Mercy Stands in the Gap - Part OneFrom The Heart
Publish date: 03/27/2011
And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 24 Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation. 25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. 26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. 27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. 28 And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord God, when the Lord hath not spoken. 29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. 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. 31 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. Ezekiel 22:23-31 KJV
Sin separates you from the presence of God. It is a gap that cannot be bridged by effort or works. It can only be bridged by God’s mercy. In this passage, Israel’s people, including her princes and priests, were sinning terribly against the Lord. Even so, in His mercy, He was looking for someone to stand between Him and the people – standing in the gap – to intercede with Him for the people. The Lord created mankind and He loves them so much. He desires relationship and fellowship from man. His plan and will for man is not destruction, but redemption. He longs to show mercy, not punishment. Sin has consequences – the wages of sin is death – but God desires mercy.
In Genesis 18:16-33, the Lord tells Abraham that He is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. In verses 20-21 He says, “Because the shriek [of the sins] of Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is exceedingly grievous, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether [as vilely and wickedly] as is the cry of it which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” The Lord did not need to consult with anyone about His decision to destroy these wicked cities, but He did. He gave Abraham an opportunity to intercede and stand in the gap for them. Abraham begged God to spare the city if only fifty righteous people could be found. Then he lowers it to forty five, to thirty, to twenty and down to only ten people. Unfortunately for Sodom and Gomorrah, ten good people could not be found and they were obliterated.
The Lord said to Moses, Go down, for your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves; 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, These are your gods, O Israel, that brought you up out of the land of Egypt! 9 And the Lord said to Moses, I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people; 10 Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and that I may destroy them; but I will make of you a great nation. 11 But Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why does Your wrath blaze hot against Your people, whom You have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, For evil He brought them forth, to slay them in the mountains and consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and change Your mind concerning this evil against Your people. 13 [Earnestly] remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self and said to them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give to your seed, and they shall inherit it forever. 14 Then the Lord turned from the evil which He had thought to do to His people. Exodus 32:7-14 AMP
They refused to obey, nor were they mindful of Your wonders and miracles which You did among them; but they stiffened their necks and in their rebellion appointed a captain, that they might return to their bondage [in Egypt]. But You are a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great steadfast love; and You did not forsake them. Nehemiah 9:17 AMP