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The Repairer Of The Breach

The "ifs" and the "thens" of Isaiah S8 make most instructive reading and the description of restored Israel as "the repairer of the breach" is altogether choice. It contemplates a regenerated people, delighting at last in the Lord and choosing gladly the things that please Him, spreading her benign influence over the nations in that coming day of Messiah's glory.

But it had not always been so with Israel. Throughout her national history there had been many and sore breaches in the hedge around her vineyard, all of them brought about by the wayward pursuits of the people. They forsook the God of their fathers; made light of the covenant of their ancestors; loved the ways of the nations. The people themselves were the first cause of the breach.

But in addition there was no corrective, remedial ministry from the main stream of the teachers to whom the people were prepared to listen. Israel had two kinds of teachers; those who spoke to them from the heart of God and those who spoke to them "out of their own heart". As time went on the latter increased and had the ear of most in the nation. According to Ezekiel 13:4,5 these teachers failed in two particular ways. In the first place they did not go up "into the gaps" (or breaches RVM). In the second place they failed to make up "the fence for the house of Israel, to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD". So they neither stood in the breached fences nor did they repair them. Thus Israel was left increasingly open to enemy attack with, as a consequence, no "strength to them that turn back the battle at the gate" (Is. 28:6).

Finally the crisis came in the eleventh year of Judah's last king, Zedekiah, when the enemy came from Babylon and "a breach was made in the city" (2 Kings 25:4). The divine record is full of pathos. "Arid I sought for a man among them, that should make up the fence, and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none" (Ezek.22 :30). Marvellous forbearance; a God still willing to be entreated by a pleader, if only one could be found; remembering another day, and a better one for Israel, when "Moses His chosen stood before Him in the breach, to turn away His wrath, lest He should destroy them" (Ps. 106:23).

Breaches can still be made by the Lord's people today; some which affect the fellowship of the disciples between themselves; others which affect the strength of the house of God in its testimony to the world. It is so easy to make them; not so easy to repair them. A hasty word, a thoughtless act, and an offence is given which breaches fellowship between disciples and may take years to heal. Even spiritual death may ensue; or a separation dropped, an association formed, and the testimony of the people of God is weakened.

Therefore God still looks for breach repairers. He will find them today just where He missed them in Israel. He will find them among those who minister in His house the living oracles of God; men who in their teaching instruct the Lord's people faithfully as to all holy living and godliness; with an ongoing, upbuilding, knitting together, envigorating, enriching ministry. And by means of it breaches are healed here and prevented there.

He will find breach repairers also among the people. These are the disciples who, sinned against by another, go faithfully to the offender with the authority of Matthew 18:15 and in the spirit of meekness "shew him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother". Or again, there are those who themselves first made the breach with another disciple; and conscious of it go on the instruction of Matthew 5:23 and seek reconciliation with the one they may have deeply hurt. Or again, there are those who see fellow disciples err concerning some aspect of the truth. In the gentleness of Christ they approach them for their help, till they walk again the separated path with the Lord's people in harmony with His will.

Yes, it is easy to breach; to hurt, offend, give the enemy a victory. Not always so easy to repair; to heal, restore, win over, pull back from the edge. But it is very well pleasing to the Lord; and in the remedial effort yet

another name goes down on the divine record, as it is written "And thou shalt be called, the repairer of the breach" (Isa. 58:12); maybe also one day to be "graven on the white stone in Immanuel's land".