Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 25:1-17; 29:1-16; 30-31
As I was thinking about today’s chapter with its pronouncements of judgment against Israel’s enemies, who are used to inflict God’s discipline on His people, it is curious to note and even rather puzzling that these pronouncement are made before the final fall of Jerusalem (according to the notes in our Bible – I’m not sure I’m enough of a Bible scholar to know this!). Yet it is these enemies who are used of God to execute His discipline! Not sure, but it seems to me, that where these enemies went wrong, was they didn’t understand and I suspect didn’t care that God Himself is heart-broken over being forced to take such action in discipline, and therefore to take delight in, to take advantage of the occasion etc. is so far off the mark that it misrepresents God’s great heart of love to do what it takes to brings His people back in repentance and thus back into blessing again! So God Himself, is wounded so to speak by their misrepresentation of Him, and this brings judgment on these enemies. And one of the purposes of His actions is so that may know that He is LORD (and not a helpless idol?!). So I feel a sense of unease that maybe sometimes when God disciplines someone else, I do not always have His heart of love, but sometimes am guilty of gossip and even sometimes feeling satisfied that the person is being disciplined and don’t weep along with the pain of His great heart that He has been brought to such drastic action! I am commanded in these cases, “to restore such a one (someone caught in any trespass) IN A SPIRIT OF GENTLENESS… looking to myself, lest I too am tempted! And if I need to talk to someone, why not talk to our Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus, who loves us beyond words!
Interesting that Egypt will be judged, but even they will be restored but not to a prominent place, no longer to rule, a weak nation, and never to become again a source of confidence for Israel, but a reminder to Israel of her sin in not seeking her true source of hope! They will truly KNOW that the LORD is the Sovereign LORD, but even in weakness, to know the LORD is a great blessing and for us knowing the Lord is described in the last chapter of John, as being ETERNAL LIFE! I suspect that for us and them – this knowing is with the heart (it’s a relationship!), not with the head (a religion)!
I am intrigued that it must have all sounded like empty talk, because these nations were often at the top of their power, and to tell them they would be destroyed in such graphic language must have sounded incredulous, but for the people of God to see these things take place in history must have been a great proof that God is really Who He says He is! So I find much comfort as I search the Scriptures and find them coming true, both in history and in His unsearchable knowledge of human character! Truly it gives me a lot of confidence to believe His Word – not sure if I always translate the message of His heart right, but I know as I see His beautiful Word being fulfilled, I am loved by a wonderful LORD and my true security alone in life is in belonging to Him!
One last message that seems to me to keep coming to the fore – pride is something obnoxious to God, an affront to His sovereignty and a verse keeps rising to the surface of my mind – 1 Peter 5:5 – “cloth yourselves in humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The idea of God being opposed to me – frightens me! And the reason for such opposition – my pride!
Lord help me to walk quietly, humbly yoked to You today and with the warmth of Your arm over my shoulder!