[Today’s blog is posted on behalf of a new blogger to our team, Peter Clark]
Think about that for a moment. Ask yourself….is it possible for me to become overconfident, proud, even “cocky” as we Aussies would say?
Have you read Ezekiel 24 verses 1 to 14?
It is set in 588BC, and Ezekiel is speaking about those in Jerusalem who were very confident and proud, after all, they were the “choice meat”, the cream of the crop, the spiritually superior ones left in Jerusalem after all the rest were taken off into punishment, judgement and captivity to Babylon.
Those taken off must have puzzled by the severe treatment they had received at the hand of their loving Heavenly Father. We wonder about that too. Sometimes we may think that there is so much that is unfair in our lives.
If you have read our Hebrews passage for today (Hebrews 12:4-17) you will see that it is set in the context of a grand athletic contest with all the heroes of the past looking on. Here we are competing, looking forward to the prize.
What follows is the writer of the Hebrews placing hardship in the context of discipline. What we see as hardship, the Lord sees as discipline – ” my son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline for the Lord disciplines the ones he loves” (Hebrews 12:5,6). “Discipline” was a common term for training a child. It also has the idea of enduring through the painful tests of life (v.11)
We are encouraged to fix our eyes on Jesus – “Consider him who endured, such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary.” (Hebrews 12:3)
In Ezekiel we see those left in Jerusalem were rejoicing in their secure position and being thankful that they were not like those others who were carted off to Babylon (perhaps they were like the religious leader that Jesus told us about, “who beat his breast and thanked God that he wasn’t like other sinners or that tax collector over there”. What the residents of Jerusalem should have been doing was repenting of their sin, like those in Babylon who were sad and hurting over the discipline and judgment that they were going through.
We can (and will) experience either end of that spectrum – hurting or rejoicing.
We can be hurting and wondering what is going on or being overconfident and/or prideful of our position.
We belong to a large church community with great facilities, ministries and so on. We should be thankful for all these things. But let us not become overconfident, proud or even cocky. Let us rather repent, rejoice and serve with glad and thankful hearts.
Have a great day,