You know, in reading through the prophets you can begin to get weighed down with the negativity, destruction, doom, and condemnation of it all. But don’t. It’s not that God is simply a God of “No”, but Israel had been and were continuing to be unfaithful, idolatrous, self-willed, and stubborn. Their hearts had become so hard that it had become necessary to use the harshest terms and the most painful of punishments — a sledge hammer, as it were — get them to pay attention. And even so, there were still many who would not be dissuaded from their ungodly paths. But to us it might almost seem like overkill — unless you carefully consider our own times, which are full of similar examples of willfulness, an inclination to listen to anyone who’ll tell them that they’re OK, and false religion (both error-laden forms of Christianity and also out-and-out paganism). Let’s face it, given man’s creativity in godlessness (yesterday and today), there’s still a lot to say, “No,” to.
Money won’t rescue
As Solomon speaks of the wisdom of this world (contrasted to the wisdom of God), he says, (Ecclesiastes 10:19) “Men prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine makes life merry, and money is the answer to everything.” But money is not the answer to everything. In Ezekiel 7:19, the prophet notes that in the day of their destruction in Jerusalem “They will fling their silver into the streets and their gold will become an abhorrent thing; their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD. They cannot satisfy their appetite nor can they fill their stomachs, for their iniquity has become an occasion of stumbling.” Part of the reason that men strive so hard for money is that there is this pervasive persuasion that money really is the answer for everything, but there will always be things — supremely important things — that money cannot buy. Some of these very valuable things are in the material world (e.g., love, loyalty, life), and none of the things in the life after this material life are buy-able. So, before you opt for that extra overtime and skip church or take the job with the great pay that will take you away from your family — count the cost.
God sees the secret things
In chapter 8 Ezekiel is taken to Judah and Jerusalem to see things that men thought were secret — worship of other gods. Ezekiel 8:12 “Then He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are committing in the dark, each man in the room of his carved images? For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.’”” When men fail to understand God for who He really is and begin to fashion their own gods after their own likenesses, they begin losing track of God’s omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. They begin thinking that God doesn’t notice the things they do in private. They think that God respects closed doors, lights out, shuttered windows, and closed shades. Think again. God knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts — the most private place in the world, our own heads! “Double midnight in a jug” is just like daylight to Him.
When God’s patience is spent — and yes, His patience does have an end — it isn’t a good thing for transgressors. We may find ourselves shocked when we read (Ezekiel 9:5), “But to the others He said in my hearing, “Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare.” We only fool ourselves to think that God will be infinitely patient and gracious in giving us more time to repent; and it is all the more reason get serious about heeding what He has said in becoming a Christian and in our daily discipleship.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.