God Sought For A Man
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.
What does it mean to stand in the gap? The best way to answer
this question is through the Biblical analogy of a wall of
protection around a city. If the city wall is broken in a certain
place, there is now a gap in the wall. And this gap is not good.
Inside the city are the people of God. Outside are their enemies
plotting to destroy them. As a good shepherd fights to protect his
sheep, a godly man must stand in the gap to watch and pray for the
people in the city. He will stand in the gap till the wall is
rebuilt, and the gap is properly and fully sealed.
But sometimes the spiritual conditions of the leaders in the city
have deteriorated and become degrading. They don't care enough to protect
God's people from being destroyed. They do not work rigorously in
rebuilding the wall. And worst still, they do not vigilantly position
watchmen to stand in the gap, guarding against invaders and
intruders. Unguarded, the gap in the city wall is now a place of great danger.
As a matter of fact, any gap in the city wall is disturbing news
to the people living inside. To calm these fearful people, their
leaders will try to hide the truth. They will say, "Don't worry!
There is no danger. We are at peace!"
Ezekiel 13:10-14 (NLT)
This will happen because these evil prophets
deceive My people by saying,
‘All is peaceful’ when there is no peace at all!
It’s as if the people have built a flimsy wall,
and these prophets are trying to reinforce it by covering it with
Tell these whitewashers that their wall will soon fall down.
A heavy rainstorm will undermine it;
great hailstones and mighty winds will knock it down.
And when the wall falls, the people will cry out,
‘What happened to your whitewash?’
Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
I will sweep away your whitewashed wall with a storm of indignation,
with a great flood of anger, and with hailstones of fury.
I will break down your wall right to its foundation,
and when it falls, it will crush you.
Then you will know that I am the Lord.
The whitewash simply hides the gaps, and briefly touches up the
flaws in the wall. The cover-up is flimsy and lousy. Hiding the gaps
and covering them with whitewash may look good on the surface but it
is utterly foolish and irresponsible! People may not notice these
covered gaps, and may presume that everything is alright. They may
feel safe, secure and confident. However this terrible weakness of
the gap exposes God's people to many unforeseen dangers. They become
vulnerable to the attacks of their adversaries! Because of this gap,
the city is often invaded and easily destroyed by the enemies!
That’s why standing in the gap is of utmost importance to God!
Let’s take a closer look at Ezekiel 22:23-31.
God sent Ezekiel to deliver a serious message and warning to the
people of Israel.
“Son of man, give the people of Israel this
In the day of My indignation,
you will be like a polluted land, a land without rain.
Your princes plot conspiracies just as lions stalk their prey.
They devour innocent people, seizing treasures and extorting wealth.
They make many widows in the land.
Your priests have violated My instructions and defiled My holy
They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not.
And they do not teach My people the difference
between what is ceremonially clean and unclean.
They disregard My Sabbath days so that I am dishonored among them.
Your leaders are like wolves who tear apart their victims.
They actually destroy people’s lives for money!
And your prophets cover up for them
by announcing false visions and making lying predictions.
They say, ‘My message is from the Sovereign Lord,’
when the Lord hasn’t spoken a single word to them.
Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy,
and deprive foreigners of justice.
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.
So now I will pour out My fury on them,
consuming them with the fire of My anger.
I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins.
I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”
The people of God will be like a polluted land, a land without
rain. They become polluted because they have corrupted their way of
living, and have compromised their walk with God. No more rain means
no more blessings from above. Once blessed but now no longer
blessed. Why? Because the leaders are scheming and plotting evil
plans. They are like lions stalking their prey. They devour innocent
people, seizing treasures and extorting wealth. As a result, many
men died, leaving behind many widows in the land.
The priests have also violated the instructions of the Lord and
defiled His holy things. They make no distinction between what is
holy and what is not. And they do not teach the people of God the
difference between what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They
disregard His holy Sabbath days so that the Lord is dishonored among
them. People no longer have any reverence and holy fear for God!
The leaders are like wolves tearing apart their victims. They
actually destroy people’s lives for the love of money! And worst
still, the prophets cover up for them. They did so by announcing
false visions and making lying predictions. They say, ‘My message is
from the Sovereign Lord,’ when the Lord hasn’t spoken a single word
Because of what the leaders, priests and prophets have done, the
common people join in to oppress the poor, rob the needy, and
deprive foreigners of justice. From the top down, all the people are
sinning against the Lord by disobeying His laws and commandments. As
they do so, they become lawless, falling out of grace. They bring
disgrace to the name of the Lord! And they dishonour Him!
