Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 4 November 18:
1. Ezekiel 5:6, 7 – “And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my rules and have not walked in my statutes.” In one sense, the person who knows God’s commands and then rejects them is far worse than the person who had never heard God’s commands. You would expect an ungodly person to sin; but how shocked should you be when someone who has received salvation through the blood of Jesus, who has the Spirit within them, willfully tramples on the blood of Jesus through sin?
2. Ezekiel 5:11 – “Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will withdraw. My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity.” God’s mercy has a limit beyond which only judgment lies.
3. Ezekiel 5:13 – “And they shall know that I am the Lord—that I have spoken in my jealousy—when I spend my fury upon them.” God executes judgment on sinners to reveal Himself and His character before a watching world.
4. Ezekiel 6:7 – “And the slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” Nearly eighty times in the Book of Ezekiel, God says that His intent is to reveal Himself, to confirm His sovereignty, to glorify Himself, and to bring people repentance. How has God revealed Himself in your life, and what has been your response?
5. Ezekiel 6:9 – “…I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols. And they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations.” God views sin as spiritual adultery (or prostitution) – because we desire, direct, and give our passions to something other than Him, other than the One we have made an oath to love only. God cannot approve of our adulterous actions. Of course, we tend to make light of our sins, but God is a jealous God. Would God approve of the Bride, His church, even flirting with the world? You cannot be “married” to God or be one with God and mess around with the world.
6. Ezekiel 6:10 – “And they shall know that I am the Lord. I have not said in vain that I would do this evil to them.” Again, God punishes to reveal Himself as God. We must be very careful not to take a self-centered view of the Bible and of circumstances – ultimately, it’s not about us; it is all about Him.
7. Proverbs 4:4 — “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.”
– God wants you to have the fullness of life, which comes from a heart that earnestly desires to love, trust, and obey Him.
– It is amazing how the modern church has perverted this simple truth in order to accommodate sin, all in the name of “grace.”
8. Proverbs 4:13 — “Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.” Daily Bible study and practice is an essential discipline of the disciple.
9. Proverbs 4:18, 19 — “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” Everyone is walking down one of two paths, either getting closer to God or further away. Some have described Hell as an eternity of getting farther and farther away from God.
10. Proverbs 4:26 – “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” One of the most important traits a person can have is humble self-awareness, the ability and willingness to see and correct personal character flaws. Most people have “fatal flaws” they either can’t/won’t admit or aren’t willing to change. Growth requires both incredible humility to admit and persistent discipline (as a disciple) to change. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but denial, self-righteousness, and self-justification, can seriously delay required change.
11. Psalm 129:2, 4 — “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me…. The Lord is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked.” Things are not what they appear to be from the very limited human perspective. It may appear that sin prevails, but God has already cut the chords of the wicked, the victory has already been won, and we stand victorious in Jesus. You may be enduring suffering now, but it is very much temporary and a very small thing compared to your eternal reward.
12. Psalm 130:3, 4 – “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.”
– Truly understanding the grace you have received through Jesus drives you to obedience, not to casual, comfortable compromise. Grace gives you a second chance to honor God as God.
– Grace should bring us to Fear God, not take Him for granted or treat Him disrespectfully.
13. Psalm 130:5, 6 – “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” Faith is trusting God in the moment, and hope is trusting God with the future – faith projected forward. The Bible says that the big three for Christians is “faith, hope, and love” – “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” You must know God to trust Him, and you must trust Him to obey Him, to wait on Him. Faith trusts God enough to do what God commands at the moment of decision, though the consequences may seem perilous in the current situation; hope trusts God enough to continue in obedience over time, though you don’t seem to be getting results or though things seem to be going from bad to worse. It takes both faith and hope to truly love God and others. Love is obedience now and consistent, unwavering obedience over time. Hopeful love is never giving up on someone, even if it takes a lifetime to achieve reconciliation. Remember, your life mission is reconciliation — drawing people closer to Jesus and closer to each other in Jesus.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 4 Nov 18: Wait on the Lord today by trusting and obeying Him now, committing to trusting and obeying Him in the future, and by demonstrating unconditional love for others that is willing to suffer unfairness for the sake of reconciliation. Have the faith to deny self, take up your cross, and follow Jesus. (Psalm 130:5, 6)