Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 26: Friday
Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Son of man, if a country sins against Me by committing unfaithfulness, and I stretch out My hand against it, destroy its supply of bread, send famine against it and cut off from it both man and beast, even though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,” declares the Lord GOD.
Friday’s Bible reading is Ezekiel 13–18. In the moral turbidity of today, reading Ezekiel provides clarity, strength and comfort as God cuts through the lies and deceptive whitewash of those who defy God and deceive others, and declares His judgment on those who propagate evil and rebellion. The character and holiness of God resonates in this book, and by His very nature, He provides a solid foundation on which we can stand.
As I wrote in House On The Rock (one of the posts I later collected for the Apologetics page), who among us, whatever our code of morality may be, has not at one time cried, “That’s not fair!” and yearned to see justice done. I think our desire for justice is a reflection of the holiness of God. Even those who may rail against a God they say exists only in the minds of men to give condemnation and guilt, have at some point in their life cried out to see wrongs made right, even if only within their own life. As you read of God’s judgment, see in the wrath of God, the justice of God and the immovable rock of His righteousness.
Targeted in chapter 13, are false prophets and prophetesses who have claimed to speak for God, when they have only seen “false visions and utter lying divinations” and prophesied from their own inspiration. Look at how their lies have affected the righteous and the wicked:
“Because you disheartened the righteous with falsehood when I did not cause him grief, but have encouraged the wicked not to turn from his wicked way and preserve his life, therefore, you women will no longer see false visions or practice divination, and I will deliver My people out of your hand. Thus you will know that I am the LORD.”
As God details the sin of His people and His judgment, He also declares:
“But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live. Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “ rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?
“But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die. Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ Hear now, O house of Israel! Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right? When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die. Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. But the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ Are My ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not right?
“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,” declares the Lord GOD. “Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you. Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.”
Read that again. God will judge each for his sin, but He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Justice and mercy. Sin and be judged, or repent and be forgiven. “Therefore, repent and live.”
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publication
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter