Israel in the prophet Ezekiel’s day was lewd and proud. Men committed abominations with their neighbors’ wives and even defiled their daughters-in-law. Prophets who had once been holy became backslidden and no longer discerned between the holy and the profane. The nation’s leaders became as ravening wolves, seeking after dishonest gain, shedding blood, speaking lies and burdening the poor.
Israel forgot God’s ways and the nation grew so weak, worldly and powerless that God made them a laughingstock to the secular world. He said, “Therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries” (Ezekiel 22:4).
What a searing indictment! God was saying to Israel, “You’ve so despised holy things, giving yourselves completely over to lust, that I’m going to take away your witness!”
Ezekiel was an older man at this time, about to pass out of the picture. So how did God deal with the situation? He told Ezekiel, “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” (verse 30).
Imagine it! Israel’s fate rested on whether God could find just one reliable, righteous man. Yet He said to Ezekiel, “I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them” (verses 30-31).
God said the same thing to the prophet Jeremiah: “Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem . . . seek . . . find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it” (Jeremiah 5:1). He told the prophet, “I’ll pardon the entire nation if I can find just one man who’ll stand in the gap. All I need is a single soul who is wholly yielded to My will!”
Beloved, today we hear a Babel of voices in the church crying for more relevant, contemporary ways to reach the world. And many bizarre, fleshly programs are being tried. Yet, in my many years of ministry, I have seen these kinds of programs come and go. They rely totally on appeasing the flesh, having nothing to do with the cross. The crowds they draw live empty, unfulfilled lives, having never been exposed to the gospel of separation from the world and its lusts. The world scoffs at these programs, recognizing them all as mere foolishness.