February 11, 2018
Ezekiel is standing before the people of God to reveal to them that they are in deep trouble with God and that the fall of their kingdom is coming. He shows them they are out of touch with a Holy God. God says, “You have despised my holy things. (v8) Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. (vs26-27) They falsely say this is what God says when the Lord has not spoken. Then God said, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not destroy it, but I found none.” God is looking for intercessors!
Last week in my sermon on the work of the Holy Spirit we discovered that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf. He prays for us when we do not know what we should pray. He helps us in our weakness, searches our hearts, and leads us in obedience to God’s will for our lives. The word intercession means to urge on behalf of another, to fall in with, to strike upon or against, and to pray on behalf of another because of their condition before God. God looks for those whose hearts are prepared to be intercessors before Him. Intercessors have hearts in tune with God’s heart. They are so aware of what is at stake, for their situation, that they will stay before God as long as necessary to receive God’s answer. Henry Blackaby says, “You do not volunteer to be an intercessor. God calls and enlists you!
How has God used you to intercede on behalf of a person or situation?
How have people interceded for you?
2 Missed Opportunities
Why do we not intercede as we should? Perhaps we are afraid to trust God. We worry that God may not answer our prayers. Yet God promises that if we ask, we will receive. (Matthew 7:7) We may fail to intercede because we believe the busyness of our everyday lives is more effective than prayer. Jesus warned that apart from Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5) Without being intimately acquainted with God and His will, all of our labors are futile. Perhaps we fail to intercede because we misunderstand the heart of God. Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem as He interceded for it. (Matthew 23:37) If we truly have God’s love within us, we will feel compelled to plead with God on behalf of those who face His imminent judgment.
How many opportunities do we miss each week to intercede on behalf of others?
What may happen to a person who has no one to stand in the gap on their behalf?
Intercession can be a lonely endeavor. There may be many days, weeks, months, and even years when there appear to be few results for your labor. Yet intercessors can be the only ones standing between a family member, loved one, or acquaintance and God’s judgment. We must develop a love for people that leads us to not only stand in the gap but to become deeply involved in their lives. Our intercession and involvement with a person is for the purposes and will of God. People need the Lord, they need to know the truth, they need to be saved, they need a spiritual family, they need discipleship through the Word, they need fellowship, they need encouragement, they need guidance and direction, and they need to experience the grace, mercy, peace, and joy that only God can bring into their lives! Lord, help me to care enough to get involved and stand in the gap!
Who has stood in the gap for your salvation and spiritual wellbeing?
Pray and thank the Lord for people who God has used to love you!