He came…He is…

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

From John 3:

16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed. 17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but rather so that through him, the world might be saved. 18Those who trust in him are not judged; those who do not trust have been judged already, in that they have not trusted in the one who is God’s only and unique Son.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/jhn.3>

It may be this is quoted so often it is not fully understood.  It may be, as is often the case, it is so isolated in the quoting the context is lost and the full implication is missed for some.

Where there is already a judgment levied against an offender there is no requirement for more judgment.  The general creation has already been judged and found guilty.  Jesus did not come, therefore, to place more judgment; rather he came to pay the penalty so those already judged could be free of their judgment, death.

Someone engaging in sin is not being judged if the sin is exposed; they are already judged.  Exposing the sin provides opportunity for forgiveness of its consequences.  Exposure provides opportunity for change.

Those accepting the payment made for them by Christ are set free from the penalty already imposed.  They receive life for death.  They receive freedom from bondage.  They receive peace due to a restored relationship with God.

Pray – Lord, long before You came, David, prophets of old, all who know you knew you were coming.  They knew.  They knew salvation was part of Your plan from the beginning; salvation from the penalty of sin.  May your grace come to me, Adonai, Your salvation, as You promised; then I will have an answer for those who taunt me.  The enemy with his accusations will flee.  The thoughts that rise will be taken captive and brought into obedience to You; for I trust in Your Word.

Repent – God, You know how foolish I am; my guilt is not hid from You.  Let my prayer to You come at an acceptable time; in Your great grace, God, answer me with the truth of Your salvation.

Ask – May Your grace come to me, Adonai, Your salvation as you promised.  Don’t take away completely my power to speak the truth; for I put my hope in Your rulings; and I will keep Your commands always, forever and ever.

Yes – Bless the Lord, my soul!  Everything in me bless his holy name!  Bless the Lord, my soul and forget none of His benefits!

Source:  John and Psalms


Reblogging this and don’t miss the video at the end!

August 8, 2013 — Dale Hill

Pondering the Principles of Proverbs

01-Anthony-good evilI’m sure that many would assume that we need no instruction on how to hate. It seems that hate is all around us. People hate the government. People hate politics. People hate religion. People hate each other. People hate getting cut off in traffic. People hate to wait. People hate the way they look. People hate not having any money.Hate seems to come easy. It seems to be the way of life in this hour.

I purposely chose a provocative title in hopes that would encourage you to read this article. Proverbs 8:13 reads: All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.” From this proverb is born the thought that a good Christian will tell all who will listen everything that s/he hates. Most of those who are of this persuasion say they are only pointing out what God hates. The result of this? The world thinks that Christianity is a “hate” religion. And so we have unbelievers constantly challenging our faith with such slings as “don’t judge,” or “God is love.” Many well-intentioned believers have bought into the notion of “hate the sin, but love the sinner.” They even use those words when confronted by an unbeliever for their apparent “hate speech.” A good rebuttal used by unbelievers might be “I love the believer, I just hate your beliefs.” We inadvertently give them the ammunition they need to continue in their disbelief. I guess a modern paraphrase of Jesus’ words would be, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you broadcast what I am against.” (John 13:35) Consider, if you will, the psychology of hating the sin and loving the sinner. Is it even possible to do so? Of course, the quick, glib answer without thought is, “Yes, it is possible to love the sinner while hating the sin.” How do you feel when someone attacks something you’ve said or done? Something inside you rises up and wants to defend. Right? Why? Is it not because you feel as if they have attacked you personally? Until we each get to the place where we are not identified by what we do or what we believe, we will always react against any perceived attack. Criticism is an attack. Criticism is also counterproductive. It very seldom produces the desired result of bringing about change in the one being criticized. Since criticism is perceived to be an attack, it becomes necessary to defend oneself against the attack. Defense is a strengthening of position. Therefore, when one is criticized, they strengthen their position for whatever it is they are being criticized for. Example– When I was first beginning to teach the Bible, I was still smoking. I felt that I should quit, because I recognized that smoking was an addiction over which I had no control. People would come to me at different times with different ways of telling me that I really should give up the habit. When they did, I would always give an answer as to why I was still smoking. Those answers were inadvertently strengthening my position as a smoker. If you will recall our study on THE ISSUE OF LIFE–pt. 2, you will  recognize the principle at work. I was putting thoughts into my mind that HAD to be worked out in the natural. Modern brain research has shown that the body/actions will line up with whatever the mind believes. My mind was being fed all the reasons why my body should smoke cigarettes. Therefore, I continued to be a smoker. The exact same principle is at work whenever we criticize anyone for anything. They are forced to defend their position to us, thereby strengthening whatever it is that we think they should not be doing. What a waste of time and effort. You say, “We are supposed to warn the wicked of their evil ways.” Really? Where do we get such a notion? The only place that occurs is in Ezekiel, chapters 3 and 33; and both of those passages are predicated upon first being told by the Lord to do so. So, if that is your calling in life, then go for it. (Just make sure that your life lines up with at least the same quality as Ezekiel’s.) Could it be that the passage under consideration–Pro 8:13–is not speaking of hatred toward those who practice evil? (For the sake of argument, say, “Yes.”) Well, then, to what does the proverb speak? Good question. Is it not possible that we are are here warned to hate the evil in our own life? Could it be that when David wrote in the Psalms that he hated “every false way” that he was more concerned about his own heart? (Psalm 119:128) Could it be that Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said, “First take the beam out of your own eye?”  (Matt. 7:5) Could it be that Paul knew what he was talking about when he said the “name of God is dishonored among the (unbelievers) because of our actions? (Rom. 17:24) Would we not be more effective in our life and in our witness if we were to develop a holy passionate HATE for anything in our life that is not pleasing to the Lord, or that keeps us from experiencing the absolute fullness of joy of His presence? Hate your own sin, and let the Spirit of God do His work in convicting the unbeliever. (John 16:8)

