Daily Reflections August 30, 2017
Ezekiel is yet another prophet sent to speak on behalf of God to Israel in their rebellion. There are some universal principles within these ten verses that we must see before moving on.
The first is this: God’s holiness must humble us.
The first chapter describes the strange and wonderful images that Ezekiel witnessed. He saw winged beasts, strange, spirit-filled wheels and a man who had the appearance of flames sitting on a throne. He saw a glimpse of the mystery, the glory and the holiness of God. This vision caused him to fall flat on his face. And in verse one of today’s text God says:
“Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.” (Ezekiel 2:1 ESV)
The Bible is filled with men and women who, witnessing God’s glory in some shape or form, collapse in fear and trembling. God is beyond our wildest imagination. His manifest presence brings awe and fear. No doubt, Ezekiel’s steadfast obedience can be attributed in part to his encounter with the Living God. We must see God as He is.
The second principle is this: God is fair.
The Israelites have drifted so far from God. They reject and despise His word. They mock His prophets. God describes them in verse four:
“The descendants also are impudent and stubborn” (Ezekiel 2:4a ESV)
They are like children who refuse to listen. And yet, God does not relent in calling them back to Himself. He sent Isaiah and Micah to their grandparents. Now he sends Jeremiah and Ezekiel and others to sound the alarm once again. God speaks! He calls and He draws, and even as He proclaims judgement and death it is always accompanied with warning. It is always accompanied by the offer of blessing and favor that come through obedience.
The third principle is this: God’s servants must preach God’s message.
God dictates the content of Ezekiel’s ministry:
“But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” (Ezekiel 2:8 ESV)
In this strange imagery, Ezekiel consumes a scroll given to him by the Lord. This scroll contained a specific message:
“and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.” (Ezekiel 2:10b ESV)
The imagery conveys a specific message that God is placing in Ezekiel’s mouth. Regardless of what he feels like preaching – regardless of what the people desire to hear – Ezekiel is called to proclaim mourning and woe. God’s servant must preach God’s words unaltered and unedited. Even when it’s hard. This was true in Ezekiel’s ministry to exiles in Babylon. It remains true for each of us today.
Pastor Levi denBok
For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me. (Psalm 38:17 ESV)
How awful are the effects of sin. As you read Psalm 38, you are drawn into David’s misery. From beginning to end it is filled with grief. He is racked with physical pain, tightly bound in emotional darkness and crushed beneath God’s heavy wrath. Unlike other Psalms this was not written primarily because of a tormenting enemy or a pursuing army. It was written out of his anguish over his own sin.
O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath! (Psalm 38:1 ESV)
David lay powerless in a deep, dark valley pursued by God’s fierce discipline. God loves his children, and in his sanctifying work he unrelentingly confronts our sin.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. (Hebrews 12:6 ESV)
I am amazed at David’s gut-level honesty here. He does not blame circumstances, blame others or try to hide his sin. Deserted, teetering, and about to fall, with the faint strength he had left, he called out to God for mercy. He is not a proud man running from God but a broken man running to God’s mercy.
I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin. (Psalm 38:18 ESV)
Though overwhelmed by his iniquity, he brings it out into the open. He knew God was dealing harshly with him. He was alone, and felt estranged from God. He was feeble, crushed, forsaken by friends and pursued by enemies. All this was not without cause; his sins were the cause of the crisis.
There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. (Psalm 38:3-4 ESV)
How hopeless life would be without a merciful, compassionate God, to whom we can turn in times of personal failure. The Psalm ends without a change in circumstances but provides a glimmer of hope in the Lord who hears our cries.
But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who WILL answer. (Psalm 38:15 ESV)
David’s gut-level honesty is a warning for us. Sin is a black plague. Sin is a grave offense against a holy God. Its consequences are crushing. The wages of sin is death. Whatever we sow, that will we reap. Therefore we are to hate evil and run from it. In so doing, we glorify the Lord and save others and ourselves from countless miseries.
If as you read this you find yourself in a place similar to David, crushed beneath the weight of your sin and despairing of life, there IS hope. Don’t run from God, run to him! You have an Advocate, Jesus the Friend of Sinners who was crushed for your sin.
Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation! (Psalm 38:21-22 ESV)
On the cross, the sinless Saviour experienced piercing agony and crushing weight in a greater way than David ever knew. This was not for his own sins, but for ours. Jesus absorbed God’s wrath that we might not be condemned, but saved. There is a way out. There is a way to be healed. It is found in Christ alone.
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 ESV)
Associate Pastor Jody Cross