Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 14 March 2013


By Jim Jordal

"Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. 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.’ The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. 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. Therefore I have poured out my indignation on them…"

Ezekiel 22:27-31a, NKJV (emphasis mine)

Ezekiel was a prophet and priest writing during his sojourn in Babylon as a captive and colonist. His writing emphasized the sins of Judah leading to their captivity and suffering. Following the captivity he foresaw a pouring out of God’s blessings as the repentant people returned to their homeland. In the passage above he fearlessly and forcefully points out specific national sins committed by various prominent groups and utters his plaintive plea that nobody was available to "stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it."

Today in America we face the same problem: there seems to be no one willing or able to stand in the gap before God on behalf of the land. Ezekiel points out that Judah’s princes, prophets, and people have all contributed to the nation’s sin and that they all bear responsibility for what has happened. They have proclaimed their innocence while continuing their sin, and for this reason have incurred the judgment of God.

The phrase "standing in the gap" relates to the ancient practice of building walls around cities for both symbolic and protective reasons. Walls symbolized the political and cultural integrity of the city as well as providing a barrier against physical conquest. If the enemy breached walls the city stood in danger of being conquered and losing freedom, pride and integrity. But sometimes an individual or a group brave enough to stand in the gap and fight the enemy saved the city. Thus Ezekiel’s lament that his people had no one strong or wise enough to do the same for the nation.

What was the sin of Judah’s princes, or rulers? Ezekiel accuses them of being like wolves tearing at prey as they sought dishonest gain by shedding blood and destroying people. Today we have similar behavior by many prominent rulers as they sell out our national freedoms and people’s futures in the interests of financial gain for themselves and their greedy political contributors. Think about the onset of super Political Action Committees and their willingness to spend billions of dollars in secret contributions for the purpose of controlling our election process.

Then we have the prophets (religious leaders) whom Ezekiel charges with attempting to repair the breached walls with untempered mortar, or untested theories and false visions supposedly originating with God. With several notable exceptions religion today emphasizes personal piety, sexual purity and doctrinal correctness with little attention paid to pressing national issues like poverty, ruthless banking practices and a rapidly growing gap between rich and poor. There are many gaps in our national moral climate that threaten the stability of our land yet are ignored by most religions.

Ezekiel closes this complaint with the announcement that the people of the land are also guilty of using robbery and oppression to crush the poor and needy and mistreating strangers, or immigrants. The commercial/financial system now controlling most politics and economics in America continues to exist because of popular support given by those voters having been seduced by propaganda and lies put out by leaders of business and academia. While we may not actually participate in these evils, we are complicit in these sins by giving our assent to oppressive behavior and injustice.

It’s interesting to note that eventually God sends someone to "stand in the gap" for his wayward people. This deliverance occurs following a national confession of sin and a turning back to the law of God led by awakened and spiritually energized leaders like Moses, Joshua, Daniel and Amos. We desperately need someone like that today! Pray for it to happen.