The prophet Ezekiel speaks of a time in which God is looking for men and women to stand in the gap. God commissioned Ezekiel to stand in the gap as a watchman to the house of Israel (Ezekiel 3:7; 33:7). God knew that Ezekiel would be met with great opposition and that they would seek to intimidate him. But he tells Ezekiel to be bold and filled with courage and to deliver His words to the people regardless of their response (please read chapters 2 and 3 of Ezekiel). Some may say the role of the watchman was fulfilled by Ezekiel. But as we shall see the role of the watchman has been passed on to the Church collective and to you and me individually.
God is still looking for men and women to stand in the gap in the face of the evil that abounds in this world.
Yes, God commissioned Ezekiel to serve as a watchman, but He also inspired Ezekiel to remind the people of God of the continuing role of the watchman. Ezekiel was instructed to write: “Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; then whosoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand’” (Ezekiel 33:2-6, King James Version throughout). So as noted here, the role of the watchman is an ongoing responsibility.
In the New Testament there are a multitude of witnesses that stood in the gap and served in the role of watchmen. John the Baptist stood in the gap and denounced the wicked king Herod, for which he was beheaded. Jesus Christ stood in the gap and time after time cried out against the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees. Time after time they sought to kill Him. But He continued to lift up His voice and urge them to repent.There have been men and women who have served as watchmen and stood in the gap at critical times in human history. Enoch and Noah stood in the gap in the pre-flood world. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob stood in the gap during the patriarchal age. Deborah the prophetess and a judge of Israel stood in the gap along with Barak and defeated the king of Canaan, freeing Israel from his oppression. Gideon believed God and along with 300 men delivered Israel from the oppression of the Midianites. Moses stood in the gap as God worked with him to lead Israel out of Egypt. David stood in the gap, and God gave him the victory over Goliath. Elijah stood in the gap and confronted the wicked priests of Baal in a showdown on Mount Carmel. Esther stood in the gap when her people faced extinction at the hands of the evil Haman.
The apostles faced continual persecution. They were threatened, beaten, thrown into prison, and some were killed. Yet they continued to proclaim the gospel of God and Christ with boldness and courage. They rejoiced in being counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:41).
God is still looking for men and women to stand in the gap in the face of the evil that abounds in this world. We now return to the inspired words of the prophet Ezekiel and highlight a prophecy that is surely applicable and relevant to the times in which we are living. Ezekiel writes, “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, ‘Son of man, say unto her, “Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.” There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof’” (Ezekiel 22:23-25).
Ezekiel continues in the succeeding passages to describe the sins of the people and concludes with these words: “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, 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 mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, says the Lord God” (Ezekiel 22:30-31, emphasis added throughout).
In Ezekiel chapter 13 there is a prophecy that reinforces the above prophecy. Note the inspired words of Ezekiel: “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, ‘Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus says the Lord God; “Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! O Israel, your prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord”’” (Ezekiel 13:2-5). The prophet goes on to describe their deceitful practices in crying peace when there is no peace while daubing the walls with untempered mortar.
The prognosticators, political leaders and their sycophantic apologists of our day attempt to whitewash the rotten moral fabric of the nation. This is a “rottenness” that permeates every institution in the land, from the churches to the highest political offices.
We must obey God rather than conform to the platitudes of men.
We are also in that period of time that the prophet Isaiah describes in which “evil is called good; and good is called evil” (Isaiah 5:20). Later in the book of Isaiah, he is inspired to describe the time in which truth is fallen into the street and there is no judgment in the land. Then he states that those who would stand in the gap and cry out against the evil are made a prey (Isaiah 59:14-15). That is, they are mocked becoming the object of scorn and ridicule. Yet God inspires Isaiah to write, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1). In other words, we must obey God rather than conform to the platitudes of men.
We live in the very times that many of the prophets were inspired to describe. Evil is called good and good is called evil. We live in world in which the only absolute is “you shall not be intolerant.” We are in essence told that we should deny God and decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. The liberal secular humanists contend that if everyone becomes tolerant of lifestyles that humans can learn not to judge one another and come to a state of mutual acceptance and live in peace.
We have not been called to “fit into this world’s system.” We have been called to come out of this world.
However, those who love the truth and know their God will forever stand in the gap and oppose the God-deniers. We have not been called to “fit into this world’s system.” We have been called to come out of this world. We must stand in the gap, cry aloud and spare not just as the bold, courageous and faithful men and women of the ages have done. The time will come when those that stand in the gap will be hated by all nations (Matthew 24:9). Why will they be hated? It is because they have stood in the gap and unveiled Satan’s system for what it really is.
We live in critical, crucial times! We live in tough, transitional times! There is no middle ground with God. Jesus declares, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12:30, New King James Version). We cannot sugar coat the gospel and in any way give the impression that we are just like everybody else. We are the Church of God.
It is the Spirit of God and the Word of God that convicts a person of the truth of God. We are commanded, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). We will never be accepted by the people of this world. In fact, the nations of the world will fight against God, Christ and the saints at the battle of the great day of God Almighty (Revelation 16:12-16).
So what about you? Are you the man or woman that God is looking for? Or must He look to someone else. We must not be of those who draw back. God has no pleasure in those who draw back. We must stand in the gap and say with the apostle Paul, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).