Will You Be An Intercessor
Derek Prince talks about a situation in Isaiah 59 where the nation was totally corrupt and there was no intercessor and this caused God to be appalled. God was not happy with the state of the people, but what made him the most unhappy was that there was no one to intercede. Derek says that it seems to him that the final evidence of backsliding and hardness of heart in the people of God is when there is no one left to intercede. And at that point, the situation must truly be called hopeless. As long as there’s an intercessor, there’s hope. But where there’s no intercessor, it seems to him that on the basis of Scripture, we have to say there’s no more hope. The one person that God looks for in such a crisis is the intercessor.
For the Ministry of Intercession, we will be looking at the story of Queen Esther, taken from the Fourth Chapter of the Book Of Esther.
Esther was a beautiful Jewish maiden in the Persian empire in the time of excile of the Jewish people. She was an orphan who had been brought up by her Uncle Mordecai. Mordecai was an important official in the court of the Persian Emperor. At a certain point, Esther had been chosen to become the new Queen of the Persian Empire and had been raised up to position of tremendous influence and importance in the Emperor’s Palace. However, Esther never revealed publicly that she was Jewish. After she’d been raised up as Queen, a certain official in the court of the Persian Emperor, named Haman, had obtained the endorsement of the Emperor and plotted the destruction of the entire Jew nation. It was a desperate situation.
When this decree went forth, Mordecai sent a message to Esther that it was her responsibility to persuade the King to change his mind about the decree. Esther sent back word that she had no access to the King for quite a while. Then Mordecai sent back a message that she has to go in on behalf of her people. She sent back again this word, Esther 4:11-17, “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned, he has but one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden scepter so that he may live. And I have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days.” They related Esther’s words to Mordecai. Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” So Mordecai went away and did just as Esther had commanded him.
There’s a picture again of an intercessor. “If I perish, I perish. Whether I live or die, it’s not the most important question. The most important question is that, I’ll do what I can on behalf of my people.
Esther 5:1-3, On the third day of the fast, Esther put on her royal robes and entered the inner court of the palace, just across from the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing there in the inner court, he welcomed her and held out the gold scepter to her. So Esther approached and touched the end of the scepter. Then the king asked her, “What do you want, Queen Esther? What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”
Esther availed herself of the mercy that the King was offering. That’s something that we have to learn to do, to go into God’s presence and when He stretches out the scepter of mercy, we have to touch the tip of the scepter. Esther had prevailed. The rest of the Book of Esther tells the unfolding of the consequences of her intercession. That’s the place where history was made, the course and destiny of nations are changed, that’s where we become the rulers that God wants us to be. One beautiful fact about Esther, when she went to the King, she did not go in as a beggar. She put in her royal robe and stood there in his presence, a beautiful and lovely Queen. She recognized who she was. She took a rightful position.
The same applies to you and me as Christians. We’ve got to recognize who we are in God’s sight, the position that God has elevated us to. We’re not to go as beggars.
Isaiah 52:1-2, “Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendor, Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, Daughter Zion, now a captive.
I believe that’s the challenge to us, that when we pray, we are to become what God says we are. We are to arise and sit on the throne that God has offered us, that we may rule with him in prayer and intercession. We’ve looked at a situation where God found an intercessor, where the situation was saved, a nation was saved, history was changed.
What does the Bible say about situations where there was no intercessor?
Isaiah 59:12-15, “For our offences are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offences are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, inciting revolt and oppression, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
This is a terrible catalog of the sins and the backsliding, it’s a picture of unredeemed, unrelieved failure, wickedness. In the middle of verse 15, the Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one and he was uphold that there’s no one to intercede. The worst part of the entire situation was not the wickedness of the people that was bad enough. But the final thing that made God uphold that he could hardly conceive, was that no one to intercede. That’s the final evidence of backsliding and the hardness of heart in the people of God, when there’s no one left to intercede. At that point, the situation must truly be called hopeless. As long as there’s an intercessor, there’s hope. But when there’s no more intercessor, based on the scripture, there’s no more hope.
We’ve looked at a situation on Isaiah 59 where the nation was total corrupt and there was no intercessor and this caused God to be uphold. The same situation was portrayed in Ezekiel 22:23-24, “Again the word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, say to the land, “You are a land that has not been cleansed or rained on in the day of wrath.”
When the land is wicked and backslidden, the only thing that can cleanse it is the rain, not the literal rain, but the rain of God’s Holy Spirit. It is time to seek the Lord until He come and rain righteousness upon us. That’s the kind of rain that can cleanse our land.
There are 4 categories of people: Prophets, Priests, Princes, and People. It is significant that God begins His catalog of wrong doing, with the prophets and with the priests. The princes are secular rulers. But God doesn’t lay the blame primarily at the door of the secular rulers. He lays the blame primarily at the door of the spiritual leaders, the prophets, and the priests. The prophet is the one whose responsibility is to declare the council of God, the God’s people. The priest is the one who cares for the daily lives of the congregation of God’s people. Ezekiel 22:25-29 says, “There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her. Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. Her 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. The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and ill-treat the foreigner, denying them justice.”
What was the general guilt of all of them? It could be summed up in the phrase, the ruthless pursuit of selfish ends. Everyone was putting his own gain, his own selfish ends, before his fellowmen and before the interest of God. All sections of the entire nation are held guilty before God. The Prophets, the Priests, the Princes, and the People. How did God respond to this desperate situation of wickedness? In Ezekiel 22:30-31 it 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 that 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.’
In this desperate situation, God did not look for a large group, He did not necessarily go to the rulers or even the prophets, or the priests. But He looked for one man, what kind of a man? A man who’d stand in the gap before Him for the land. What kind of a person is it who’d stand in the gap before Him for a land, for a city, for a nation? It’s an intercessor One of the most tragic statements of scripture is there at the end of verse 30 where God says, found no one. It indicates that even in that desperate situation, one intercessor could have changed the whole course of history, and could have prevailed with God to the sparing of the judgment that came upon God’s people. But when God can find no more intercessor, then there was no more hope.
Again, as long as there’s an intercessor, there is hope. But when there’s no more intercessor, there’s no more hope. How do you see the land of America today? Isn’t it in many ways very much like the situation in Ezekiel’s day? Isn’t there guilt and failure on the part of almost every section of the populus, the prophets, the priests, the secular rulers, and the people at large? What is God’s response?
God is looking for a man or a woman to stand in the gap, an intercessor. Will you offer yourself to God for this ministry? Will you be an intercessor?