In any group of people, put in place together, for any length of time, a pecking order will form along with a standard of how they will live together in community—or not.  It comes natural to people.  Self-appointed leaders will naturally begin to organize the group with enough charisma for others to follow their lead.  Those who want to impress the leaders will follow their lead with desire to be associated with the leader because in mere association alone, they feel important.  These are typically “second” in charge.  In the group will be people who are easy-going and want to just have fun.  And, finally there will be those who just want to be left alone.  There will also be those who want to be the leader but don’t have the energy for it, so they will complain about the ones doing the leading.  All in all, everyone seems to settle into a position.  But all want to have their own way and not be pushed around.  When pushed, they will begin to hurt each other, doing whatever it takes to get their own way.

God’s work in His created, who have choices over good or evil, is not easy.  When evil enters any group of people and has his way with them by their permission, all hell breaks loose and sin runs rampant.  But, God is still in control and rises above the chaos to bring judgement over those who defile His Name, His Holiness and His people.

We break God’s heart often with our choices even now.  Who will stand in the gap between good and evil?  Who will stand with God?

Ezekiel 22, The Message

The Scarecrow of the Nations

1-5 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, are you going to judge this bloody city or not? Come now, are you going to judge her? Do it! Face her with all her outrageous obscenities. Tell her, ‘This is what God, the Master, says: You’re a city murderous at the core, just asking for punishment. You’re a city obsessed with no-god idols, making yourself filthy. In all your killing, you’ve piled up guilt. In all your idol-making, you’ve become filthy. You’ve forced a premature end to your existence. I’ll put you on exhibit as the scarecrow of the nations, the world’s worst joke. From far and near they’ll deride you as infamous in filth, notorious for chaos.

6-12 “‘Your leaders, the princes of Israel among you, compete in crime. You’re a community that’s insolent to parents, abusive to outsiders, oppressive against orphans and widows. You treat my holy things with contempt and desecrate my Sabbaths. You have people spreading lies and spilling blood, flocking to the hills to the sex shrines and fornicating unrestrained. Incest is common. Men force themselves on women regardless of whether they’re ready or willing. Sex is now anarchy. Anyone is fair game: neighbor, daughter-in-law, sister. Murder is for hire, usury is rampant, extortion is commonplace.

“‘And you’ve forgotten me. Decree of God, the Master.

13-14 “‘Now look! I’ve clapped my hands, calling everyone’s attention to your rapacious greed and your bloody brutalities. Can you stick with it? Will you be able to keep at this once I start dealing with you?

14-16 “‘I, God, have spoken. I’ll put an end to this. I’ll throw you to the four winds. I’ll scatter you all over the world. I’ll put a full stop to your filthy living. You will be defiled, spattered with your own mud in the eyes of the nations. And you’ll recognize that I am God.’”

17-22 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, the people of Israel are slag to me, the useless byproduct of refined copper, tin, iron, and lead left at the smelter—a worthless slag heap. So tell them, ‘God, the Master, has spoken: Because you’ve all become worthless slag, you’re on notice: I’ll assemble you in Jerusalem. As men gather silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin into a furnace and blow fire on it to melt it down, so in my wrath I’ll gather you and melt you down. I’ll blow on you with the fire of my wrath to melt you down in the furnace. As silver is melted down, you’ll be melted down. That should get through to you. Then you’ll recognize that I, God, have let my wrath loose on you.’”

23-25 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, tell her, ‘You’re a land that during the time I was angry with you got no rain, not so much as a spring shower. The leaders among you became desperate, like roaring, ravaging lions killing indiscriminately. They grabbed and looted, leaving widows in their wake.

26-29 “‘Your priests violated my law and desecrated my holy things. They can’t tell the difference between sacred and secular. They tell people there’s no difference between right and wrong. They’re contemptuous of my holy Sabbaths, profaning me by trying to pull me down to their level. Your politicians are like wolves prowling and killing and rapaciously taking whatever they want. Your preachers cover up for the politicians by pretending to have received visions and special revelations. They say, “This is what God, the Master, says . . .” when God hasn’t said so much as one word. Extortion is rife, robbery is epidemic, the poor and needy are abused, outsiders are kicked around at will, with no access to justice.’

30-31 “I looked for someone to stand up for me against all this, to repair the defenses of the city, to take a stand for me and stand in the gap to protect this land so I wouldn’t have to destroy it. I couldn’t find anyone. Not one. So I’ll empty out my wrath on them, burn them to a crisp with my hot anger, serve them with the consequences of all they’ve done. Decree of God, the Master.”


Ezekiel described the true character of the “beautiful city” and named some of the sins that the people in Jerusalem were committing even while he spoke. The people have fallen.  Their new sport is seeing how arrogantly they can sin against God and each other.  Who will stand for what is right? 

What does “standing in the gap” look like?  Let’s go back to the first dedication of the Temple of God built by King Solomon, David’s son and successor.  King David collected the materials.  It was Solomon’s mission to build the Temple of God.  When it was complete, Solomon had a visit from God the night before the dedication of the Temple.  Here is how God responded…    

“When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lord and in his own palace, the Lord appeared to him at night and said:

‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.’

‘When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.’

‘As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’

But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them,then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. This temple will become a heap of rubble. Allwho pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”  2 Chronicles 7:12-22, NIV

God sent fire when Solomon the king offered his prayer and his sacrifices to the Lord. The people all responded by bowing to the ground in reverence to God. Imagine the sound of thousands of people shouting, “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever” (2 Chr. 7:3). God had accepted the prayer of the king and the worship of the people!

We know from reading the words of Ezekiel that the people did turn away from God and the Temple became a “heap of rubble”.  Tragically, after Solomon died the nation divided, and both kingdoms gradually declined until they were destroyed. God did what He said He would do.

God knew people for He created them.  God gave people choices.  God knew they would not always make the right choice.  So, God had a Plan.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16  After a time, centuries later, God sent His Son to earth.

Jesus, God’s one and only Son, came so that our sins would be completely removed from us “once and for all”.  If we repent, humble ourselves, and seek God, His Holy Spirit comes to live in us.  Jesus/God/Holy Spirit, comes to reside and abide in a new temple—us!  We are the temple, heart/mind/soul bodies, fully alive in Christ, a walking around temple in which God desires to come in and dwell—a temple with the power of God! 

God still asks, who will stand in the gap between Him and sinful people so the punishment for sin can be averted and people saved for life eternal?  Who will stand for God, stand for what is right and good, as we listen to Him and do what He says?  Who will rise up and stand against the obscene behaviors, lewd thinking, sexual degradations that can only lead to disease and death?  People without God are destroying themselves.  This is what breaks the heart of God to the point He must put a stop to it.  A cleansing must happen.  Only God can provide it through Jesus, His Son.

Does our nation need a cleansing?  Yes!  Any and every nation of people need God.  Who will stand in the gap for our nation as well as other nations?  As we hear about God’s Spirit visiting a group of college students in chapel in the town of Asbury, Kentucky, we realize again that God is not finished with us yet.  God is still in control. God wants to not only visit but be present in our lives every day!

We talk quite a bit of “waiting on God” but the truth may be that HE is waiting on us to really get serious about believing who He is and what He can do and will do.  Do we really believe what God says to be really real?  The answer can be found in the depths of our humility.  Humility is expressed best uncomfortably on our knees, bowing low to God the Almighty, asking for a cleansing of our hearts from Him.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 

Oh, what a promise!  Oh, what a Savior!


Thank you for teaching us this powerful message of hope, healing, and complete forgiveness by your saving mercy and grace—all because of your love for us.

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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