Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Guest Blogger! "Standing in the Breach" West Virginia School of Preaching Graduation Ceremony

Last Friday night, the majority of our family attended the West Virginia School of Preaching graduation ceremony.  Our parents, Denver & Dorotha Haught, were honored for their many years of service in the church.  My brother Doug Haught, of Albana, GA, spoke these words and I thought I would share them on my blog.  He also had some personal comments on our father which I have left off.  

What an honor to have this heritage in the Lord, and also for us to be in attendance of this event.  

Standing in the Breach

Ezekiel 22.  The text falls into three sections dealing with the impurity of Jerusalem and the people of Judah. 

The first section (vv. 1-16) is an indictment of the city with her sins of bloodshed, idolatry, adultery, and oppression. It includes a judgment from God that exile and dispersion were inevitable. 

The second section (vv. 17-22) speaks of the refiner's furnace (or God's judgment) being used to purify the city.  As a fire burns the dross from the ore, so God's punishment would consume the wicked. 

The third section (vv. 23-31) reveals the evil doing of the whole population of Judah, including leaders, priests, princes, and prophets.  No righteous souls were found to spare the city.  The doom of Jerusalem was sealed. 

The repetition of words like "blood" and "bloodshed" is noticeable in this chapter.  Her judgment was obviously related to her being "the bloody city."  

What I want to focus on is that last section, and particularly verse 30.  "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."

Having looked at four classes of people in verse 29, God declared that he had examined everyone and yet found "no one" living righteously.  The ills of the society were being left unattended because no one was willing to build up the wall that had been broken down; none would stand in the breach and represent the people with righteousness. 

Judah had no champions to represent her to the Lord or try to dissuade the people from their wickedness. 
We need men and women today who will stand in the breach and dissuade the people from their wickedness.

1.  We must stand in the breach and declare right is right and wrong is wrong. 

Isaiah 5:20 "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"  The evil of man will never end, but we must not become like the evil that is around us.  Romans 12: 21 "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." 

2. We need to fill the breach between "Thus says the Lord" and "Thus says man."   

Pride leads us to do a lot of things that we want to do.  In 2 Chronicles 26:1-15 Uzziah becomes a great king.  He did what was right in the sight of the Lord with all of his heart. And so God blessed him.  He made war against the Philistines and broke down the wall of Gath.  He even settled the people in the land of the Philistines.  He built towers and cut out many cisterns, he had large herds and had fertile lands full of  produce.   The army had 2,600 men of valor and 307, 500 under his command.  He built towers on the corners of Jerusalem that could shoot arrows and throw great stones.  However,  when he grew strong and his pride overwhelmed his desire to please God, he decided that he was going to make a sacrifice to God. The "thus says the Lord" no longer mattered to him, and he rushed into the temple to burn incense. 
81 priests rush in to stop Uzziah.  They were willing to stand in the breach and defy their king.  And because Uzziah would not relent God made him a leper.  And the king was separated with the lepers, and he died and was buried with the lepers.  We need to fill the breach between "thus says the Lord" and "thus says man."

3. We need to fill the breach between fear and courage.

Matthew 10:28-31 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."  Do not be fearful.  I John "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." 
Do not be fearful.  We need to fill the breach between fear and courage.

4.  Stand in the breach as Jesus has stood in the breach for you. 

Job asks the question, "How can a man be righteous before God?"  Job 9:2
And Paul answers that question in Romans 5:1-5.  He says it's Jesus.  And that God's love has been poured into us.  So how can I not stand in the breach? 

My father has been standing in the breach for over 52 years.  But he has not stood alone, my mother has been by his side through this journey.  Which of us could live such a life without someone to stand with us? 
I still hear my father's voice when I preach.  His mannerisms have been passed down, his way of saying things.  I hope his care and concern have passed on.  While my father can no longer stand as he stood, others are there to take his place. I stand today in the breach.  I am a champion of the Lord.  There is no better life than this.  

When there was a need, dad stood in the breech.
When there was no one else to do what needed done, dad stood in the breech.
When no one else would say what needed said, dad stood in the breech.

The need is still there.  The evil one is still prowling.  Will you also stand in the breech?
Will you do what needs to be done?
Will you say what needs to be said?