“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30 NKJV
Current affairs being what they are – I am praying. I assume you are praying. We all say we are praying. But how are we praying? We all know mankind better humble himself really fast or the clock is going to speed up on our correction and discipline. I pray when I write these, that I can teach other’s to get humble and stay humble – but that isn’t standing in the gap.
Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is from the book of Ezekiel, chapters 22-23 (embedded below the image below for your convenience). Today we have more judgment being explained – in symbolism. Three things really stand out to me. 1. God wants intercessory prayers – we need to stand in the gap. 2. The symbols of fine metals going through the fire. And 3. God will give us what we want if we are stubborn about it – just so we can see it isn’t what we want.
Standing in the gap.
In all of my prayers – and working from home and able to worship or listen to the bible while I work, I have all day to pray and talk to God. Today, I was part of a special prayer for women who have opened businesses since losing their jobs. FYI, lots of people trying to make ends meet this way, please keep us in prayer – it is a struggle. And I was blessed to be able to encourage and lift up women from the same position they are in. I understand the Bible and my God’s promises and I also understand the struggle and the constant test of my faith. I was able to stand in the gap. God used them to bless me and build my faith – while using me to bless them and build them up. As I experienced it, I thought, we need more of that in this world! Jesus is the ultimate gap stander / intercessor. We should be Christ-like.
Metals in fire.
This symbol is great! Now, first we must remember God never mixes up His symbols – they always mean what they mean. Man may give you a sermon and misrepresent a symbol. I heard a preach who was so timely with his word for the church he was visiting, and he mixed a symbol – and of course it rubbed me all sorts of wrong, but God used it in a mighty way and leaders, as well as members, were at the alter crying. So, I have all sorts of more mixed feels about mixing the metaphors. I am a bit of a purist when it comes to the word of God. So I will try not to mix it up – but sometimes words change meanings over time and there are new ways of seeing things. As long as the symbol can consistently be viewed that way throughout scriptures, then ok.
Anyway, the refiner’s fire is a symbol used throughout the Bible – I could do a month long study of the topic and still not touch all the content. Let me just hit you with a bunch of verses you can go look up later (inconvenient, I know. If I had the time, I would type them all out or link them for you- I am sorry, please forgive me.)
1 Peter 1:7 = tested by fire in order to have faith and revelation of Christ.
Zechariah 13:9 = cleansing and purifying His people
Isaiah 1:25 = to remove the unwanted parts
Isaiah 48:10 = affliction to purify
Malachi 3:3 = cleanings for righteousness
Job 23:10 = trials make you like gold
Proverbs 17:3 = the Lord tests our heart
Psalms 66:10 = praising God in the trial or purification
Revelations 3:18 = to add value
Jeremiah 9:7 = testing
1 Corinthians 3:13 = fire reveals truths
Daniel 12:10 = purification…… and so many more!
But there is so much more to fire… like in Exodus 3:2 – the Lord appears in fire! In a burning bush! He was also in fire in the Book of Daniel, when our favorite three Hebrew boys were thrown into the furnace. In Hebrews 12:29, God is described as a consuming fire! Luke 3:16 wants us to be baptized in fire! Hell is a lake of fire. And Jeremiah had the fire shut up in his bones – which is where we get the saying that if you are zealous for Christ, we say: you are on fire for Him.
When looked at, fire seems to have all the same functions as grace! Hold on, don’t leave – check this out: Grace is the work of the cross, and its job is to transform. It transformed Jesus from death to life. It then was applied to me and transformed me into a new creature. Fire also transforms. It judges. It justifies. It removes the unwanted and leaves a holy and pure……
Oh, wait, weren’t we discussing that yesterday – that God’s judgement is coming to purify us so we are ready for Heaven! The quicker we repent and get on fire instead of going through the fire – the better off we will be!
God loves us so much that he gives us a huge amount of material to study to understand this process – and so we know it is a process of correction in love. He won’t hurt us.
God gives us what we want.
Let me hit this quickly since I am running up today’s word count. The description of the harlot is effective as a metaphor and we are familiar with the images. Now, here is the short lesson of it all – if you want and really want something and God said no… but you are persistent, and you go after it, God will give it to you. It won’t be what you thought – it isn’t want you need or even really want. Don’t be stubborn like Israel. This applies personally in everyday life. This applies nationally, as we see what happened to Judah during this time. And this applies globally.
Be careful what you support and put yourself behind – don’t end up following an idol away from God. Instead of waiting for the Lord to judge you – get into the prayer closet – spending so time there. Ask God to reveal to you what need to be changed. You can do the work yourself, without the fire – chances are, you won’t follow through and really spend the time required to do so. Chances are you will go thru the fire – or be given into captivity of the thing you desired more than you desired God’s will for your life. It has happened to me. Guard yourself – get in with God… besides it’s an endless supply of material to talk about while building your relationship with Him!
