Today you should read: Ezekiel 10
“Do you have a moment I have a request I need you to handle discreetly. I am going into a meeting, no calls so just reply my email.” The staff gets emails like this from “Pastor Tim Parsons” every once in a while.
The first time I got one of these emails it surprised me. It didn’t seem right somehow. At that point, I clicked the name at the top of the email “Pastor Tim Parsons” and lo-and-behold, it was from some random email address—onlinepastor123@_____.com or pastormail@_____.com. In other words, it’s a scam. Some of the staff have responded for fun and inevitably these scammers are trying to get us to send them gift cards.
My point is this, I immediately and instinctively knew these emails were fake, not because I’m some great online crime detective, but because I know the man these emails were claiming to represent. It was my knowledge of the character of the man that helped me discern the inconsistency of the message.
Sin is like the scam email—it’s a message for you and you alone, it requires discretion and secrecy, and it demands immediate response/gratification without pause to authenticate. The deceitfulness of sin tricks us to believe a lie over the character of Christ. We believe the message over the man.
These lies appear in Scripture and nothing is clearer than Malachi 3:14–15 when the Lord states, “You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’” In other words, God does not punish evildoers who continuously prosper so what is the point in keeping His commands? Ezekiel, and especially chapter 10 illustrate the answer.
Because Israel had doubted God’s character and defied Him, God sent Israel into Exile. From Babylon, Ezekiel was given a vision of Jerusalem and the idolatry prevailing—even in the Temple courts. Chapter 10, for all it’s difficult imagery, simply prophesies God’s presence leaving the Temple because the city will soon be destroyed by Babylon (For help understanding the particulars of the text, I recommend Constable’s Notes as a great free online commentary).
God’s character is consistent in Scripture. We must bury the truth of 2nd Peter 3:9 deep in our hearts. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” It’s a mistake to exchange patience for inability or inactivity. How many times has God been charged with inability or inactivity in 2020? God can’t you heal or fix the pandemic? God what about my job? God what about oppression, injustice, or violence? God what about the loud idiots who don’t agree with me? With a loud voice, many people shout “DO SOMETHING GOD!”
Perhaps it’s time for those of us shouting at God to “do something” to recognize what He has done and get to work. Right now, is a season where almost every idol has been crushed. The God-shaped hole in people’s lives has never been so felt. The need for a relationship with Christ has never been so clearly demonstrated. How do we respond? Facebook offers a depressingly simple answer—we’ve been fighting over those same fractured idols. Instead of asking God to do something, maybe it’s time to ask God, “What would you have me do?”
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate
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