There are consequences…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Ezra 10:1-5

 While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly.   And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.  Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done according to the Law. Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.”  Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take an oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.

Be sure the consequences of sin, of turning aside from the commands of God to follow our own way, will be hard to bear.  We can rejoice that what Christ did for us is done.  We can rejoice that we have forgiveness and redemption.  But be sure we too, will suffer consequences of sin as surely as we would suffer consequences of pain were we to defy the law of gravity!  However, our God is faithful to take us through the pain to new life as all who have traveled that road can testify!

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The paradox in the sinful nation…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Hosea 9:10-17

​“I found Israel

​​Like grapes in the wilderness;

​​I saw your fathers

​​As the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season.

​​But they went to Baal Peor,

​​And separated themselves to that shame;

​​They became an abomination like the thing they loved.

 ​​As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird—

​​No birth, no pregnancy, and no conception!

Though they bring up their children,

​​Yet I will bereave them to the last man.

​​Yes, woe to them when I depart from them!

 ​​Just as I saw Ephraim like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place,

​​So Ephraim will bring out his children to the murderer.”

 ​​Give them, O LORD—

​​What will You give?

​​Give them a miscarrying womb

​​And dry breasts!

 ​​“All their wickedness is in Gilgal,

​​For there I hated them.

​​Because of the evil of their deeds

​​I will drive them from My house;

​​I will love them no more.

​​All their princes are rebellious.

 ​​Ephraim is stricken,

​​Their root is dried up;

​​They shall bear no fruit.

​​Yes, were they to bear children,

​​I would kill the darlings of their womb.”

​​My God will cast them away,

​​Because they did not obey Him;

​​And they shall be wanderers among the nations.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Hsa&c=9&t=NKJVP&x=6&y=7>

Will God forever withhold judgment from a sinful nation?  They, Israel, no doubt grieved over the loss of life among their cherished children; but paradoxically they willingly gave up their children to sacrifice to the idol god.  There is a parallel today as we grieve over the loss of life among our children in schools and elsewhere at the hands of violent, ill men and women; and yet we willingly sacrifice the unborn child at the altar of the god, self, through abortion to appease our selfish natures.

The faithful believer can continue to be a light in a very dark world.  A life that speaks truth as Hosea and the prophets of old did.  A life grounded firmly in a belief that God did not turn away from his faithful, he did not turn away from His creation; He sent His son, Jesus, and we who go to the cross, repent, receive forgiveness and rise a new creature, even as he arose from the tomb, can be that light.  A life lived fully, completely and giving evidence that there is a better way, a way of living that gives life, doesn’t take it; gives love; doesn’t trample it; gives to the needy, poor, oppressed not out of obligation but spontaneously out of love, in gratitude to the Lord for what we have received.

Prayer for mercy…

Daniel 9:15-19

And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly!

“O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us.  Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate.  O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies.  O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Dan&c=9&t=NKJVP&x=9&y=5>

 

Can we collectively pray this prayer with Daniel and put it in today’s time reference?

“…we have sinned, we have done wickedly!…”

Can we ask for  His mercy?

“… because of Your great mercies.  O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act!…”

He is the same yesterday, today, forever.

Hebrews 13:8 NKJV – Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, today, and forever.

We do not ask for His favor based upon our righteousness, for it is filthy rags, but upon His righteousness which Christ has bestowed upon us through the cross.

Isaiah 64:6 NKJV – But we are all like an unclean [thing], And all our righteousnesses [are] like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

Romans 5:17 NKJV – For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

May we continue to pray for His intervention in the events unfolding in our time and space that are not in accordance with his commands.  Have we come to a place where we cannot do this alone?  We need His intervening power.  Even so come Lord Jesus.

Beauty to ashes….

Ezekiel 27:1-11

The word of the LORD came again to me, saying, 2 “Now, son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyre, 3 and say to Tyre, ‘You who are situated at the entrance of the sea, merchant of the peoples on many coastlands, thus says the Lord GOD:

​​“O Tyre, you have said,

​‘​I am perfect in beauty.’

4 ​​Your borders are in the midst of the seas.

​​Your builders have perfected your beauty.

5 ​​They made all your planks of fir trees from Senir;

​​They took a cedar from Lebanon to make you a mast.

6 ​​Of oaks from Bashan they made your oars;

​​The company of Ashurites have inlaid your planks

​​With ivory from the coasts of Cyprus. [fn1]

7 ​​Fine embroidered linen from Egypt was what you spread for your sail;

​​Blue and purple from the coasts of Elishah was what covered you.

8 ​​“Inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were your oarsmen;

​​Your wise men, O Tyre, were in you;

​​They became your pilots.

9 ​​Elders of Gebal and its wise men

​​Were in you to caulk your seams;

​​All the ships of the sea

​​And their oarsmen were in you

​​To market your merchandise.

10 ​​“Those from Persia, Lydia, [fn2] and Libya [fn3]

​​Were in your army as men of war;

​​They hung shield and helmet in you;

​​They gave splendor to you.

11 ​​Men of Arvad with your army were on your walls all around,

​​And the men of Gammad were in your towers;

​​They hung their shields on your walls all around;

​​They made your beauty perfect.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=27&v=1&t=NKJVP>

http://www.sipmom.com/2012/06/beauty-for-ashes.html

Beauty to ashes…

God, himself, describes the wonder of Tyre.  A place where a diverse mix of people became a melting pot.  Each group contributed to the beauty of Tyre.  The same could be said of our country, today.  O may we continue to seek the Lord and his ways, that we not share in the fate of Tyre as well!

