Building the Wall and Standing in the Gap

 
Have you ever heard anyone say that they are 'standing in the gap' - praying for someone else?  I have - frequently in church circles.  Where does that saying come from?  It comes from the last two verses of Ezekiel chapter 22.  That chapter is a rant by God against Israel for going astray from Him and for doing all kinds of unrighteous and abominable acts.

Verses 23 to the end of the chapter (verse 31) are a summary of God's indictment against Israel:

Eze 22:23  "And the Word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Son of man, say to her: You are a land not being cleansed, nor rained on in the day of disgust.
A plot by her prophets is in her midst, like a roaring lion tearing the prey. They have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they multiplied her many widows in her midst.
Her priests have broken My Law and have defiled My holy things. They have put no difference between the holy and the common, and have not taught between the unclean and the clean, and have hidden their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am defiled among them.
Her rulers in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood and to destroy souls, to get unjust gain.
And her prophets have daubed themselves with lime, seeing vanity and divining lies to them, saying, So says the Lord Jehovah; when Jehovah has not spoken.
The people of the land have used oppression and practiced robbery, and they have troubled the poor and needy. Yea, they have oppressed the stranger without right.

And I sought for a man among them who should wall up a wall for the land, and stand in the gap before me, that I should not destroy it. But I did not find one.
Therefore I have poured out My fury on them. I have burned them up with the fire of My wrath. I have given their way on their heads, says the Lord Jehovah. "


Notice that God does not tell us that the 'wall' is, not does He inform us what 'the gap' is.  Apparently the 'the man' He sought would know what the wall and the gap are in order for him to make his stand before God for the land.

So, partly out of curiosity and mostly out of wanting to be a person who effectively 'stands in the gap' I began to ask God to give me the understanding I need  of what this passage of Scripture means.

At this point, this is what has come to my understanding:

1.  There is a domain of darkness, and there is the Kingdom of the Son of God's Love (Colossians 1:3 and many other verses);

2.  The division between the two can be found in 2 Corinthians 5:15, which states:  2Cor 5:15  "and He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them, and was raised."  Those who live for themselves (the common fallen human condition) are in darkness, and those who have died to self by the grace of the death of Jesus in order to begin living for God have entered into the Kingdom of the Son of God's Love.

It is not commonly known that God is calling everyone to come out of the darkness and into His light because of most translations of the real original language Bible mistranslate the Greek word "ekklesia" as 'church' instead of "the called out".  But the actual call out is clearly set forth in 2Cor 6:14, which states:   "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship does righteousness have with unrighteousness? and what communion does light have with darkness?  And what concord does Christ have with Belial? or what part does he that believes have with an infidel?   And what agreement does the temple of God have with idols? for youall are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2Cor 6:17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you  and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."

3.  What is God's goal for us in His Kingdom?  Romans 14:17  "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

4.  What is the means which God has provided to us to come out of the darkness and to enter His Kingdom?  First, we must recognize that we re in darkness before we can decisively come out of it.  So the Scriptures clearly tell us that pride, self-righteousness, selfishness, self-gratification with the pleasures of sin, complaining, and self-determination  are the fruits of the darkness 9.  So Jesus came to show us what God is like:  meek and lowly of heart, living a righteous life before His Heavenly Father, selflessly sacrificing Himself to pay for our sins, delighting to do His Father's will,  delighting in the pleasures of Father's presence, and giving up any departure from His Father's will even to the point of dying on a Roman cross.

And how do we partake of His righteousness?  By reading the Bible, praying a lot, and telling ourselves that we are right with God?  Well, that is what the Pharisees did, and see how far it got them away from God!  And that is what the modern church teaches, and see how holy and united we are as a result.

May I suggest that receiving Jesus into our hearts as Savior and Lord, together with the Jesus version of 'the sinner's prayer' - 'God, have mercy on me, the sinner', is the beginning of our coming out.  Once we have died with Him we can be buried with Him in water baptism.  Then we can ask Jesus to baptize us with the Holy Spirit so that we have the Holy Spirit's power to live for God, and then becoming disciples of Jesus according to the formula which He clearly stated in  Luke 14 and John 8:
The Cost of Discipleship
Luke 14:25-33  And great crowds went with Him. And He turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me, he cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he may have enough to finish it; lest perhaps, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish, all those seeing begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not first sit down and consult whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So then, everyone of you who does not forsake all his possessions, he cannot be My disciple."

The Truth Will Set You Free
John 8:31-32  Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, "If you continue in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

No Distinction Between Leaders And Followers
Mat 23:8-12  But you must not be called Rabbi, for One is your teacher, Christ, and you are all brothers. And call no one your father on the earth, for One is your Father in Heaven. Nor be called teachers, for One is your Teacher, even Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he who shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Renouncing the Pleasures of Sin in Order To Enjoy the Pleasures in God's Presence.

Years ago I asked Jesus for the keys to being set free from addictions.  As clear as a bell He told me that "renouncing the pleasures of sin" was the key.  So I searched the Bible for "pleasures of sin" and found Heb 11:24-26  "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward." Then I searched for "renounce" and found 2Cor 4:1  "Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
2Cor 4:2  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty..."


So, knowing that the phrase was Scriptural  I tried it on myself to see if it would work, and immediately got a breakthrough in my life from the sin that so easily beset me.  I believe that each of us has a sin which easily besets us, but few of us knows the root of that sin.  Jesus, however, is able to uproot the sins out of our lives.  Then we can begin to enjoy the eternal pleasures in God's presence!  Psalm 16:11  "You [O God] will make me know the way of life; in Your presence is fullness of joys. At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Many people choke on these requirements which Jesus gave for becoming His disciples, but I ask you - are you going ot rely on your own understanding of what these requirements mean, or are you going to trust Jesus to know what is best for you and for those around you?

Unfortunately our enemy, the devil, has successfully kept almost everyone from becoming a disciple of Jesus, and as a result we do not trust Jesus, but we trust someone else to teach us the 'ways of God'.  The result is a totally fragmented 'body of Christ' who are not disciples of Jesus, nor are they wanting to become the disciples of Jesus.  They have found a comfortable place where they are neither hot for God nor cold toward God - the dreaded lukewarm experience.  We tell ourselves that we are serving God by listening to weekly lectures and attending other meetings or performing works of service to other people. 

But where are the signs of God's approval?  Where are the fruits of righteousness, peace and joy?  Where are the mighty works of casting out evil spirits, healing the sick, dealing effectively with snakes which come our way (without seeking them out), and proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God?

Hard questions deserve honest answers!

Lord Jesus, help us all to build the wall which Father wants us to build, and to stand in the gap effectively so that You don't have to destroy the nations!!

Years ago I read a testimony of a pastor's pastor whom God humiliated in the presence of many believers.  He asked the Lord why He was doing this to him, and the Lord told him, "I am trying to bless you, but you are so full of pride and control that I have to deal with those things first!"  The man finished his testimony saying, 'Gee, I thought that I had leadership skills, but they turned out to be pride and control which the Lord had to remove from my life before He could do anything good with me.  Now I just want more of Him....!"