God looks down and witnesses all these evil things in the city. Herein
is a big gap of weakness and impending disaster. Someone must stand in the gap to watch
and pray, interceding and pleading for God’s mercy and grace, and
for His divine intervention. God Himself says, “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.” Therefore, God will
pour out His fury on them, consuming them with the fire of His
anger. He will ensure that they pay the full penalty for all their
The fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the First Temple on
the Ninth of Av (Tisha B'Av) was recorded in 2 Chronicles
Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he
and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years.
He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God,
and he refused to humble himself
when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to him directly from the Lord.
He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar,
even though he had taken an oath of loyalty in God’s name.
Zedekiah was a hard and stubborn man,
refusing to turn to the Lord, the God of Israel.
Likewise, all the leaders of the priests and the people
became more and more unfaithful.
They followed all the pagan practices of the surrounding nations,
desecrating the Temple of the Lord
that had been consecrated in Jerusalem.
The Lord, the God of their ancestors,
repeatedly sent His prophets to warn them,
for He had compassion on His people and His Temple.
But the people mocked these messengers of God
and despised their words.
They scoffed at the prophets
until the Lord’s anger could no longer be restrained
and nothing could be done.
So the Lord brought the king of Babylon against them.
The Babylonians killed Judah’s young men,
even chasing after them into the Temple.
They had no pity on the people,
killing both young men and young women,
the old and the infirm.
God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar.
The king took home to Babylon all the articles,
large and small, used in the Temple of God,
and the treasures from both the Lord’s Temple
and from the palace of the king and his officials.
Then his army burned the Temple of God,
tore down the walls of Jerusalem,
burned all the palaces,
and completely destroyed everything of value.
The few who survived were taken as exiles to Babylon,
and they became servants to the king
and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power.
So the message of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled.
The land finally enjoyed its Sabbath rest,
lying desolate until the seventy years were fulfilled,
just as the prophet had said.
Because of their presumptuous sins, the leaders, priests,
prophets and people became hard and stubborn, refusing to return to
God. They thought that
everything was alright when it was not. All the leaders of the
priests and the people became more and more unfaithful. They
followed all the pagan practices of the surrounding nations, mixing
the holy things of God with the unholy things of the idols,
desecrating the Temple of the Lord that had been consecrated in
As we see the dreadful outcome for the people who blindly
followed their leaders, we must not follow their wicked footsteps.
They continued to live in their sins, refusing to humble themselves
and seek God, and turn from their evil ways! Herein is a
warning that we cannot ignore. We must discontinue doing things
that are not pleasing to God!
The Lord in His great mercy and love repeatedly sent His prophets
to warn them, for He had compassion on His people and His Temple.
But the people continually mocked these messengers of God and
despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord’s
anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done. So
the Lord brought the king of Babylon against them. It was the Lord
who brought the Babylonians against the Israelites. He was the One
who handed His people over to their enemies and destroyed the First
Temple! What good was the Holy Temple when all the priests, prophets
and people no longer worshipped God with all their heart, soul, mind
strength? They had gone astray to worship other gods and idols. And
the glory of the Lord had departed from the Temple.
The people of God were called by His name. The shocking and
saddening truth was that they did not humble themselves and pray and
seek His face and turn from their wicked ways. Nobody was standing
in the gap. How then, could God hear from heaven, forgive their sins
and restore their land?
God is love and He is also just. Very often God delays judgment
for very long periods of time. As nothing seems to be happening,
some people become presumptuous, thinking that it will never
happen. But when God does judge sin, He is both relentless and
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise,
as some count slackness,
but is longsuffering toward us,
not willing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance.
Thanks be to God that His judgment is often accompanied by His
mercy and compassion.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear
The yoke in his youth.
Therefore, we will hope in the Lord. He is good to those who
depend on Him, and to those who seek Him. So it is good to
wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. And it is good for people
to submit to God, trusting and obeying Him at an early age, and
bearing His yoke of discipline and training.
Regarding judgment, God can make three choices:
- He can let rebellion go on forever and never judge it.
As such, all the terrible and ungodly things, distressing
injustices and wickedness that are happening on earth now will
continue to abound and go on without end. God does not want that,
and neither does mankind.
- God can enforce men to obey Him and control them as
robots. But He is sovereign and will never do that. Love cannot
be forced. If He forces men to repent and do His will
rigidly, they cannot truly love Him.
- He can withdraw Himself from those who refuse His
love. He can let them have their own way for a season of time.
As God is light, without Him, there will only be gross darkness.
Without God, the ungodly will experience terrible torments of
godlessness and wickedness. This is the only wise way to bring them back again
to the journey of godliness.
