I wrote this as a sermon when I was working as a campus minister at Christian Campus Fellowship at UGA just out of Bible college. Ezekiel is on of my favorite Biblical characters, so I thought you might enjoy this.
Israel was in turmoil. Babylon has already taken many captives and Jerusalem is desolate. The people are worshipping false gods and the numerous false prophets are prophesying that peace is coming soon. The people are not looking to God.
You can see a connection to the USA today but also to the world. The world is in turmoil, and the devil has already taken many captives. The world is desolate. People are worshipping false gods like self, drugs, sex and many others. No one is worrying about the impending doom of the world. The people have forgotten about God.
The situation is grim. Things are definitely not looking good for Israel (or us for that matter). Israel was a sinful nation and God was in the process of punishing them. They had suffered greatly already, but guess what? The suffering was not over.
Look closely with me at what was happening: God’s chosen ones the priests and the false prophets were leading the people astray. They were making no distinction between holy and profane (Ez. 22:26). Profane means ordinary or common, anything but holy, separate, different or special. It is not as though they had no idea what they were doing, they did it on purpose. They just didn’t care what they were doing. The “spiritual leaders” were kind of like the psychics that we see today, they were telling the people exactly what they wanted to hear.
I want you to notice how offensive to God this is. God says that the ‘leaders’ are like a roaring lion tearing its prey (Ez. 22:27). I don’t know from first hand experience, but I’m guessing that a lion makes quite a mess when it tears its prey. I’m sure it is fairly graphic and not very pretty. This is what Israel’s leaders were doing to the people…they were tearing them, pulling them away from God and leading them astray. If you may recall, in 1 Peter 5:8 refers to the devil as a roaring lion searching for someone to devour.
In all that is happening God is being profaned or disgraced. It is kind of like when someone comes to your house and insults all of your prized possessions. They have disrespected you. God was being disrespected by His servants. One Christmas we had a family friend came to our house and noticed our small Christmas tree. It was artificial and it was not the nicest tree there is. But she said it was a nice Christmas shrub. That really made me mad. She had disrespected my house and me.
God was calling out for someone to stand up among the people, who would intercede for them like when Abraham pleaded with God not to destroy Sodom. You remember he pleaded if there was just 50, 45, 40, 30, 20, or even just 10 righteous people would God not destroy Sodom. Or like when Moses pleaded for Israel at Mount Sinai. We must not think that Ezekiel was the only righteous man in Israel. He was among the precious few. Jeremiah and his scribe Baruch were in Jerusalem at the time. What God was saying was that, as a whole the nation was not listening to Him.
God was pleading because He knew He must punish Israel and about five years later in 586 B.C. Jerusalem was destroyed. Israel’s sin was idolatry and He allowed them to be taken prisoners by the Babylonians and Assyrians. When Jerusalem was destroyed the Temple was also destroyed. When Israek was taken captives in the exiles, this fixed their problem of idolatry.
The same thing is happening in America and the world today. We have so called spiritual leaders that are guiding their followers down the wrong path. I’m sure you can think of some of the televangelists that have have been caught in affairs or swindling money.
Not too much has changed in America and the world. The world still worships idols. No we don’t have many little statues in our homes here in America, but we still worship idols. Things still get in the way of God, sports, friends, hobbies, work, and families. And many other things. What is the number one priority in your life?
God Has not changed much either. He is still calling out for someone to atnd in the gap. Matthew 28:18-20 is this call. As you are going into all the world, make disciples teaching then to obey all I have commanded you and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. What does this mean for us? It means that we need to embrace true spirituality and form a relationship with God so that we can stand in the gap. As we do our everyday things, stand in the gap. This world is full of lost sinners and the tool that God uses to save them is us. Think about this, on any given day you could be the only God that they get to see. Does Christ shine in your life?
Are we going to stand in the gap?
Are we going to save the lost?