Would we judge? Will we escape?…

Ezekiel 23:32-39

“Thus says the Lord GOD:

​‘​You shall drink of your sister’s cup,

​​The deep and wide one;

​​You shall be laughed to scorn

​​And held in derision;

​​It contains much.

33 ​​You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow,

​​The cup of horror and desolation,

​​The cup of your sister Samaria.

34 ​​You shall drink and drain it,

​​You shall break its shards,

​​And tear at your own breasts;

​​For I have spoken,’

​​Says the Lord GOD.

35 “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:

​‘​Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back,

​​Therefore you shall bear the penalty

​​Of your lewdness and your harlotry.’ ”
36 The LORD also said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare to them their abominations. 37 For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. They have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore to Me, passing them through the fire, to devour them. 38 Moreover they have done this to Me: They have defiled My sanctuary on the same day and profaned My Sabbaths. 39 For after they had slain their children for their idols, on the same day they came into My sanctuary to profane it; and indeed thus they have done in the midst of My house.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=23&v=1&t=NKJVP>

In hindsight  we ask how could they and yet look around it is not so different today.  Will we escape the same judgment Samaria and Jerusalem fared?  Is God not the same God today he was then?  We are the nations who today practice the same detestable practices.  How many unborn children have been sacrificed on the altar of lust?  There is no good reason for this today with what we know about the body and how it functions.  What is lust but a “desire for what I want.”  And the unborn gets in the way, the idol of lust begs for food and we give it the child that is the fruit  of the actions.  Today, as in Ezekiel’s day, we are given opportunity to repent, turn and change.  How will our nation respond?  That depends upon the individual actions of each person.  What can we do? We can, as believers, keep our own lives pure in the cross where there is forgiveness.  We can spread that message to an unbelieving world.  We can act in love toward the rest of humanity in obedience to the Lord’s command to love our God and our neighbor.

Consequences fit the crime? Is there an escape?

Ezekiel 21:14-23

“You therefore, son of man, prophesy,

​​And strike your hands together.

​​The third time let the sword do double damage.

​​It is the sword that slays,

​​The sword that slays the great men,

​​That enters their private chambers.

15 ​​I have set the point of the sword against all their gates,

​​That the heart may melt and many may stumble.

​​Ah! It is made bright;

​​It is grasped for slaughter:

16 ​​“Swords at the ready!

​​Thrust right!

​​Set your blade!

​​Thrust left—

​​Wherever your edge is ordered!

17 ​​“I also will beat My fists together,

​​And I will cause My fury to rest;

​​I, the LORD, have spoken.”

18 The word of the LORD came to me again, saying: 19 “And son of man, appoint for yourself two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to go; both of them shall go from the same land. Make a sign; put it at the head of the road to the city. 20 Appoint a road for the sword to go to Rabbah of the Ammonites, and to Judah, into fortified Jerusalem. 21 For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the road, at the fork of the two roads, to use divination: he shakes the arrows, he consults the images, he looks at the liver. 22 In his right hand is the divination for Jerusalem: to set up battering rams, to call for a slaughter, to lift the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to heap up a siege mound, and to build a wall. 23 And it will be to them like a false divination in the eyes of those who have sworn oaths with them; but he will bring their iniquity to remembrance, that they may be taken.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=21&t=nkjvp>

No news analyst needed here to know what is coming.  God speaks directly to the people and allows that he will not intervene in what is coming their way.  Instead he suggests their sin has brought this upon them because they have left him and turned to other idols.  He goes further to say the king of Babylon is acting under his direct influence.  This would make one think twice about displeasing the Lord God.  We can see a similar correlation between this  and the child who has deliberately disobeyed by breaking a rule, maybe even one that could cause harm to another and when the one in charge hands out the consequences for the disobedience, the child blames that one for his punishment not recognizing his disobedient action.  How many times do you hear “the teacher made me miss recess,” or  “the principal gave me a detention” or “Dad won’t let me go?”

The difference, of course, is the severity of the punishment in relation to the crime.  Souls were at stake here, disrespect is to the Creator who is the only one who can destroy a  soul.  Christ warns – be in fear of the one who can destroy the soul, rather than anyone who can destroy the body.

“…Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell….”

How does this, or does this apply to us today?  God judges, that is his prerogative and part of his nature.  He is also merciful and grants the way of escape from the consequences of sin that judgment brings, through his son, Jesus.  For us today, the cross makes the difference.  As believers we are covered by the blood of Christ, the sin is forgiven, we are told we are changed into a new creature who now may walk with God.  Accepting that knowledge by faith, we need not fear his judgment and wrath, we can find hope in this life and the next; that we are able to rise above the pain and suffering this world, time, space gives us and also rejoice and embrace the life he gives looking forward to joining him in eternity.

For this we face hostility

Acts 26:19-23

“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,  but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come— that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

 Repent, turn to God, let your deeds prove your repentance.  This is the message that can cause rage in mankind.  Why?  It points to their weaknesses, shortcomings, failures.  We do not like when the finger is pointed in our direction.  Mankind has a system they follow and for verification that their system is ‘OK’ they want all to follow it.  When anyone comes along with a different system or idea, they want to put them out, get rid of them.  This involves the spiritual as well and when we include the spiritual, we are meddling with the enemy of creation.  Does this hinder us?  No, with Paul we continue to stand and share.  The power behind the gospel is greater and able to keep.  It is the Spirit of the Lord that draws and changes mankind.  We are the agents sharing.  Therefore as often happens, it is the messenger that receives the reaction.  We can remember that and go on with our assignment.  We can continue to share what we have received.