Standing in the Gap
I’m fairly certain that anyone reading this realizes that our country, as well as the entire world, is in bad shape. The United States was once recognized as a Christian nation; however, now, even our own president says that we are not a Christian nation. Are we? Our nation was founded on Christian principles and historically we were a Christian nation. But, are we a Christian nation now? Studies have shown that 78-80% of Americans profess that they are Christians, but what does that profession actually encompass? A 2009 report by Barna Group showed the following results of their survey on professing Christians:
* 22% do not believe that Jehovah God is our ‘all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the universe who still rules the world today’
* 40% believe that Satan is not a living being and 8% didn’t know what they believed about Satan
* 39% do not believe in the divinity and perfection of Jesus Christ and 6% had no opinion
* 34% do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living force and 9% were not sure
* 40% believe that the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same truth while 20% were undecided
A more recent poll by Pew Research indicates that over 50% of mainline Protestant denominations support homosexuality. Maybe this is one of the many reasons that behaviors once considered atrocities amongst the people of our nation (such as pre-marital sex, abortion, homosexuality, recreational use of drugs, profanity, etc.) are now considered ‘acceptable’ behaviors by many.
I can remember a time when television programs would not even show a man and wife (I’m talking male and female) sleeping in the same bed. Remember the “I Love Lucy” show? There were two single beds in Desi and Lucy’s bedroom. There was no profanity on the major networks; no sex; no gore; no using God’s name in vain; no promotion of homosexuality; no making fun of Christians or of Jesus Christ.
When my husband and I were first married and started television service, he immediately blocked out stations that we knew were trash, but then lo and behold, the supposedly ‘family’ stations showed commercials that were inappropriate—so several other stations were blocked. Then I turned to TBN (allegedly a Christian network) and you had to sift through so much junk—such as the ‘Christian’ drummer in a ‘Christian Band’ that still performs with his ‘Rock band’ in clubs and multiple celebrities who were promoted as being great Christians on TBN, yet the ‘shows’ they were in were filled with profanity and lewdness! My husband and I decided to rid ourselves of television service about seven years ago and we’ve never regretted the decision. There were multiple reasons why we decided to turn off the television, yet, all the reasons added up to the Holy Spirit within us was grieved. We were sick and tired of the gross immorality!
Even the news was disturbing…news spokesmen and spokeswomen would actually smile while reporting calamities and disasters. It gave me the heebie geebies! Wow, what a difference in television! Years ago, reporters actually expressed sorrow when reporting something bad. Look up real footage of the Hindenburg disaster on YouTube and you’ll see what I am talking about--the reporter is crying out in anguish and sorrow over the Hindenburg catastrophe. Life as we once knew it has definitely changed.
I am ‘over-the-hill’ but what gives? Is this moral decay just a misunderstanding because of a generation gap? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘generation gap’ as the differences in opinions, values, etc., between younger people and older people. Some synonyms for the word gap are rent, rift, void, gulf, chasm, discontinuity. What causes this ‘gap’ in the values between older and younger people? Liberal education, television and increase in mass communication are some of the reasons for the ‘gap’.
But what does Jehovah God say about a ‘gap’? 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.” Read the previous verses (Ezekiel 33:24-29) and you’ll see why God was going to destroy the land if this ‘gap’ in the ‘hedge’ was not closed up.
* Verse 24 – The land was unclean and unholy
* Verse 25 – Prophets devoured people and took treasure (money as well as strength and dignity) and made many widows
* Verse 26 – The Priests didn’t teach the people the difference between clean and unclean (holy and unholy) and they profaned God’s name
* Verse 27 – Her Princes (rulers, government) shed blood, destroyed souls and made unjust gain
* Verse 28 - Her prophets lied about God’s word
* Verse 29 - People of the land stole from and oppressed the poor and needy
Does any of this sound familiar? Okay, so God says that there is a ‘gap’ in the ‘hedge’. People, God is not talking about the boxwoods in front of your house! Matthew Henry commented, “Sin makes a gap in the hedge of protection that is about a people at which good things run out from them and evil things pour in upon them”. In Job 1:10 Satan told God that Job served God only because God had built a hedge of protection around Job. Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary defines ‘make up the hedge’ in verse 30 as ‘repair or fence in the wall’.
We know from history that walls were built around cities, castles or communities to keep the enemy out. The Lord is our ‘strong tower’ in Proverbs 18:10 and our ‘fortress’ and ‘shield’ in Psalms 144:2. Consequently, God is saying that the land had a hedge or wall of protection built around it, but now there is a gap in the hedge.
There were several men in the Bible that ‘made up the gap’ at other times in Israel’s history. Psalms 106:23 recounts how Moses stood in the ‘breach’ for the children of Israel and turned away God’s wrath from destroying Israel. We see in Ezekiel 22:30 that God, in His mercy and love, actually looks for a man that would make up the gap in the hedge. God is searching for someone to fill this gap; yet, He found no one.
Such a sad condition, that no one was willing to fill in the gap for the salvation of the land. Abraham Lincoln stated in his Proclamation for a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer in 1863,“We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”
Joel 2:17 “Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” Church historian, Earle E. Cairns, in his study on prayer and revivals from 1726 to present, noted that “prayer ranks first in the coming of revival” and that each renewal began with organized prayer groups.
I have cried out in prayer, “Oh God, send us a revival. Send us another Elijah, another Jonathan Edwards, another Charles Finney, another Billy Graham!” I asked God, “Where are the prayer warriors?” God got real personal with His answer when He said, “Are YOU praying like you should? What are YOU doing to spread my gospel?”
In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul said to ‘examine or scrutinize’ yourself to test whether you are in the faith. Examine your heart and your motives; examine your prayer life and your walk with God. If anyone is proud of their Christian walk, I’d like to ask the question “have you arrived?” Paul said ‘I press toward the mark, toward the high calling of God which is in Christ Jesus’. Remember, you don’t compare yourself to your next door neighbor. No, you examine yourself and compare yourself to Jesus Christ. Oh yeah, you are beneath the mark! We never can reach that mark until our corruptible flesh is changed into the glorious likeness of Jesus. But we can abide in Jesus. We can hunger and thirst after righteousness! God promises that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled.
Saints, I have a word from God for those who are earnestly seeking a revival. Revival begins with YOU! And how does that happen? Jehovah God tells us in 2 Chronicles 4:14 “ If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”.
“If my people, which are called by my name”. .The verse begins with ‘if’, so that means that what is about to follow is conditional which means that the identified person or persons has to hold up their end of the bargain before God is obligated to act. “My people, which are called by name” is the person identified. Simply saying, if you are a Christian, then this verse is for you. God is not calling sinners for repentance in this verse and He is not saying the government is going to solve our problems. God is calling on Christians, His people.
What does God say we must do? “Humble ourselves, and pray, and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways”…swallow that pride, confess your sins and ask for forgiveness. Then turn from your sin! God is then obligated by His word to forgive our sin and heal our land…and saints, we definitely need healing in our land!
Father, I ask You in Jesus precious name to revive Your children. Lord, deliver us from this evil day and make us worthy to escape the tribulation. Teach us to abide in Christ. Give us a burden for our brothers and sisters in Christ that struggle, whether through persecution or in their walk with Christ and give us a burden for lost souls. Sanctify us with Your Word, which is Truth. Fill us to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit that we may stand. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, whose name is above every name. Amen.
Author: Faith Noles
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