Ezekiel is a pretty crazy book of the Bible y'all. I am pretty sure I have never sat down and read through Ezekiel until this month. Just a little back story...I have committed to "study" through the Bible, and it's taken me a while, it's been 2 years and I am only on Ezekiel, but did you know that's 1/2 way through the Bible. (Yeah!!) I have my whole life to get to the end, and I like to savor scripture... I am not a quick reader, and when I study something it takes time for me to mull it over. At the ripe old age of 30 I have accepted this fact and if others read through the Bible in a year... yeah for them... my poor little mommy-of-three-brain just can't take in that much.
Did you know that Jewish tradition would not allow a person to read Ezekiel until they were 30 years of age? Me neither. (At least that's what my Matthew Henry Commentary told me.) It's probably because the first half of the book is a mash-up of Revelation and "Its a Wonderful Life". Visions of God, his throne, his four-headed-six-winged-creature-beings (plus) God picking up Ezekiel by the HAIR, flying him through the air and showing him the inner sins of the priests, elders and people of Jerusalem... Read it, then tell me if you don't think I am a genius. Revelation/Its a Wonderful Life mash-up...you're welcome.
Have I lost you? I have to admit my mind is a little scattered this morning, but I just have to tell you what I have learned this week in Ezekiel. I just have to.
So... God basically is allowing Judah to be taken captive because of rampant idolatry. He has chosen Ezekiel to be the prophet to captive Israel.
In chapter 22:30 God says...
30 “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land [Israel] so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. (so... he destroyed them (as a nation))
After I read this potion the wheels began to turn. God. In his omnipresent ways, with his omniscient power searched for someone to "stand before him in the gap on behalf of the land [Israel]". (And this is where my process of mulling starts) As if God branded this scripture on my heart this week, I could NOT stop thinking about it. I have always heard this phrase from the pulpit, on t-shirts or in old songs, but finally I understood it..."standing in the gap". I am pretty sure there was a big "G.A.P." fashion movement... In the late 90's "God. Answers. Prayers." donned bracelets, t-shirts, posters, hats... probably even underwear... and I am pretty sure all this merchandise was located in the back of Mardel.
Back to my point... reel it in Heather...
In psalm 106: 23
23 23 So he said he would destroy them—
had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach [gap] before him
to keep his wrath from destroying them.
And guess what, when the Israelites were at the bottom of the mountain, singing, celebrating and consecrating the golden calf they had made, God was going to destroy every last one of them, but Moses braved God and stood in the gap. He went before the holy God and pleaded on their behalf.... and God changed his mind. Moses's petition was heard, and it literally says "So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people,". (Ex. 32:14)
Who has stood in the gap for me? My parents, my grandmother, women and men of influence in my life, and possibly even my friends. People who have approached the father on my behalf because I was unable. To them I say thank you.
Then through his Holy Spirit, God gently said to me, "Now Heather, I want you to stand in the gap for these...", and he brought to mind several people in my life that I am to pray for daily. I wrote them down, in a place I will see everyday and I have devoted myself in prayer to those friends who have sick children, who are separated, who have turmoil in their home, who are struggling through addiction, who have fallen from Christ, who need peace... I may not be able to solve their problems or undo what has been done, but I can stand in the gap, and plead to Holy God to have mercy and see them through.
There will be times when my knees grow weak from standing in that gap for my children or for their children, and time will pass when I will never see that marriage restored, or that child healed. I know this, yet I still pray. Prayer is so mysterious. Jesus himself even prayed. In the stillness he communed with his father through prayer, just as I do today. Each prayer heard, each petition considered... Even with Jesus, there were times when the listless body stood up and walked and the sealed eyes were opened wide, but there were times when God was silent and allowed the harm to come. We just have to have faith that His ways are not our own, but they are higher and mightier.
Please. Stand in the gap for someone today. Choose 1 person or 2 people, or a situation and commit to pray for a continued period of time. Maybe God has searched their "land" and YOU were the chosen one to stand before Him. Sometimes we experience seasons of life where we are unable to come before the Father ourselves, and when someone else does it for us, it's the greatest act of love.
Thanks for reading friends.