Take the time to view this comic as he talks about thi
All comments, questions, and/or criticisms are welcome. They will be posted immediately without the necessity of approval.

Sin has dominion? Not!

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.

Romans 7:7-25

 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.

I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.

The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.

For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.

So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.

 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.

So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.

For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,

but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.


“…if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. …”

Tell a child not to touch and watch them; they are drawn to touch.  They have to see ‘why?’

 “…For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.

So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. …” 

Oooh, eating unhealthily is easier than to eat healthy and exercise and so we eat to our death; we kill the flesh!

“…For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. …” 

And so we say:  I can’t help myself!  True? 

“…So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. …” 

Oh yes, the tempting desserts or the snacks.  Just determine to forego snacks and watch how often chips and dip show up… 

“…For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,

but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. …” 

Aha!  And so we continue to eat the ‘wrong’ fruit, acting under self-driven desire!  Eating our way to death!

Now do we ‘get it’?

But it doesn’t end there!  There is freedom from this bondage through Christ.  Christ defeated death and sin; and in him we can do the same!

A free exchange…our sin for His righteousness

Ezekiel 42

Then he brought me out into the outer court, by the way toward the north; and he brought me into the chamber which was opposite the separating courtyard, and which was opposite the building toward the north. 2 Facing the length, which was one hundred cubits (the width was fifty cubits), was the north door. 3 Opposite the inner court of twenty cubits, and opposite the pavement of the outer court, was gallery against gallery in three stories. 4 In front of the chambers, toward the inside, was a walk ten cubits wide, at a distance of one cubit; and their doors faced north. 5 Now the upper chambers were shorter, because the galleries took away space from them more than from the lower and middle stories of the building. 6 For they were in three stories and did not have pillars like the pillars of the courts; therefore the upper level was shortened more than the lower and middle levels from the ground up. 7 And a wall which was outside ran parallel to the chambers, at the front of the chambers, toward the outer court; its length was fifty cubits. 8 The length of the chambers toward the outer court was fifty cubits, whereas that facing the temple was one hundred cubits. 9 At the lower chambers was the entrance on the east side, as one goes into them from the outer court.

10 Also there were chambers in the thickness of the wall of the court toward the east, opposite the separating courtyard and opposite the building. 11 There was a walk in front of them also, and their appearance was like the chambers which were toward the north; they were as long and as wide as the others, and all their exits and entrances were according to plan. 12 And corresponding to the doors of the chambers that were facing south, as one enters them, there was a door in front of the walk, the way directly in front of the wall toward the east.

13 Then he said to me, “The north chambers and the south chambers, which are opposite the separating courtyard, are the holy chambers where the priests who approach the LORD shall eat the most holy offerings. There they shall lay the most holy offerings—the grain offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering—for the place is holy. 14 When the priests enter them, they shall not go out of the holy chamber into the outer court; but there they shall leave their garments in which they minister, for they are holy. They shall put on other garments; then they may approach that which is for the people.”

