In a pondering moment recently I was contemplating some scripture out of Ezekiel the Lord had brought to my attention. To give you a bit of history, Ezekiel was a prophet who had been taken in exile to Babylon while there was still a small Hebrew population left in Israel. God used Ezekiel in supernatural ways to warn the priests and other inhabitants of Israel that they too were about to be captured and exiled unless they changed their ways.
The priests had profaned the temple by putting idols upon the altar and committing sexually perverted acts inside. The Jewish temple looked just like the heathen temples of that day. Kind of like today’s church and how it doesn’t look much different than the world. Our multimedia worship presentations resemble rock concerts with lights and special effects while worship leaders drop like flies with moral failures because they are too busy putting on a performance for people instead of leading them into the presence of the Lord. Doesn’t God have enough of His own special effects?
Pastors are put in an impossible position, having to kowtow to wealthy constituents while walking a tightrope with their sermons to pacify those who want their ears tickled instead of hearing the truth. We have a preponderance of programs and pointing fingers but lack authenticity and relationship. Where is the fruit?
What is there in the church today that makes us different than the world? We point fingers and pass judgment yet wallow in so much of our own sin we become a mockery of society with our hypocritical ways.
We bring the world into the church to be ‘relevant’ so we can get our numbers up yet Jesus and the disciples turned the world upside down by doing things differently, they said, “there is a better way!”
God speaks to Ezekiel (17:12) “Do you not know what these things mean? Tell them, indeed the king of Babylon went to Jerusalem and took its (Jerusalem’s) kings and priests and led them with him to Babylon.”
God is saying – they’re already gone, they’re living in Babylon, captives of the enemy and they don’t even know it. The church has become a church in name only, making up its own rules and
rewriting, uh “interpreting“scripture to conform to our desires.
But then God reveals His heart (Ezekiel 33:11), “ Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die O house of Israel?'”
That is the cry of a father’s heart, urging his children to turn from their mistakes. Judgment comes because of the consequences of our actions, not because God is mean, capricious or vindictive. God gave up what was most precious to Him so we could be SAVED, not destroyed.
He gives us so many chances to make things right we can’t even count them all. Why? Because He loves us! Say this with me:He loves me! 2Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise…but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance.”
When was the last time you repented? Do you think you’ve nothing to repent for, that you’re basically a good person?
Then you better…
1. Get alone with God
2. Pray, asking Him to show you where you’ve messed up (if you hear ‘nowhere’ that ain’t Him)
3. Do a 180. Repent by asking for God’s forgiveness and stop doing what you did before.
4. Ask Him for help to stop and give thanks for a God who loves you and desires the best for you.
5. Repeat daily.
MERCY TRIUMPHS OVER JUDGEMENT ~ James 2:13