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand!
1 John 4:4
NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!
BIBLE READING: Ezekiel 22-23 NKJV
Sins of Jerusalem
22 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Now, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Yes, show her all her abominations! 3 Then say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “The city sheds blood in her own midst, that her time may come; and she makes idols within herself to defile herself. 4 You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed, and have defiled yourself with the idols which you have made. You have caused your days to draw near, and have come to the end of your years; therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all countries. 5 Those near and those far from you will mock you as [a]infamous and full of tumult.
6 “Look, the princes of Israel: each one has used his [b]power to shed blood in you. 7 In you they have made light of father and mother; in your midst they have oppressed the stranger; in you they have mistreated the [c]fatherless and the widow. 8 You have despised My holy things and profaned My Sabbaths. 9 In you are men who slander to cause bloodshed; in you are those who eat on the mountains; in your midst they commit lewdness. 10 In you men uncover their fathers’ nakedness; in you they violate women who are set apart during their impurity. 11 One commits abomination with his neighbor’s wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; and another in you violates his sister, his father’s daughter. 12 In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take usury and increase; you have made profit from your neighbors by extortion, and have forgotten Me,” says the Lord God.
13 “Behold, therefore, I beat My fists at the dishonest profit which you have made, and at the bloodshed which has been in your midst. 14 Can your heart endure, or can your hands remain strong, in the days when I shall deal with you? I, the Lord, have spoken, and will do it. 15 I will scatter you among the nations, disperse you throughout the countries, and remove your filthiness completely from you. 16 You shall defile yourself in the sight of the nations; then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ”
Israel in the Furnace
17 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 18 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to Me; they are all bronze, tin, iron, and lead, in the midst of a furnace; they have become dross from silver. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have all become dross, therefore behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20 As men gather silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin into the midst of a furnace, to blow fire on it, to melt it; so I will gather you in My anger and in My fury, and I will leave you there and melt you. 21 Yes, I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and you shall be melted in its midst. 22 As silver is melted in the midst of a furnace, so shall you be melted in its midst; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have poured out My fury on you.’ ”
Israel’s Wicked Leaders
23 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 24 “Son of man, say to her: ‘You are a land that is not [d]cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation.’ 25 The conspiracy of her [e]prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured [f]people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. 26 Her priests have [g]violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27 Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy [h]people, and to get dishonest gain. 28 Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken. 29 The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. 30 So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. 31 Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.
Two Harlot Sisters
23 The word of the Lord came again to me, saying:
2 “Son of man, there were two women,
The daughters of one mother.
3 They committed harlotry in Egypt,
They committed harlotry in their youth;
Their breasts were there embraced,
Their virgin bosom was there pressed.
4 Their names: [i]Oholah the elder and [j]Oholibah her sister;
They were Mine,
And they bore sons and daughters.
As for their names,
Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem is Oholibah.
The Older Sister, Samaria
5 “Oholah played the harlot even though she was Mine;
And she lusted for her lovers, the neighboring Assyrians,
6 Who were clothed in purple,
Captains and rulers,
All of them desirable young men,
Horsemen riding on horses.
7 Thus she committed her harlotry with them,
All of them choice men of Assyria;
And with all for whom she lusted,
With all their idols, she defiled herself.
8 She has never given up her harlotry brought from Egypt,
For in her youth they had lain with her,
Pressed her virgin bosom,
And poured out their immorality upon her.
9 “Therefore I have delivered her
Into the hand of her lovers,
Into the hand of the Assyrians,
For whom she lusted.
10 They uncovered her nakedness,
Took away her sons and daughters,
And slew her with the sword;
She became a byword among women,
For they had executed judgment on her.
The Younger Sister, Jerusalem
11 “Now although her sister Oholibah saw this, she became more corrupt in her lust than she, and in her harlotry more corrupt than her sister’s harlotry.
12 “She lusted for the neighboring Assyrians,
Captains and rulers,
Clothed most gorgeously,
Horsemen riding on horses,
All of them desirable young men.
13 Then I saw that she was defiled;
Both took the same way.
14 But she increased her harlotry;
She looked at men portrayed on the wall,
Images of Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion,
15 Girded with belts around their waists,
Flowing turbans on their heads,
All of them looking like captains,
In the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea,
The land of their nativity.
16 As soon as her eyes saw them,
She lusted for them
And sent messengers to them in Chaldea.
17 “Then the [k]Babylonians came to her, into the bed of love,
And they defiled her with their immorality;
So she was defiled by them, and alienated herself from them.
18 She revealed her harlotry and uncovered her nakedness.
Then I alienated Myself from her,
As I had alienated Myself from her sister.