15 Now when he had finished measuring the inner temple, he brought me out through the gateway that faces toward the east, and measured it all around. 16 He measured the east side with the measuring rod, [fn1] five hundred rods by the measuring rod all around. 17 He measured the north side, five hundred rods by the measuring rod all around. 18 He measured the south side, five hundred rods by the measuring rod. 19 He came around to the west side and measured five hundred rods by the measuring rod. 20 He measured it on the four sides; it had a wall all around, five hundred cubits long and five hundred wide, to separate the holy areas from the common.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=42&v=1&t=NKJVP>

What implications does this have for us today?  First, there is to be some type of separation indicating what is holy and what is common.  Define holy and common.  The offerings are divided into three groups, grain, sin, and guilt.  What is significance about each?  Holy was so holy, even the garments were changed and kept separate.  What does this say of God’s nature?  We are made in His image, can we learn from that?  The image has been tarnished and warped by sin.  To what extent?  God is holy and only the righteous and clean can enter His presence.

Let’s begin with holy and common.  In another translation, holy areas is called sanctuary and the common is called profane.  Holy/sanctuary comes from ‘godesh’  is defined as:

apartness, holiness, sacredness, separateness

a) apartness, sacredness, holiness

1) of God

2) of places

3) of things

b) set-apartness, separateness 

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6944&t=NKJV>

Common/profane is chol and is defined as:

1) profaneness, commonness, unholy, profane, common, sand 

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2455&t=NKJV>

There were two clearly defined areas within the temple area.  One is the area into which all can come for the purpose of worship and cleansing from sin.  The other is the area reserved for the priests who moved between the people and the Lord.  Carrying the offerings and wishes from one to the other.  The area into which all can come is called by the Lord a common area or opposite of holy, profane because it is contaminated with sin.  The area in which the priests serve is called holy for it has been cleansed and as we shall see it contains the presence of God.

Today because of the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we  can come freely into the presence of God.

“…Hebrew 7:22, 24-27  by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant….But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.  Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;  who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself….”

So now, we too have left the common and we become holy in salvation  finding ourselves separated from the unbeliever on the basis of our salvation.  Not due to anything we have done, but based solely upon what Christ has done.  As the areas are so clearly defined and separated, we also can be seen as  different as a result of our salvation demonstrated through our love for one another,  our freedom from sin’s curse,  our lifestyle now consecrated to the will of God.

As to the offerings what was the significance of the offerings, also called holy?  In Christ’s sacrifice for us can we conclude that they are part of that offering?  Let’s begin with the first, called grain offering in one translation and meat offering in another.  This comes from the word minchah:

1) gift, tribute, offering, present, oblation, sacrifice, meat offering

a) gift, present

b) tribute

c) offering (to God)

d) grain offering 

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H4503&t=NKJV>

Essentially this is an offering that can take many forms.  The next, sin offering  is from the word chatta’ah:

1) sin, sinful

2) sin, sin offering

a) sin

b) condition of sin, guilt of sin

c) punishment for sin

d) sin-offering

e) purification from sins of ceremonial uncleanness

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2403&t=NKJV>

This offering had a specific purpose to ask for forgiveness from sin.  Aren’t we glad we have that in Christ?  The third was trespass offering, called guilt in some translations.  This word is ‘asham defined as:

1) guilt, offense, sin, guiltiness

a) offense, sin, trespass, fault

b) guilt, guiltiness

c) compensation (for offense)

d) trespass or sin offering

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H817&t=NKJV>

From this we can conclude that the priests were receiving from the people offerings to be presented to the Lord for their guilt of sin and that offering could be in several forms.  Today we have the offering of Christ for our sins at the cross.

“…John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life….”

A free gift from God to us to make a way for us to return to the relationship unhindered by sin that He designed at creation.  Can we say thank you?  We have been made clean by the one sacrifice on the cross.  We can enter the holy place of prayer and commune with our God because Christ has been our sacrifice and has made us clean.  Do we owe a debt?  Would seem so but the debt was paid by Christ.  There is nothing we can do to repay Christ.  But our life can be a reflection of His mercy to others so that they too may come to the same place.  Perhaps what we can gain most from this passage is again the imprint of Christ on the cross laid out on this temple.  A promise of the coming of Christ and salvation for all of creation.  We too can be a reflection of this temple, a place where others can see Christ and the free exchange of our sin and guilt for His righteousness.

What of sacrifice?

