Monday, July 28, 2008

Words of Encouragement

When we turn our hearts away from God toward other things that would take his place, we put ourselves on a slippery slide and the only way is down! Have you ever tried to climb up a slide when it's wet. It's really difficult to do. That's our lives. When we try to climb back up the slipper slides we have gone down, it is impossible without the help of God, who comes and makes the way straight.

Some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat down in front of me. Then the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? Therefore speak to them and tell them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When any Israelite sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet, I the LORD will answer him myself in keeping with his great idolatry. I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols. - Ezekiel 14:1-5

Ezekiel. What shall I tell you? Some of the elders of Ezekiel's time came to him to inquire about the things of God. The strange thing is, God's assessment of these elders is that they are not obedient to him. So then why would they seek a prophet about the things of God, when they do not obey the things of God?

When these elders come to Ezekiel what is the response that he is instructed to give them? God tells the prophet to tell them because they have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces when they come to a prophet, God will answer himself. When God answers, he is doing it to recapture the hearts of the people.

What does this really mean to you and I? It is clear that it God knows the heart of man and that is what determines how he will answer our seeking. We may go to church looking to be made to "feel" better, but if our hearts are set or determined not to obey God, he says he has an answer for us. He does not answer you so that you will feel better, but his answer to you is to recapture your heart and turn you back to him.

What can I say to you? Must have been the thought on Ezekiel's mind when addressing these people. Yet there is nothing he can say other than, repent and turn to God for this is his will for you.

This week as we look at Ezekiel, may we see God's words speaking to us clearly. Today Lord if there be anything that I have allowed to creep into my heart that causes me to set up idolatry there, remove it. If I have turned in such a way that has allowed that which is in front of me to be a stumbling block, help me to remove it. Help me to turn back to you so that I can come and hear clearly from you the words of Life. Speak to my heart!