Remember the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. The
father allowed his wayward son to go off from his presence and
household. The younger son got together all he had, and set off far, far
away from his father. And there he squandered all his wealth in wild
living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in
that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he began to
search for a job, and was hired to feed pigs. However, he remained
hungry. He even longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the
pigs were eating. But no one gave him anything. He then
finally came to his senses. Yes, finally, he remembered his father. He
finally acknowledged that he was wrong. He then decided to quit his
folly, wise up and go back to his father and say to him: “Father, I
have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to
be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.” The
father loved him back unconditionally. Similarly, the divine love of God never
What is the breaking point of our wilful sinning against God? God
may allow us to go on sinning but there will come a point in time
when we are in total desperation. Game over, and it's time to quit! It is
there and then we begin to
realize and acknowledge our wrongdoings and sins. It is here we must
make the decision to take the journey home. Yes, return back to God,
seek His face, and turn away from our wicked ways!
There are many prodigal sons in the household of God today. Many
of us are like the elder son. We continue to do our own things. Most
Christians have a lot of things to do daily. But we are like
fat hamsters in their cages running and keeping the wheels
rotating. Always busy doing something but actually going nowhere.
is so difficult to be still and wait on the Lord, to commune with
Him and to hear His voice. Very few people are spending quality time
with God. Almost none are standing in the gap for our younger
brothers who are lost. Very few Christians pray for their families,
their churches, their communities and their nations. This God-given
responsibility is often neglected. And standing in the gap is given
very low priority! This is a shocking discovery but it is true in
the churches across the globe.
To understand what this means to stand in the gap, let’s look at
the great example of Abraham (Genesis 18:16-32). Abraham interceded
with God for the wicked city of Sodom. He was the most persistent
intercessor recorded in the Scriptures. He kept on pleading with
God, bargaining down so that God would not destroy the people.
Abraham’s relationship with God was true friendship. He was able to
commune freely and directly with God. Face to face! God did not hide
anything from Abraham what He was about to do. However
Sodom was eventually destroyed. It was not because God refused to
answer Abraham’s prayer and hear his intercession, but because Sodom
could not produce even the minimal evidence of righteousness and
repentance. Abraham dared not ask God to spare Sodom for fewer
than ten righteous persons.
As history revealed, the Lord searched His own people for even
one righteous person and could not find one. The prophet Jeremiah
declared that God would spare Jerusalem for the sake of one! Yet
not a single righteous person could be found. In Jeremiah
5:1-3, God exposed the sins of Judah and revealed this
“Run up and down every street in Jerusalem,”
says the Lord.
“Look high and low; search throughout the city!
If you can find even one just and honest person,
I will not destroy the city.
But even when they are under oath, saying,
‘As surely as the Lord lives,’
they are still telling lies!”
Lord, You are searching for honesty.
You struck your people, but they paid no attention.
You crushed them, but they refused to be corrected.
They are determined, with faces set like stone;
they have refused to repent.
Yes, only one righteous man is enough for God. The effective, fervent
prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16).
Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for
but Christ’s one act of righteousness
brings a right
relationship with God
and new life for everyone.
Because one person
many became sinners.
But because one other person
many will be made righteous.
God needs only one righteous man! Who prepared the way of the
Lord in His First Coming? John the Baptist. But who were the parents
of John the Baptist?
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea,
certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah.
was of the daughters of Aaron,
and her name was Elizabeth.
were both righteous before God,
walking in all the commandments
ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Both Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous and blameless in
God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and
Yes, God is still seeking for one righteous man. He is seeking
man to stand in the gap for the sake of the land, so that He doesn't
have to destroy it.
Standing in the gap means doing three things:
- Watching out for
the enemies of God coming to destroy His people
- Warning God's
people to humble themselves and repent of their sins
- Waiting on the
Lord, pleading for His mercy and grace on behalf of His people
The whole world is in this current state of turmoil, crisis and
chaos today because the Church
is not doing what God desires us to do. Jesus Christ has commissioned us to
do an awesome job. But the Great
Commission is not yet fulfilled because we have committed the Great
Omission. We forget to stand in the gap for the nations. How to do
His will without communing with Him daily?
The big question is still this: Are we done with all the follies of our
sins? It's now game over, and it's now time to take our position and stand in the gap.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If My people who are called by My name
and pray and seek My face,
and turn from their
then I will hear from heaven,
and will forgive their
sin and heal their land.
Jesus is coming again. Another "John the Baptist" is needed to
prepare the way of the Lord. God is still seeking for godly men and
women to stand in the gap. They will be blameless and righteous in
the sight of God, like Zacharias and Elizabeth. They will give birth
and bring forth "John the Baptist."
Will we be the ones God sought for?
Written on 2 August 2012