Ezekiel 40:38-43

There was a chamber and its entrance by the gateposts of the gateway, where they washed the burnt offering. 39 In the vestibule of the gateway were two tables on this side and two tables on that side, on which to slay the burnt offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering. 40 At the outer side of the vestibule, as one goes up to the entrance of the northern gateway, were two tables; and on the other side of the vestibule of the gateway were two tables. 41 Four tables were on this side and four tables on that side, by the side of the gateway, eight tables on which they slaughtered the sacrifices. 42 There were also four tables of hewn stone for the burnt offering, one cubit and a half long, one cubit and a half wide, and one cubit high; on these they laid the instruments with which they slaughtered the burnt offering and the sacrifice. 43 Inside were hooks, a handbreadth wide, fastened all around; and the flesh of the sacrifices was on the tables.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=40&v=1&t=NKJVP>


taken from: tijax

There is nothing pretty about sacrifice.  Many turn from pictures like this and wish to only focus on the good; but this is an integral part of the whole of the nature of God and the sin condition of His creation. And so we can conclude there is nothing pretty about sin for which these sacrifices were required.  A parallel picture comes to mind.  There is nothing pretty about the slaughter of the unborn.  And we can also say this occurs as a result of sin.  Worship of self over God’s laws is paramount.  There is nothing pretty about the sacrifice of Christ, which occurred as a result of sin to pay for all sin for all time.  The blessed part of this picture is the salvation that comes from the sacrifice.  Can we truly sense the horror of it and the mercy and love that drove it?  Ho much does God love a sinful creation?  Enough to die a horrible death for it.

Lamenting sin’s destruction…

Ezekiel 32:1-8

And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say to him:

​‘​You are like a young lion among the nations,

​​And you are like a monster in the seas,

​​Bursting forth in your rivers,

​​Troubling the waters with your feet,

​​And fouling their rivers.’

3 “Thus says the Lord GOD:

​‘​I will therefore spread My net over you with a company of many people,

​​And they will draw you up in My net.

4 ​​Then I will leave you on the land;

​​I will cast you out on the open fields,

​​And cause to settle on you all the birds of the heavens.

​​And with you I will fill the beasts of the whole earth.

5 ​​I will lay your flesh on the mountains,

​​And fill the valleys with your carcass.

6 ​‘​I will also water the land with the flow of your blood,

​​Even to the mountains;

​​And the riverbeds will be full of you.

7 ​​When I put out your light,

​​I will cover the heavens, and make its stars dark;

​​I will cover the sun with a cloud,

​​And the moon shall not give her light.

8 ​​All the bright lights of the heavens I will make dark over you,

​​And bring darkness upon your land,’

​​Says the Lord GOD.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=32&v=1&t=NKJVP>

We don’t hear much anymore about how God feels toward sin.

“…When I put out your light,…”

This is a lament for those who became so proud they denied God and claimed their achievements as the result of their own doing without the help of a Creator.  In this poem we can hear the utter distaste God holds for pride and rejection.

“…you are like a monster in the seas,

​​Bursting forth in your rivers,

​​Troubling the waters with your feet,

​​And fouling their rivers.’…”

He passes judgment and clears the land of the influence of sin upon mankind.  God has not changed, but thankfully He has provided us with the way of the cross to find redemption for the payment of sin.  He has gone to such lengths to gather his creation to himself through the sacrifice of his only Son;  and yet today we see evidence of the same pride around us in our nation.  How it should break our hearts to hear and see such disdain for the God who created them and the Lord who died and conquered sin for them.  Readings in Ezekiel continue to bring us back again and again to a place of deep gratitude for the cross and its redemption.  Thank you Jesus, and blessed be the name of the Lord.

Do you fully realize how much God loves you?


Ezekiel 30:20-26

And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first month, on the seventh day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 21 “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and see, it has not been bandaged for healing, nor a splint put on to bind it, to make it strong enough to hold a sword. 22 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Surely I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and will break his arms, both the strong one and the one that was broken; and I will make the sword fall out of his hand. 23 I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them throughout the countries. 24 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon and put My sword in his hand; but I will break Pharaoh’s arms, and he will groan before him with the groanings of a mortally wounded man. 25 Thus I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh shall fall down; they shall know that I am the LORD, when I put My sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and he stretches it out against the land of Egypt. 26 I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.’ ”

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=30&v=1&t=NKJVP>

Three times the Lord tells what will be done to the king of Egypt, how it will be done and by whom.  Three times he tells what the outcome will be.  There can be no doubt left as to what he intends for Egypt and the king of Egypt.  From this we can gather that it is a fearful thing to be found outside the will of God.  It is a fearful thing to reject and deny the God of creation.  How thankful we can be that this same God of judgment so loved the world and mankind he created that he was willing to give his only son for its salvation.