19 “Yet she multiplied her harlotry
In calling to remembrance the days of her youth,
When she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.
20 For she lusted for her [l]paramours,
Whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys,
And whose issue is like the issue of horses.
21 Thus you called to remembrance the lewdness of your youth,
When the Egyptians pressed your bosom
Because of your youthful breasts.
Judgment on Jerusalem
22 “Therefore, Oholibah, thus says the Lord God:
‘Behold, I will stir up your lovers against you,
From whom you have alienated yourself,
And I will bring them against you from every side:
23 The Babylonians,
All the Chaldeans,
Pekod, Shoa, Koa,
All the Assyrians with them,
All of them desirable young men,
Governors and rulers,
Captains and men of renown,
All of them riding on horses.
24 And they shall come against you
With chariots, wagons, and war-horses,
With a horde of people.
They shall array against you
Buckler, shield, and helmet all around.
‘I will delegate judgment to them,
And they shall judge you according to their judgments.
25 I will set My jealousy against you,
And they shall deal furiously with you;
They shall remove your nose and your ears,
And your remnant shall fall by the sword;
They shall take your sons and your daughters,
And your remnant shall be devoured by fire.
26 They shall also strip you of your clothes
And take away your beautiful jewelry.
27 ‘Thus I will make you cease your lewdness and your harlotry
Brought from the land of Egypt,
So that you will not lift your eyes to them,
Nor remember Egypt anymore.’
28 “For thus says the Lord God: ‘Surely I will deliver you into the hand of those you hate, into the hand of those from whom you alienated yourself. 29 They will deal hatefully with you, take away all you have worked for, and leave you naked and bare. The nakedness of your harlotry shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotry. 30 I will do these things to you because you have gone as a harlot after the Gentiles, because you have become defiled by their idols. 31 You have walked in the way of your sister; therefore I will put her cup in your hand.’
32 “Thus says the Lord God:
‘You shall drink of your sister’s cup,
The deep and wide one;
You shall be laughed to scorn
And held in derision;
It contains much.
33 You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow,
The cup of horror and desolation,
The cup of your sister Samaria.
34 You shall drink and drain it,
You shall break its [m]shards,
And tear at your own breasts;
For I have spoken,’
Says the Lord God.
35 “Therefore thus says the Lord God:
‘Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back,
Therefore you shall bear the penalty
Of your lewdness and your harlotry.’ ”
Both Sisters Judged
36 The Lord also said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare to them their abominations. 37 For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. They have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore to Me, passing them through the fire, to devour them. 38 Moreover they have done this to Me: They have defiled My sanctuary on the same day and profaned My Sabbaths. 39 For after they had slain their children for their idols, on the same day they came into My sanctuary to profane it; and indeed thus they have done in the midst of My house.
40 “Furthermore you sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and there they came. And you washed yourself for them, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments. 41 You sat on a stately couch, with a table prepared before it, on which you had set My incense and My oil. 42 The sound of a carefree multitude was with her, and [n]Sabeans were brought from the wilderness with men of the common sort, who put bracelets on their [o]wrists and beautiful crowns on their heads. 43 Then I said concerning her who had grown old in adulteries, ‘Will they commit harlotry with her now, and she with them?’ 44 Yet they went in to her, as men go in to a woman who plays the harlot; thus they went in to Oholah and Oholibah, the lewd women. 45 But righteous men will judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their hands.
46 “For thus says the Lord God: ‘Bring up an assembly against them, give them up to trouble and plunder. 47 The assembly shall stone them with stones and [p]execute them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn their houses with fire. 48 Thus I will cause lewdness to cease from the land, that all women may be taught not to practice your lewdness. 49 They shall repay you for your lewdness, and you shall pay for your idolatrous sins. Then you shall know that I am the Lord God.’ ”
- Ezekiel 22:5 Lit. defiled of name
- Ezekiel 22:6 Lit. arm
- Ezekiel 22:7 Lit. orphan
- Ezekiel 22:24 So with MT, Syr., Vg.; LXX showered upon
- Ezekiel 22:25 So with MT, Vg.; LXX princes; Tg. scribes
- Ezekiel 22:25 Lit. souls
- Ezekiel 22:26 Lit. done violence to
- Ezekiel 22:27 Lit. souls
- Ezekiel 23:4 Lit. Her Own Tabernacle
- Ezekiel 23:4 Lit. My Tabernacle Is in Her
- Ezekiel 23:17 Lit. sons of Babel
- Ezekiel 23:20 Illicit lovers
- Ezekiel 23:34 Earthenware fragments
- Ezekiel 23:42 Or drunkards
- Ezekiel 23:42 Lit. hands
- Ezekiel 23:47 Lit. cut down