Are We Listening?
I know that some of the stuff from last week's
thort was not easy for us to hear, but this week as I've been reading
through Ezekiel in my quiet times, I have just been challenged
to not move on from this theme too quickly and leave the danger
of us missing the point. The hard messages of Christianity we often
tend to skim over and the danger is they can get lost amongst the
feel-good areas of which there are a lot. It is definitely not
all doom and gloom, but at the same time, when we are living in
a world that has largely turned its back on God, we can not expect
Him to sit back and act as if everything is fine. His honour and
holiness and very being has been challenged in the most ruthless
and hardcore of ways by His creation. We need to pay attention
to what the Word teaches and what He is wanting to say about all
The one quote I used at the end of last week's thort hit me again
this week as I read the Max Headroom section in the local Argus
newspaper where again someone was challenging the idea of God being
loving and allowing such devastation as this:
"When we treat God as if He does not exist, how can He then
be held responsible when something goes wrong?" [Len de Beer]
This is just another illustration of the hypocracy and self- righteousness
of the world - live as if God doesn't exist and pay no heed to
Him, until something goes wrong and then call His very being and
love into question.
So this week I was reading a passage in Ezekiel that I'm sure
I have read before, but never really noticed before until this
week and its appropriateness and relevance to what has been happening
in the world.
"The word of the Lord came to me: "Son
of Man, if a country sins against Me by being unfaithful and
I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and
send famine upon it and kill its men and their animals, even
if these three men - Noah, Daniel and Job - were in it, they
could only save themselves by their righteousness, declares the
Or if I send wild beasts through that country and they leave it
childless and it becomes desolate so that no one can pass through
it because of the beasts, as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign
Lord, even if these three men were in it, they could not save their
own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved, but the land
Or if I bring a sword against that country
and say, "Let
the sword pass throughout the land," and kill its men and
their animals, as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord,
even if these three men were in it, they could not save their own
sons or daughters. They alone would be saved.
Or if I send a plague into that land and pour out my wrath upon
it through bloodshed, killing its men and their animals, as surely
as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, even if Noah, Daniel and
Job were in it, they could save neither son nor daughter. They
would only save themselves by their righteousness.
For this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
How much worse will it be when I send against Jerusalem my four
dreadful judgements - sword and famine and wild beasts and plague
- to kill its men and their animals! Yet there will be some survivors
- sons and daughters who will be brought out of it. They will
come to you, and when you see their conduct and their actions,
you will be consoled regarding the disaster I have brought upon
Jerusalem - every disaster I have brought upon it. You will be
consoled when you see their conduct and their actions, for you
will know that I have done nothing in it without cause, declares
the Sovereign Lord."
I think that passage will probably make a bunch of us sit up and
take notice and possibly have to re-evaluate our theology (understanding
of God) because surely God is not capable of doing 'bad stuff?'
But I think the phrase at the end 'I have done nothing in it without
cause' is the key to this passage and our understanding of calamity
in the world. A reminder that God often sees things very differently
from the way we do - disaster, priority, meaning of life...and
So this passage got me thinking and if you look through the Old
Testament there are stories like the flood (Genesis 6), the story
of Achan (Joshua 7), Uzzah being struck down for touching the ark
of the covenant (2 Samuel 6) and the Israelites being taken into
captivity in Babylon; then if you read the New Testament there
is the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) and Herod being struck
down (Acts 12) - a number of stories and others like them where
God directly or indirectly brings punishment or calamity or death
upon His created people.
God will not be taken lightly!
I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again a lot this
year, but I really feel quite strongly that one of the messages
God is really wanting to bring across to His people this year is
a wake-up call. I believe the tsunami could have been a part of
that and I suspect there will be other events happening in the
near future that will back that up as well.
The question is really about how we respond to the call. Continue
in our complacency or lukewarmness...? or really allow the firecracker
to be lit under out butts and be inspired to action. To living
a life that is ALL about loving God and loving people. A life spent
hungering for more of God - full of prayer and reading and learning
His Word and applying it to our lives. A life that focuses on sharing
Jesus with people who don't know Him. On reaching out to the least
of these with encouragement and practical assistance. A time of
getting our hands dirty.
And I guess that's something only you can answer for yourself.
May God bless you as you respond to His call.