Ezekiel 22-24, Psalm 37
Elisabeth Elliot is quoted as saying, "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances." She also said, "There is nothing worth living for, unless it is worth dying for." For those who are not familiar with Elisabeth Eliot and her story in "Through Gates of Splendor", she was the wife of Jim Elliot, who along with 4 other missionaries were martyred trying to bring the love of Christ to the Auca Indians in Ecuador. Her example of standing in the gap and persevering in the face of tremendous personal loss is worth noting. For after the loss of her husband she chose to remain with her daughter in Ecuador to share the gift of Christ to these same Indians who killed her husband. Much of her great wisdom which she later wrote about in her books and talked about on her radio show came as a result of remaining and staying committed in her dedication to God despite her circumstances.
In Ezekiel 22:30-31, God says through Ezekiel, "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. Therefore I have poured out my indignation on them;...". Later, in chapter 24:15-18, though we don't know much about his wife other then that he loved her, we are told that Ezekiel was to continue prophesying, without mourning in the death of his wife. This doesn't mean it is wrong to mourn for the loss of our loved ones in general, but this is what Ezekiel was instructed to do.
We live in a comfortable nation which has really not tasted persecution on a large scale. Yet, like in the times of Judah, our nation is staggering in the weight of it's own sin. Just like then, God desires men and women of faith who are willing to stand in the balance, in our families, at work, and publicly. Even if this means personal persecution. The question we should all ask ourselves is are we willing to be those Christians? Are we fair weathered Christians who are willing to follow when all is easy, but run when it gets tough? If so many claim to be committed to Christ, why are those opposed to God running with abandon over our nation? We all have a personal sphere of influence, a personal mission field. If we all committed and persevered and followed Jesus' instructions in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven", what a difference we could make. Our nation and the world is in desperate need of revival, the question as asked by God in Ezekiel is will He find anyone willing to stand in the gap. May we respond like Isaiah did in Isaiah 6:8, "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: