There had been a systematic failure. The infrastructure had completely broken down. No component functioning as it should. No part unaffected by the disease. Though God would seek, He would not find . . . though He would desire, He would be disappointed . . . though He would ask, the answer always came back, “No!” Amidst this total meltdown there was no one to stand in the breach.
Reading in Ezekiel 22 this morning. And as God continues to move the prophet to indict His people for their rebellion and spiritual adultery, He does so by taking survey of the personnel He had put in place to lead the people. He calls to account the pillars of the community who had been given to protect the people. And as He does, it becomes clear that sin has infiltrated “the whole lump” resulting in a catastrophic failure of the entire community.
The prophets had entered into conspiracy (22:25, 28). With false visions they peddle their prophecies for profit. Like lions tearing into their prey, they bankrupt people, both literally and spiritually, with their divined lies.
The priests had assaulted the law, profaning things that were intended to be holy. Those intended to bring the offerings of the people to God, and the God of the offerings to the people, now made no distinction between the holy and the common . . . no separation between the clean and unclean . . . no difference between the Sabbath and any other day (22:26).
And the princes, those of kingly and noble lines, those intended to lead after the manner of the King of Heaven, had become like wolves. Motivated solely by personal gain, dishonestly they led people into increasingly pagan practices for their own financial advantage. Like wolves tearing into their prey, they shed blood and destroyed lives that they might live the good life (22:27).
Thus, as goes the leadership, so go the people. The people were themselves marked by injustice. They practiced extortion and committed robbery. They oppressed the poor and needy. They took advantage of the stranger (22:29).
And God looks upon the apple of His eye . . . the people He had delivered with Mighty hand and outstretched arm . . . and He laments . . .
And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. (Ezekiel 22:30 ESV)
And I can’t help but thank God this morning for the One who is, even now, standing in the breach.
He is the Prophet . . . the living Word of God. Having come to earth, He revealed all the Father had shown Him. Having departed earth, He sent His Spirit to bring illumination and revelation that mere men might know the deep things of God and His kingdom. He is the great High Priest. Having once for all offered Himself as the final sacrifice of atonement, He now is at the right hand of the Majesty on high, ever interceding for those who have, by faith, entrusted their souls to His care. And He is the Prince. The Prince of Peace . . . the King of Kings. Able to battle the enemy’s forces . . . ready to lead His own in triumphant victory . . . waiting to assume the throne which is rightfully His.
Jesus the Christ. Prophet . . . Priest . . . and King. The Man standing in the breach. To Him be all glory and praise, now and forevermore. Amen!