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Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 13 April 2017

STAND IN THE GAP FOR THE LAND

By Jim Jordal

 Her princes in the midst of it are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, [and] to destroy souls, that they may get dishonest gain. Her prophets have daubed for them with whitewash, seeing false visions, and divining lies to them, saying, Thus says the Lord Yahweh, when Yahweh has not spoken. The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery; yes, they have vexed the poor and needy, and have oppressed the foreigner wrongfully. I sought 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 none. Therefore have I poured out my indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I brought on their heads, says the Lord Yahweh.                                             Ezekiel 22:27-31, WEB 

If you read the entire 22nd chapter of Ezekiel you’ll see that the author’s land was in serious trouble from national leaders who ravaged society, shed blood and destroyed souls in their mad search for power and economic gain. Supporting this awesome failure was the continued dysfunction of a captive ecclesiastical prophetic class as they “whitewashed” this extensive perversion by issuing deceitful explanations for the failures while falsely pronouncing God’s favor on those practicing this evil.

The overall culture was also faulty in that it allowed and even encouraged the public to practice robbery and oppression against vulnerable groups in society---the poor, needy and foreigners. Literally thousands of biblical passages decry this cruel, heartless situation, yet it continues to this day as tyrants manage to gain ecclesiastical blessing for their sins amid the troubling silence of the generic church.

Because of these extensive self-inflicted sins God had determined to bring judgment and punishment upon the land. Before undertaking this move, God searched for someone to “build up the wall and stand in the gap” so that he could relent in his desire to punish the nation. But there was no one to stand in the gap for the land, so the promised punishment proceeded.

The phrase “standing in the gap” refers to the ancient practice of building defensive walls around cities. If that wall were to be breached by the enemy, then came the necessity for some strong person or group to “stand in the gap” to save the city. The phrase has come down through history as a metaphor for any attempt to protect one’s people or interests by standing heroically against oppression and in favor of those who cannot stand or speak for themselves.

Those serious about advocating face considerable risk as they prod a reluctant domination system toward increased justice and mercy.  It seems as if everybody favors charity since it makes both the giver and receiver feel good. Not so with serious advocacy because it sometimes steps on tender toes that have enough power to fight back. Hopefully, those of us who advocate do so as our necessary response to what we know in our hearts. We have experienced God’s unending love for us, so we respond to that love by attempting to transfer a bit of God’s mercy and justice to suffering vulnerable groups and to those in power that they might better comprehend their role in that suffering.

So who stands in the gap for the many Americans today that cannot stand or speak for themselves? Who cares enough to confront an establishment that seems ready to leave no stone unturned to maintain the status quo with its massive transfers of wealth up the economic pyramid and its egregious sins in seducing legislators into providing laws allowing this injustice to continue?

Why not you? You, too, can stand in the gap with letters and calls to people in power. You can read and study on what now occurs, and let your voice be known. And you can see if your church has a social justice committee and join it, or create one if you do not have one. And above all, you can pray that God will act to hasten mercy and truth for our land and for the earth.