Such a calling is not for the faint of heart. According to Strong’s Concordance, “making up the hedge” signified filling in and BEING the protection as if BECOMING the mortar of a wall that surrounded a nation, city, or people. It meant grabbing a sword and standing in the broken-down breach to defend the land. In Ezekiel's prophecy, it meant protecting the people from God’s wrath as well as raiding armies. No spiritually brave stepped forward to except the assignment. No one volunteered-nor were any adequate—for the job of standing in the gap and making a hedge.
Standing requires one to cease movement, to be like a servant before a king, to take a stance of obstinate determination. This is the position of intercession. It is moved by sensitivity to God’s voice and man’s need. His spiritual demise, his impending judgment, or his urgent situation. That motivation stops a prayer warrior in her tracks and causes her halt the activities of life so that she can simultaneously prostrate before God the King and swing the battle axe against the adversary.
Intercession is God’s method of preventing destruction. It is Noah gathering his family into the ark to float above flood waters. It is Abraham’s request for Sodom and Gomorrah’s preservation and the resulting salvation of his nephew ‘s family. It is Jesus praying for his disciples and going before God on our behalf. It is the early church crying out for Peter’s release from prison. It is my mother on bent knees wailing for God’s mercy to rescue me from the bondage of sin.
But Jerusalem didn’t have an intercessor. No one prayed for the city that had angered God with it idolatry, oppression of the poor, deceitful religious leaders, bloodshed of the innocent, and dishonest gain-its sin. God looked, but there was no voice like the one James 5:16 mentions—the voice of a righteous man who prayed an effectual and fervent prayer that availed much. The result was deserved destruction—nothing to hold back the adversary; nothing to invoke God’s mercy and to divert his judgment.
The rebellion and pride that separated God’s beloved Jerusalem from him ensnares humanity today. If God punished unrepentant wickedness, which he likened to harlotry, wouldn’t adulterous hearts that turn from God in their love of the sin still provoke his anger? His righteous holiness will one day demand judgment. He doesn’t want to destroy the creation he loves. He wants relationship. But sin demands judgment. Now, however, God listens for an intercessor to lengthen the timespan of grace for the lost, to stave off destructive forces against the work of the Lord, to encapsulate loved ones and strangers in divine protection, to alter the course of nations and lands. God still seeks for an Abraham, a Paul, or an Octavia who will “make up a hedge and stand in the gap.” Will you be one?
Tip/tidbit: What soul might be saved, what situation altered, what life changed by a prayer you pray today?