“…John 3:16″For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

“…Romans  8:1[There is] therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

How fearful it will be then, for those who reject this final gift of love and provision for mercy from the penalty of all sin.  Let us be found in the camp of the believers.  Let us as believers be faithful to spread the hope of salvation through Christ.  Let our lives be examples of his grace and mercy.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Sin revealed and sin forgiven…

Ezekiel 28: 11-19

11 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:

​​“You were the seal of perfection,

​​Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

13 ​​You were in Eden, the garden of God;

​​Every precious stone was your covering:

​​The sardius, topaz, and diamond,

​​Beryl, onyx, and jasper,

​​Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.

​​The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes

​​Was prepared for you on the day you were created.

14 ​​“You were the anointed cherub who covers;

​​I established you;

​​You were on the holy mountain of God;

​​You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.

15 ​​You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,

​​Till iniquity was found in you.

16 ​​“By the abundance of your trading

​​You became filled with violence within,

​​And you sinned;

​​Therefore I cast you as a profane thing

​​Out of the mountain of God;

​​And I destroyed you, O covering cherub,

​​From the midst of the fiery stones.

17 ​​“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;

​​You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor;

​​I cast you to the ground,

​​I laid you before kings,

​​That they might gaze at you.

18 ​​“You defiled your sanctuaries

​​By the multitude of your iniquities,

​​By the iniquity of your trading;

​​Therefore I brought fire from your midst;

​​It devoured you,

​​And I turned you to ashes upon the earth

​​In the sight of all who saw you.

19 ​​All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you;

​​You have become a horror,

​​And shall be no more forever.” ’ ”

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=28&v=1&t=NKJVP>

What do you see?  One; a nation, a city, or a person
who was given much and took what they were given to acquire more.  In so doing, they forgot their beginning and became proud; prideful in what they had accomplished.  And from within came the very fire that consumed them.  What do we learn from this?  What is our take away?  To give honor to the one who gave us what we have; our abilities, our very existence.  To accept the plan made from the beginning. A plan of salvation that permits us to return to the Creator, find forgiveness for our pride and in accepting his provision at the cross, escape a similar fate.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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.

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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.

The soul who sins shall die; But if a man is just…

Ezekiel 18:1-9

The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, 2 “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying:

​‘​The fathers have eaten sour grapes,

​​And the children’s teeth are set on edge’?

3 “As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.

4 ​​“Behold, all souls are Mine;

​​The soul of the father

​​As well as the soul of the son is Mine;

​​The soul who sins shall die.

5 ​​But if a man is just

​​And does what is lawful and right;

6 ​​If he has not eaten on the mountains,

​​Nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel,

​​Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife,

​​Nor approached a woman during her impurity;

7 ​​If he has not oppressed anyone,

​​But has restored to the debtor his pledge;

​​Has robbed no one by violence,

​​But has given his bread to the hungry

​​And covered the naked with clothing;

8 ​​If he has not exacted usury

​​Nor taken any increase,

​​But has withdrawn his hand from iniquity

​​And executed true judgment between man and man;

9 ​​If he has walked in My statutes

​​And kept My judgments faithfully—

​​He is just;

​​He shall surely live!”

​​Says the Lord GOD.

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​​”…The soul who sins shall die.

5 ​​But if a man is just…”

The soul that receives the gift of salvation offered by Christ’s death and resurrection is covered and will not die; but the one that does not…

“…Hebrews 10:38   Now the just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him…”

The Lord has lined out the attributes of a righteous man.  He is clearly stating also that we each individually are judged by him by what we do or do not do.  Again, it is the Lord who judges not we.  Have we accepted the offer of salvation and mercy?  If so time to take inventory  and see if we have the attributes of a righteous individual.  What do others see?  Do they see one who has reunited with the Lord of Hosts?  Do we look like it? Do we look, talk and act just like everybody else with no witness to the change in our lives?

A message is being developed here.  A message to us about what righteousness looks like.  And a message that lays the responsibility for righteousness before God solely upon each individual, not based upon what anyone else has done, specifically, not based upon what a parent has or has not done.  In a society that loves to lay blame for what is done on someone else this is a revelation.  We each of us are responsible for our own actions.  And that is the word of the Lord.  The judgment spoken of here comes on the individual based upon that individual’s life.  The penalty for sin is dealt to each one individually, not based upon what a parent did or did not do.  Salvation comes the same way.  Each individual decides to accept God’s gift or not.  It is not dependant upon what a parent did or did not do.  And the fruits follow; what do we look like?  A branch of the vine?  Our decision should be evident.

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8