Friday, June 29, 2012

What?! That's in the Bible?! Ezekiel 20.32-33

The thing rising up in your soul won't happen, that is, you are saying,
"We will be like the pagans,
like the families of the of the lands
by serving tree and stone."

I'm Alive--My Lord Yahweh's edict--
I will definitely rule over you as King
with [My] Hand Strong
and with [My] Arm Stretched Out
and with [My] Wrath Poured Out

There are to shocking things here. The first is something we don't expect God's people to say, the second is something we may forget Yahweh has said.

The Israelis were God's chosen people, the ethnic group as a whole have a covenantal relationship with Yahweh, that is, God loves them as His Favorites, that is the nation/ethnicity of Israel is Yahweh's personal friend. He has their back and loves them. They are the people, the only people, in the whole world who know the real God, the Living God, the God Who created the trees and the mountains. Yet, the shocking thing is, they say they don't want the real God, they want the fake "gods" that all there other friends have. Yet, that is not the only thing that shocking, what is perhaps more shocking is that the temptations have not changed that much. We still want to be like all the people we live around, among, or who live around us. We still want to be like the people that don’t know God. We want to worship false gods just as much today as before. Our friends and our neighbors and our culture pull us away just as strongly today. How often do we think, “I’ll be like everyone else, then I’ll be cool, then I’ll fit in, then I’ll be really happy.” We think we can stay cool with God, while we think, feel, and act like people who wouldn’t know Yahweh if He slapped them upside the head. That’s a lie thousands of years old. We cannot want that which by definition is what God’s people hate and don’t want, so let’s not. That is Ezekiel’s point.

Yet, not only do the Israelis arrogantly reject God, they arrogantly proclaim themselves the rules of their own destiny. They have this passion, this idea that they will, that they will definitely be like their friends. They think of themselves as their master. To put the verse in today's language,

"Just You watch, we WILL be like the people who don't know God, we WILL wait on the wooden and stone statues hand and foot! We WILL! Go head! Try and Stop us!

Yet, the scary truth is that this is not just a phenomenon of the past. This is not something that people used to do. This is something that we do. Yet, I doubt we really admit that our hearts don't long to worship and obey and accomplish Yahweh's every desire. NO, sadly, we say the same thing in our hearts, that they said in theirs:

"God can't make me love and obey Him, He can't stop me from loving and serving the things and people I really want! I'm in control of my own life, and if I want to worship and wait hand and foot on Bhudda or Allah or Politics or Money or Education or Sex or Self or Power or Convenience or whatever, I will!"

Or to put it more succinctly: I'll live my life how I want, and You can’t stop me just cause You don’t like it!

The truth is we tell ourselves that we are in control of our own lives as much as we tell us ourselves we will be like the world, we will fit in, we will be all smart and know better that God and serve the real "god" Money, or whatever! This another lie thousands of years old. Only Yahweh, the Creator of all our substitute “gods,” is in control of our lives, not us. No matter how hard we try, we can’t control what happens to us, and in truth we can’t guarantee our responses either. We may be responsible for what we do, but if we think for one moment that we are in total control of everything having to do with us, we are playing God, and our God don’t play with people who play God.

But as shocking as it is that this is what we are like if we search our hearts, many times, hat is even more shocking is how Yahweh responds to His Chosen People.

Yahweh basically says, "Oh, you want to fight? Fine, I'll beat you up and make you face My Anger! I'll dominate you and rule you as a king and there ain't nothing you can do about it!

If you want to try and arm wrestle God for His Deserved Glory and Worship, He will straight up slam your hand so hard against the table in victory that every bone will shatter, so you will do what He says. Our God don't play!

The people--we--say, "We're in control! We'll serve Concrete and Steel if we want to! We'll serve the same powerless pawns as everyone else!" But Yahweh says, "I'm the Real Living God! You're not in control! I am. And I will be Your God whether you want me or not!"

This is a threat, for sure, but it is also a comfort to those of us who really are His People in Christ today. Because as much as it threatens, and as much as it predicts, the purpose is one that is pure grace to the chosen loved ones of God! You’re probably thinking that’s a stretch, but consider that this is a promise that if we are really God’s loved one, then He will do whatever it takes to be our God, even if it means crushing us and beating the stupidness and rebellion and arrogance out of us. For God’s chosen people, then like today, Yahweh will make sure He is their God. There is no stopping Him. We is great news for us rebellious, arrogant sinners. But it is also terrifying news intended to bring the Israelis as well as us back to repentance, because let’s face it, none of us wants to get smashed by God, none us wants to get ruthlessly dominated by God. We want to get graciously dominated!

It would be a misinterpretation to think that God is threatening us, so that we can merely do nice things so we can rule our own lives. NO WAY! Yahweh is calling us to be humble and enjoy His Lordship, because we are under it whether we want it or not. The truth is this calls us back to serving Him, to worshiping Him, to obeying Him like the God He is, because the facts are in and we will one way or another!

So these two verses are a call to repentance for us today as much as they were to the people of Judah when they were written. So let’s repent! Yet, understand that comfort and grace is only found in humility and love for Yahweh the King. If you have trusted in Christ, this is for you. This is a call to return to the God Who saved you!

But if you have not trusted in Christ to give you His clean slate instead of the dirty fouled up mess of a slate you have right now, then these verses are calling you to come to Jesus for that clean slate and to stop wanting to play and actually playing God, because Yahweh has to be the God you love and obey, you King, before these verses can apply to you, that is before you will want these verses to be true. Until you are with Yahweh, you are against Him, and when He comes back it won’t be pretty for you, and then the forever after you get after He kills you will be worse than that execution.

But maybe your life is awful right now and you don’t know why. The truth is then that this verse may be great comfort to you, because it may show that God wants you and that you are His, but you can only know that you are one of God’s chosen when you embrace Him as your King and Savior! So if your life is miserable God is drawing you to Him, He is making you see He is God and you need Him, so trust that Jesus is Yahweh and that He died for all the times you will ever play God and rose from the dead to give you a new life and a citizenship in His Kingdom, and that He is calling you to a life where God is God and you stop trying to play God! Do it NOW, because you might not get another chance!

Let me know if you did accept Jesus as your King and Savior so I can help you grow in you new relationship with Jesus as your King and Savior!

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