KNOWING GOD IN HIS GLORY

There is no one to stand in the gap

Ezekiel 22

Jerry A Collins

7/15/01

SCC

 

P  What is the root problem behind†††††††††† our sin?

P  What happens when sin completely corrupts us?

P  What is the gap that God needs someone to stand in?

 

My son Guthrie played little league baseball this year for the very first time. He has not played organized baseball before. He started out at shortstop of all places and I did see him nearly throw out a few baserunners. 5-6 games into the season the coach asked Guthrie if he would like to pitch sometime since they needed to have a third pitcher. Guthrie said OK and the coach told him to start throwing at home because he would pitch soon. His first game on the mound he nervously threw the ball as if he were playing catch instead of pitching trying to be careful about it all. We started working on pitching at home and by the end of the season he was throwing consistently. Last Friday at the end of the season barbecue the coach told me that he just saw something in Guthrie that made him stand out. The way he threw the ball to first from shortstop; the way he threw the ball from the outfield made the coach take a chance with Guthrie as a pitcher. My son stood in the gap this year. The coach saw something in him, there was a need for another pitcher and Guthrie was able to do so!

 

God is looking for gappers! People God is searching for to promote righteousness in the midst of unrighteousness. Unfortunately His own people are unqualified!

 

1.THEY ARE UNQUALIFIED TO STAND IN THE GAP BECAUSE OF THEIR CATALOG OF SINS1-16

Since Ezekiel has become Godís prosecuting attorney, he had to declare the facts of the case against the people vs 2-3. God reminds the people that they have been charged with shedding blood and idolatry vs 3. These two sins opposed the Mosaic Lawís standards for Israels relationships with God and her fellow Israelites. Rather than loving God she had turned to idolatry and her love for fellow Israelites had been replaced by treachery! So both Godward and manward they were guilty. Ezekiel catalogs twenty sins that made the people unqualified to stop the onslaught of sin and unrighteousness in the land.

(1) They shed blood vs 4. Seven times this is mentioned. (2) They made idols vs 4. Idolatry is fashioning God into an image I want Him to be. (3) Dishonored their parents vs 7. (4) Oppressed strangers. (5) Mistreated the fatherless. (6) Mistreated the widow. (7) Despised Gods holy things. (8) Despised Gods Sabbaths. (9) Slanderedvs 9 (10) Idolatry ritual (11) Lewd possibly temple prostitutes, Homo (12) Defiled their fathers wives vs 10 (13) Violated laws concerning womenís menstrual cycle (14) Adultery with neighbors wife vs 11 (15) adultery with daughters in law (16) Incest (17) Murder (18) Dishonest gain (19) extortion (20) Forgot God the root of their problem! This is how any of us can be guilty of any kind of sin in our lives. We have forgotten God! We forget about God when we believe we can serve our interests better than He can. We assert our autonomy and take again from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and perpetuate what Adam and Eve began. The reason why God cannot use you is because you have become unusable to Him. The sin in your life disqualifies you and now makes you part of the problem. The nation God raised up to be a witness and lighthouse to all of the other nations has now become just like the other nations. So God says they will certainly be judged because of this vs 13-16. Ultimately God will disperse them as a nation and a people as Moses had warned them in Deut 28. The only way to promote the knowledge of God is by means of the judgment of God vs 16. How then is God going to judge them?

2. UNQUALIFIED TO STAND IN THE GAP THEY ARE JUDGED AS WORTHLESS TO GOD17-22

Here we have the imagery of a smelting furnace of judgment that would melt those who remained in Jerusalem. The people had become like dross, like residue to God. Like the scum of copper, tin, iron and lead left inside a furnace. Like the residue left after the pure metal is poured. Israel is worthless to God because of her sin. And even though this dross was the by-product of smelting, God is going to resmelt the dross! God is going to gather this people inside the city and then he is going to have them melted and this thot is stated three times! The nation Judah had retreated to Jerusalem for safety when Nebechadnezzar invaded the territory previously. Now they will experience the full force of Nebís brutality when he lays siege to that city in a handful of years. They will know that the Lord is judging them when it happens vs 22. I cannot think of anything more severe than being worthless to God. I mean how bad do you have to be to get there? Our God is a patient and longsuffering Father but even His patience has limits. Today God has suspended judgment. We learn from Peter that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance and this is the time during this age of grace that a person can take advantage of Godís patience and mercy. But there is coming a day when that will be no more. First there will be a rapture when Godís church, all believers still here on the earth, will be snatched away from it into the heavens with Christ. That day is closer today than it was yesterday. Then a period of immense tribulation for seven years when God will judge the world for its rebellion against Him. The finally Christís second coming when he will establish his rule on this earth for 1000 years. Finally we will enter into eternity forever to be with the Lord after that! Today you can be ready. You do not have to become worthless to God! You can trust Him by placing your faith in Jesus Christ.

3. GOD COULD FIND NOONE QUALIFIED TO STAND IN THE GAP 23-31

The corruption was so complete that when God searched for a man who could stem the tide of national destruction none could be found. There was noone in any area of Israelite society who was qualified. Not (1) Prophets vs 25 & 28 who ignored the sins and sanctioned them with false messages from God (2) Priests vs 26 who did not enforce Godís law in the land (3) Princes vs 27 who greedily used their power to abuse people for dishonest gain (4) People vs 29 who followed their spiritual, religious and civil leaders extortion and social injustice. The verdict: There is noone to stand between Israels sins and Gods righteousness. In the end only Christ can and will. But by way of application we can do that in our families and with our churches and in our discipleship groups and relationships. Can you? Can God use you? Keep yourself useable and teachable. God still needs gappers today to stem the tide of sin in His church, in the family, in our lives. Do not rationalize your sin. Repent of it and become a gapper!