Ezekiel 13:5 Ye (false prophets of Israel) 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 (KJV).
A hedge is a fence or protective wall around a house, city, or land. A gap is a rupture or breach in that wall, and is a place that needs someone to stand in order to watch and protect those within. Spiritually, it points to watching over a people in order to foresee any danger It means warning them and interceding on their behalf if danger of destruction or harm is imminent. That danger can come from an outside force, or come from within. Often the outside danger is the result of sin and iniquity within. Prophetically, “violence” is equated to idolatry, or is the result of idolatry (see Ezekiel 8:1-18; 12:19; 28:16; Amos 6:3; Zephaniah 3:4).
One of the jobs of a prophet is to stand in the gap and make up a hedge for those whom the Lord desires intercession. This is substantiated by Ezekiel 22:30, “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” (emphasis added, KJV). In context with the verses surrounding this passage (verses 23-29), the Lord declares to Ezekiel that the land of Israel was filled with uncleanness, and that He found no one to intercede on her behalf. Verse 31 reveals the result: “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, saith the Lord GOD” (KJV). A true prophet of God will watch, warn, and intercede for others; a false prophet will not.
One example of a true prophet of God is Ezekiel, himself: “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul” (Ezekiel 3:17-21, KJV). This passage underscores Lord’s desire for His prophets to stand and watch over the flock.
Another true prophet who interceded on behalf of the children of Israel was Moses. Moses repeatedly fell on his face before God in order to plead for the lives of the children of Israel. While in the wilderness, Israel committed idolatry, furthermore, they constantly murmured and complained against God. At one point, God said He would destroy the children, and start over with Moses (see Exodus 32:1-14). While Moses could have self-righteously said, “Yes Lord, so be it as You have said,” he interceded instead. He had an opportunity to get rid of those who grieved him very much, but he did not take it. Meekness is power under restraint, which Moses exemplified, and is a character trait that every prophet should have. In fact, every child of God should have it, since it is part of the Fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22). Thus, Number 12:3 reveals that part of Moses’ character: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (KJV). Of course, our Greatest Example of One Who meekly stood in the gap and made a hedge is Jesus Christ, Himself.
A false prophet will do the opposite, and lead people to destruction. This is made very clear in Ezekiel 13:10-11: “Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter: Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it” (KJV). “Untempered” means to smear plaster or slime, and figuratively points to foolish things. That is to say, then, false prophets build up false hedges, filled with gaps, because they offer false hope by their false prophecies. Remember, false prophets prophesy out of their own heart for personal gain. They could care less if their lies hurt anyone. A false prophet would have taken advantage of the situation in which Moses found himself.
It is one thing to simply discern the evil that people commit, it is quite another to warn and pray for them. Prophets are not the only ones called to stand in the gap and make up a hedge for others. Sometimes, as believers, we need to look at the person in the mirror and ask that person we see some tough questions. “Do you actually pray for those who are in dangerous territory, or do you stand there self-righteously pointing your finger at their faults?” “If your brother or sister falls will you restore him or her; or will you simply turn your back?” Galatians 6:1-2 says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (KJV). “Will you risk loosing a friendship by confronting someone in a fault?” The Word implores us to speak the truth in love, one to another (Ephesians 4:15, 25). “Do you risk being ridiculed by sharing the Faith of Jesus, or do you simply allow others to go to their eternal destruction?” “Do you murmur and complain against those in authority, especially those in political positions, of whom you disagree; or do you seriously pray for them?” Keep in mind that 1Timothy 2:1-4 says, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (KJV). “Can the Father count on you to stand in the gap and make up the hedge?”
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