“And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found not one.” Ezekiel 22:30
There stands God, about to destroy the land of Israel. He doesn’t just move out in immediate destruction. He doesn’t just casually look around to see who’s out and about. He stops and searches for a man willing to build up the wall and stand in the gap – terms totally foreign to me in this day and age.
The phrase “build up the wall” give a cross reference to Ezekiel 13:5 where God is speaking to the prophets, kings and public officials about “going up into the breaches and building the wall around the house of Israel to stand in the battle on the day of the Lord”. In those days, the inhabitants of a city would build a wall around the city (Jericho is the one we know best). The wall kept the wild animals out and allowed the people to patrol the wall and keep watch for visitors, both friendly and unfriendly. The higher the wall (and the city), the more advance warning the people got when trouble (or stormy weather) was coming.
So today in our culture, we need to build a wall to keep out our wild animals – Satan and his minions. The wall needs to be high enough to afford us the ability to see whether or not those approaching our lives are friendly or harmful, and to see the approaching storms. Makes perfect sense and sounds like something I really need, but what’s the wall made of? Bricks of God’s Word and our prayers, and if the prayers are God’s Word, they are doubly strong. The mortar would be the Holy Spirit, for we are told in the New Testament to “pray in the Spirit”. Praying as the Spirit directs and guides would make a super strong mortar. Praying like Abraham did for Sodom and Gomorrah and Moses did for the Israelites in the desert – from God’s perspective and for what would bring glory and honor to His name would also make for an impregnable wall.
If I need to build a wall of prayers and God’s Word around myself and my loved ones, the more I pray and the more Bible verses I apply to myself and my loved ones (and those I don’t love – yet), the higher my wall will be. The more heartfelt my prayers, the more I am praying in and with the Holy Spirit, the stronger and tougher the mortar will be. Short, unthinking prayers yield bricks like shale – thin and easily breakable. The gut-wrenching, on my face, pleadings yield boulders for the wall. The persistent prayer yields a section where all the bricks are the same size and shape – a sturdy wall indeed.
The phrase “standing in the gap” refers me to Moses and Samuel who prayed regularly and consistently for the people of Israel. I remember Jesus on the Mount of Olives and His prayer for His disciples (and us). All of them prayers that reminded God of the greatness of His name and how helping the people would bring glory to His name.
Standing in the gap is a very important job. Sometimes a crisis or a sin, blows a hole in the wall of protection around us or someone we know. Sometimes neglect or a persistent sin just wears a weak spot in the wall that gets bigger when the first rain comes and washes away entirely in the first storm. The owner of the wall may not even realize the danger or may be unable to take on the repairs. A crisis in a friend’s life will have them focused on a different section of their wall. That’s where we come in. Especially with our unsaved lived ones and friends – remember, before God brings judgment, He first searches, checking every nook and cranny for someone standing in the gap.
Sounds like a tremendous responsibility I have been terribly neglectful of. When God was revealing this verse to me early this morning, He brought the Lord’s Prayer to my mind:
Our Father – may Chris come to know You as his/her loving and caring Father.
Who are in heaven – may Chris believe You exist and there is a heaven and hell. May he/she recognize Your authority and sovereignty in his/her life and being willing to believe in You, trust in You, and surrender his/her life to You.
Hallowed be Your name – may Chris stop taking Your name in vain and may he/she come to know how precious Your name is and seek to bring glory and honor to Your name.
Your kingdom come – bring Your kingdom into Chris’ mind, heart and spirit. Bring Chris to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Allow me the pleasure and the privilege to be a part of his/her decision. Bring an intense desire to Chris to learn about You and Your kingdom, and to be part of Your kingdom.
Your will be done – Your will be done in every part of Chris’ life. Your will be done in Chris’ health, home, finances, work. May Chris recognize Your plan for his/her life and may he/she want Your will in his/her life.
On earth as it is in heaven – Chris could bring so much glory to You Father through his/her testimony. Please give Chris whatever he/she needs to wholeheartedly live for You and follow You. Remind Chris that the sufferings, trial, and heartaches of this life are only temporary. Remind Chris that this is not our home and keep Chris’s focus on heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread – give Chris what he/she needs for this day. Reveal Your Word to him/her. Provide for Chris’ intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual needs. May Chris learn to depend on You, recognize Your provision, and have a grateful heart.
And forgive us our sins – please forgive Chris for the sins I name here and for the sins only You know about. Bring to Chris’ mind anything and everything that is hindering his/her relationship with You. Help Chris to confess and repent. Bring Chris into a saving relationship with You. Restore Chris’ relationship with You.
As we forgive those who sin against us – help Chris to forgive those who have hurt him/her. Don’t allow any bitterness to take root in Chris’ heart. I pray especially for …
Lead us not into temptation – do not allow Chris to fall into temptation. Help Chris to stand firm. Don’t allow Chris to give in or give up. Show Chris the way of escape You have provided and make his/her heart and feet swift to follow it. Protect Chris from Satan’s flaming arrows. Strengthen Chris’ shield of faith.
But deliver us from evil – deliver Chris from evil. Protect Chris from Satan’s attacks. Fill Chris’ mind and heart with Your word so that he/she may repel Satan’s advances. Plant a hedge of protection around Chris and if that is not what Chris needs, then protect Chris and bring him/her safely through.
For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory – may Chris enter Your kingdom and be richly rewarded. May Chris recognize and seek Your power working in his/her life. May Chris bring glory to Your name.
Forever – may Chris recognize Your faithfulness and may Chris earnestly desire to spend eternity in heaven with You.
Amen – make it so Lord.