Thursday, July 31, 2008

Words of Encouragement

The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its men and their animals, even if these three men—Noah, Daniel and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD. "Or if I send wild beasts through that country and they leave it childless and it becomes desolate so that no one can pass through it because of the beasts, as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, even if these three men were in it, they could not save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved, but the land would be desolate. "Or if I bring a sword against that country and say, 'Let the sword pass throughout the land,' and I kill its men and their animals, as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, even if these three men were in it, they could not save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved. "Or if I send a plague into that land and pour out my wrath upon it through bloodshed, killing its men and their animals, as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they could save neither son nor daughter. They would save only themselves by their righteousness. - Ezekiel 14:12-20

Ezekiel. Judgment Inescapable. God speaks to Ezekiel about the condition of a country. He says if that country sins and he cuts off the supply of food in that country and the people begin to die and Noah, Daniel and Job were there, they would be the only three that would survive.

Not only that, but they could not save anyone else other than themselves. They could not save their children or families, but they alone would be saved. He says if he left the country childless because a wild animal came through and desolated the land, these three would still be the only three standing.

When you read this scripture it sounds almost depressing! Yet, let us look a little deeper into its verses. This country could also represent our churches, our homes our communities. If all that are in these places are not obedient to the will of God, he will judge as he sees fit. The message for us today is this, God's judgement is inescapable. If God were to remove the "food" from the land, we would die. That food is his presences, his Spirit. If His Spirit does not dwell with us because of our disobedience, we will be as the land filled with famine and dying. Yet, you can take encouragement even in this midst.

The encouragement is this, God is going to save those that are obedient to him. He will save those that speak his truth and have his vision (Daniel), those that are faithful through the trials (Job) and those that are preparing a refuge for the faithful (Noah). He will not let his faithful die in the famine, because he will not remove His Spirit from them.

He will not allow his faithful to go "childless" when the wild beast (the deceiver) tries to come through and destroy. Yet, you might say, but the scripture said they cannot save their own children, so how will they not be childless? What the word is telling us is this, every man stands accountable to God. My children cannot trust in my relationship with God to save them. They must have one for themselves. If the faithful own children do not obey the will of God, he will allow you to "graft" in others that will become your spiritual children. That is what he said about the people of Israel. If they being the chosen people, branch refuse to obey then God would graft in a new branch (the Gentiles) and make them his people.

So in the midst of the land that is disobeying God, I can still have hope that someone will listen, someone will be faithful and someone will continue to make refuge for God's people that do not bow down to Baal. When the sword comes to destroy or to cut through the flesh, the faithful will not be destroyed. The word of God is a doubled-edged sword cutting through the lies and falsehoods of our lives. When you are a faithful one of God His word does not harm, but it builds up. For the unfaithful it becomes a judgment to them, because they have not obeyed it.

The plagues, of the land will not destroy the faithful because God will keep them. The disease of sin will not overtake the faithful because they have trusted in the cure for all that would destroy. God's faithful will be able to stand in that time of judgment. I'm not talking only about the judgment that comes in eternity. God still judges even right now! He does it not to destroy as we said on Monday, but to draw people to himself.

Today my prayer is this, Lord we know that your judgment is inescapable. You start first at those that call themselves the children of God and at the house of God. Lord thank you that you will provide a way of escape for those that trust you.