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In Ezekiel 22:30 the Lord says, “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” The word picture painted in this verse is that of a wall with a hole or a gap in it.

A wall was the best means of protection in ancient times. A breach in the wall would let the enemy through. If there was a breach in the wall, defenders would have to swarm to that location and hold the breach. The gap would need to be repaired as soon as possible. If a breach was left unattended or unrepaired, the city would fall.


Ezekiel 22 summarizes the sins and abuses of the nation. As punishment for Israel’s sins, God says He will disperse them among the nations. He says in verses 30–31, “I looked

for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.

So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.” The “gap” here represents the danger facing Jerusalem: God’s wrath is about to break through in judgment on the sinful city.

Was there no one who would, in righteousness, intercede on behalf of the city and seek God’s mercy?

God searched for such a defender, but He could find none. It seems that, if someone had been willing to “stand in the gap,” the destruction of Jerusalem could have been avoided. Since no one was available or willing to defend the breach and rebuild the wall, judgment fell.

Similar wording is found in Psalm 106:23. This psalm summarizes the sins of Israel in the wilderness, primarily concerning the golden calf.

Verse 23 explains, “So [God] said he would destroy them—had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them.” Moses

“stood in the gap” and saved the people of Israel with his petition on their behalf. In standing in the gap, he “stepped between the LORD and the people” (Psalm 106:23, NLT). Moses had been chosen for that very purpose.

The original story of Moses standing in the gap is found in Exodus 32:9–14: “‘I have seen these people,’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘and they are a stiff-necked people.

Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.’ But Moses sought the favor of the

Lord his God. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say,

“It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth”? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your

servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: “I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this

land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.”’ Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.” To stand in the gap is to intercede and plead for God’s mercy.

In Ezekiel 22:30, God uses language that reminds the people of Moses’ actions centuries before. At Moses’ intercession, God had relented of His wrath in the wilderness. In

Ezekiel’s day, there was no Moses. No one interceded for Israel. No one understood the danger God’s people were in. With no intercessor to stand in the gap, the destruction of Israel would be carried out.

To make matters worse, in Ezekiel 13, the false prophets in Israel are condemned because they had not repaired the breach in the wall. Instead of standing in the gap, they simply denied that judgment was going to come.

Besides Moses, there are several who have had the courage and insight to “stand in the gap” and intercede for others. In Genesis 18 Abraham intercedes for Sodom.

Stephen prayed for those stoning him (Acts 7:60). Paul prayed for Israel’s salvation (Romans 10:1). And of course, the Lord Jesus is the master of standing in the gap,

praying from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34), and continuing to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:25).

In the New Testament, we are told to pray for others (1 Timothy 2:1). In God’s wisdom and sovereignty, He has chosen to use the prayers of people to accomplish His will.

He still seeks those who will stand in the gap for friends and family, for people groups and nations. Like Abraham and Moses, we should be willing to stand in the gap, asking God to spare and to save.

Standing Through Prayer
Many more years of Bible reading have brought me to think about a number of additional textual details.

In 1 Samuel 12:22-23 the covenant people confess their sin to Samuel — the sin of wanting a king so as to be like the pagan nations around them — Samuel reassures

them that “the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own.” Then Samuel adds, “As for me, far

be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you” . In other words, intercessory prayer on behalf of the people of God was part of Samuel’s calling.

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On the other hand, a different dynamic is disclosed in Amos. When God threatens catastrophic judgment, Amos intercedes with the words, “Sovereign Lord, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” The biblical text goes on, “So the Lord relented. ‘This will

not happen either,’ the sovereign Lord said” (Amos 7:2 NIV; cf. 7:5–6 NIV). But eventually, God declares, “I will spare them no longer” (Amos 7:8 NIV). The time for intercessory prayer has passed.

Elsewhere, we are told that Samuel is not even to mourn over Saul, once the Lord has rejected him (1 Samuel 16:1).

In other words, Ezekiel 22:30 is just one passage that depicts the complex web by which God orders the lives of his people through God-mandated (or even God-forbidden!) prayer.

For those drawn to meditate on the mysteries of providence, there is much grist for the mill in Ezekiel 22 and parallel passages.

Standing in the Darkness
Next, the preceding verses of Ezekiel 22:30 show that the sins and failures of the people were widely distributed.

The princes conspire together to “devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her” (Ezekiel 22:25 NIV); the priests “do violence to my law and profane my holy things” (Ezekiel 22:26

NIV); the officials “are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain” (Ezekiel 22:27 NIV); the prophets “whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say,

‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’ — when the Lord has not spoken” (Ezekiel 22:28 NIV); and the people “practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice” (Ezekiel 22:29 NIV).

“The need to stand in the gap before God is as urgent now as it was six hundred years before Christ.”
That is the context of darkness in which God declares, “I looked for someone among them

who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.”

There are many biblical passages in which God seeks out and appoints prophets, priests, kings, apostles, gospel heralds. In the context

of Ezekiel 22, however, God is looking for an intercessor who by God’s own appointment blocks God’s way, as it were (not unlike Moses in Exodus 32–34).

With this verse, set in the context of Ezekiel and in the context of our lives , God is  challenging us  to think more carefully and prayerfully about what he want us to do with our lives.

And the need to stand in the gap before God is as urgent now as it was six hundred years before Christ.


Also read this….

Obidence Brings Glory

“Tomorrow Shall Come With Joy”


Joy Chinonyerem

Joy Chinonyerem is an ardent follower of Christ who believes in Living the Christian Life according to the tenets set by Christ himself. She is passionate about Walking by Faith, as commanded by the scriptures and uses her blog, Walking By Faith Blog, to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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