“And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.” Ez. 22:30
I believe that Ezekiel 22:30 is one of the saddest, most disturbing verses in the entire Bible. The whole nation of Israel had fallen into sin and rebellion against God. It had gotten so bad that even the prophets were, “like a roaring lion tearing the prey.” and the priest “have done violence to the law and have profaned My holy things.” But God being rich in mercy and grace still desires to spare the nation. He didn’t want to pour his righteous wrath out upon them, but His justice would demand it unless He could find someone to intercede on their behalf. Someone who would weep for them, plead for them, repent for them, and warn them to turn from their rebellion and turn back to their merciful God.
What Gods was looking for was not unreasonable in any way. It was not too harsh, nor was it expecting too much. He was not looking for a whole army of people. He wasn’t even looking for a whole congregation of people. He was just looking for “a man.” One man. One single individual who cared enough, who loved enough, who feared God enough to put himself aside so he could to see what God sees, feel what God feels, and fall on his face before a Holy God on behalf of the nation. God wasn’t looking for someone special, just someone whose heart was yielded to His, someone whose heart was after His heart.
The pain in our Father's loving heart can be heard in the quivering desperation of God's voice. His pleading tone is evident as through tear filled eyes He proclaims, “I sought for a man…but I found none.” A whole nation of people and God can’t find one man with a heart after His. Not even one single man had a heart to intercede. How sad! How desperately sad! Yet I fear our present generation is not that far removed from theirs. How selfish and calloused we have become to God's ways. How comfortable we have become in our luxuries as we turn a deaf ear to the Spirit's promptings.
God has not changed; He is still looking for a man. He is still looking for a woman, who will build up the wall, and stand in the gap. He is still looking for someone who will intercede on behalf of their neighbor, their co-worker, their kids, or their friends. Maybe even their nation.
I pray that as God is seeking a man to build up the walls of His Kingdom, or stand guard in the gaps of peoples' broken lives, he won’t be forced to say, “I sought for a man…but I found none,” but instead will find us on our knees pleading, praying and proclaiming as the prophet Isaiah did, “Here I am, send me.”
“When I heard these things I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said; O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ears be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my fathers house, have committed against you.” Neh. 1:4-6