By Zac Poonen
“I searched for ONE MAN among them who should build up the wall and stand before Me….. but I did not find even one man” (Ezek. 22:30). In the history of the world, of Israel and of the church, we see a number of examples of how God has very often been dependent on just ONE man in a particular situation to accomplish His purposes. But one man with God is always a majority.
Noah: When the whole world was filled with wickedness and rebellion against God, in Noah’s time, although there were eight God-fearing people on the earth, yet the fulfillment of God’s purposes depended entirely on the faithfulness of just one man, Noah. Noah was the only man who found favour in God’s eyes at that time (Gen.6:8). If that one man had been unfaithful to God, the entire human race would have been wiped out, and none of us would have been alive today!! We can certainly thank God that Noah remained faithful. Jesus said that the last days would be like the days of Noah. The sexual perversion and violence of the days of Noah would characterise the last days too. This is the time that we are living in today. And so, uncompromising men like Noah are what God needs even today.
Elijah: Consider another time in Israel’s history, when Ahab made everyone worship Baal. There were 7000 men at that time in Israel, who refused to worship Baal (1 Kin.19:18). That was undoubtedly a bold and creditable stand to take. But such a testimony was still a negative one: They did NOT worship idols. This is like the negative testimony that many believers have today – they do not smoke, they do not gamble, etc. But God could not use even one of these 7000 men to accomplish His purposes in Israel at that time. For that, God needed an Elijah. Ahab was not afraid of these 7000 “believers”. But he was afraid of Elijah. These 7000 men no doubt prayed to God; but their prayers could not bring fire down from heaven. It was the prayer of Elijah that did that. The prayers of all believers are not equal in their effect in God’s presence. The Bible says in relation to Elijah, that “the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16-18). One man single-handedly, turned a whole nation back to God, routed the forces of wickedness and killed all the prophets of Baal. It is through one faithful man, and not through a multitude, that God’s purposes are accomplished, even today.
Elisha: There were fifty “sons of the prophets” (Bible-school students) in Elijah’s time who were all hoping to be prophets in Israel one day. But the Spirit of God bypassed all of them and came upon Elisha, who was not a “son of a prophet” (2 Kin.2:7,15). Elisha was known in Israel only as a servant – “one who used to pour water on Elijah’s hands” (2 Kin.3:11). When the army of the king of Aram attacked Israel, none of these fifty Bible-scholars could protect Israel – for although they may have studied the Law of Moses in their Bible-school, they did not know God. Only Elisha, who was the only man in Israel who was in touch with God, could forewarn the nation as to where exactly the enemy would attack. Today also, the main function of a prophet is similar: to warn God’s people in advance of where Satan will attack them. One prophet like Elisha, in a church today, can save God’s people from spiritual calamity more than fifty preachers (“sons of the prophets”). Bible-knowledge is of no use if a man cannot hear the Spirit’s voice. Only a man who can hear God’s voice can save a church from Satan’s schemes and attacks. The prophets of old were also called “SEERS” (“those who can SEE into the future with God-given vision” – 1 Sam.9:9). They knew where the enemy would attack, and could foresee the dangers of taking a particular course of action. The church today greatly needs such seers.
Daniel: When God wanted to bring the Israelites out of Egypt into Canaan, He needed a man. He found Moses. When He wanted to bring the Jews out of Babylon into Jerusalem, He needed another man. He found Daniel. Daniel had been faithful from his youth and had passed every test with flying colours. As a young teenager in Babylon, he took a firm stand for the Lord. “He determined in his heart that he would not defile himself” (Dan.1:8) – a good verse for all young people to remember. Whereas all the other young Jews readily ate the food served on the king’s table for fear of the king (food that God had forbidden in Leviticus), Daniel alone refused to eat it. There were three other young men at that table that day, who saw Daniel take a stand, and joined him. Daniel and those three men then became a powerful influence for God in Babylon. 70 years later, when Daniel was nearly 90 years old, his prayers triggered the movement of the Jews from Babylon back to Jerusalem. Today also there is a movement of God’s people from spiritual Babylon (the false church) towards spiritual Jerusalem (the Body of Christ). And for such a movement too, God needs men. There are many today, who are like Daniel’s three friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (Dan.1:11). They are eager to stand for the Lord, but they don’t have the courage to do so on their own. They are waiting for a Daniel to lead them. And so God is again looking for Daniels.
God needs a pure testimony for His Name in EVERY generation. And He will not leave Himself without a witness even in our generation. Will you pay the price to be wholly available to God in this generation?