes. The sins of “bloody city” Jerusalem can be found just about everywhere today. However, our major cities seem to be as Pastor Sandy Adams puts it, “…the hothouses of immorality and blasphemy.”
Paul described exactly what the world looks like today…
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!2 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT
The Gap Grows Wider
- Here we have an all-inclusive breaking of God’s laws. Not just idolatry, but the disobeying of the commandments of moral behavior to one another.
- I believe the idolatry led to more sins. The further the people wandered away from their Creator and drifted to the fake, pagan gods, the deeper into sin they fell.
- The same thing happens today. The further a church/preacher/pastor/priest drifts from the true Word of God — the Gospel — the worse the sinning gets.
- God relates the people to dross — which is the useless metals that is left behind when silver is refined by fire. Something regarded as worthless.
No wonder Jesus wept as He regarded Jerusalem…
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. 35 And now, look, your house is abandoned. And you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (“Baruch Haba Bashem Adonai.”)Matthew 23:37-39 NLT
The Second Coming!
Jesus is Coming Soon!
Soon. We just don’t know how soon. However, each day, the birth pains are getting stronger and more frequent.
In this chapter, God was seeking someone to stand in the gap. The Gap was the space between the people and God. In those days it was a priest or a prophet. He needed to be a man of integrity, who lived righteously. Jeremiah was in prison and Daniel and Ezekiel were in Babylon. God could not find even ONE righteous person. That is the saddest statement, “but I found no one.”
What about You?!
Pastor Sandy Adams explains…
Ultimately, only one man can fill the gap between God and mankind – and that’s the man, Christ Jesus. He is the bridge between a holy God and sinful men. In an atoning sense, Jesus is the man God found. But in a diplomatic sense, we’re all called to be that man. Paul calls us “ambassadors for Christ.” In a world where folks have lost sight of God, we can point them to Him. You and I can fill the gap. We can represent God to man, and intercede for man before God.
Moses was a man who stood in the gap. He loved God and loved people. He never turned His back on God, but never forgot Israel. He was loyal to both. Moses lived in the gap. He declared God’s will to Israel, and he pleaded for Israel with God. He lived with one foot on earth and another foot in heaven. And Moses is an example of how it only takes one.
God is looking for “a man” – not necessarily men. God never begins with a committee or a board. He starts with one person, who’ll dare to make a difference. Perhaps, in your family, your work, your community, your friends… you can be the one to stand in the gap!Sandy Adams
Until Jesus comes back, it’s up to us born-again Christians — true followers of Christ — to stand in the gap.
Daily, I listen to a podcast from the American Pastors Network called appropriately, “Stand in the Gap”. I high recommend it. It’s not just for pastors, but for committed Christians who want to be true “Ambassadors of Christ” while still on this earth. They discuss today’s culture and how Christians should live and act in it as followers of Christ. A similar podcast I like is Stand Up For the Truth with David Fiorazo.
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…