Today’s Readings: Ezekiel 14:1-11 & Titus 3
It’s not unexpected or unusual that at different stages in life, or as one gains more experience in a particular area of expertise, others seek you out for advice or direction. This is certainly very much the norm in most work places today, and maybe something you are familiar with in how your own family dynamic works – those precious moments when your children (even as parents themselves) continue to come alongside to ask your opinion or view about what to do next …
And so with the opening words in Ezekiel 14 we find ourselves in the middle of the pending destruction of Jerusalem, highlighted by the status or position Ezekiel held with elders of Israel as they sought a message from God.
This certainly pales into insignificance with why people or family might come to seek our advice!!!
I can’t help but think what a challenge and how confronting this would have been for Ezekiel. But at the same time it again reinforces why God might have chosen to reveal his glory at the beginning of Ezekiel’s calling to such a position; God’s revelation designed to sustain Ezekiel for the confronting path set before him. And now at this point in history with the journey of the Israelites, we again find ourselves with a revelation from God about the hearts of the elders; the hearts of those whose very purpose was to teach and care for God’s people!!!
“Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces.” Ezekiel 14:3
Certainly the fact that the elders approached Ezekiel indicates they were men who still believed in God BUT, the problem appears to be that because of the environment they were living in, pagan practices had distracted them from God’s framework for what it meant to be in relationship with him.
‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!’ Ezekiel 14:6
Repent … repent … repent ….
But repentance can only come through a revelation that all is not what is should be …
So what for us today? Is this still relevant??
And of course the answer is a resounding yes. Life has always thrown up many distractions irrespective of period of time and location. How easy it is for us to presume what the reaction of our or earlier generations SHOULD be, but distractions can all too easily be so discreet that that it’s easy to be insensitive and just resort to simply quote scripture (as relative and significant as we think it might be) …
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Mathew 6:24
Yes certainly relevant according to God’s desire for us as his people, so what was and is the solution??
Jesus answered, ‘I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me. If you really knew me you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’ John 14:6-7
Simple, yes and no … Ezekiel was given further insight that for us is still very relevant today …
Then the people of Israel will no longer stray from me, nor will they defile themselves anymore with all their sins. They will be my people and I will be their God, declares the Sovereign Lord. Vs 11
Where I live today in God’s history of creation there are so many options to distract me from the true and living God. But my decision and reaction is about a heart that desires to not be repugnant or distasteful to God, but rather one that is grace filled.
So what is your reaction to what you have read and what God has placed on your heart? Will you join me in prayer, as I humbly pray:
Lord, continue to convict me of those things in my life that can slowly creep in as distractions if I don’t stay alert to your word; to those things that can so easily become not just distractions but replacements for you. Give me a fresh vision of you today through your word and through those you bring across my path, helping me not to be blind to seeing those areas that can distract me for seeing your Glory. Amen