Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 14:12-16:41; Hebrews 7:18-28; Psalm 106:1-12; Proverbs 27:4-6
The presence of godly people in a society will not prevent judgement from coming upon that society (Ezekiel 14:14). Many people claim there is no God because bad things happen to good people. We’ve already seen a few times why that is so on an individual level. Here we read why it is so at a corporate level. God isn’t going to spare judgement on a country because there are faithful people living there. Everyone will pay the price for a nation turning away from God, as Israel did.
God was willing to spare Sodom if just 10 righteous people were found living there (Genesis 18:33). But He was not willing to spare Jerusalem if even three of the most faithful men in all of human history were there. This shows us just how much worse Jerusalem was than Sodom.
After the destruction of Jerusalem there would be survivors who would be taken to Babylon to join Ezekiel and the others who were already exiled there. Then they all would understand that God did what needed to be done (Ezekiel 14:22-23). God is not a capricious. His behavior is not arbitrary. Everything He does He does with a reason: to bring us to a realization that we need Him both here in this life and in eternity.
God created Israel to be a blessing to the world (Genesis 12:1-3). If she didn’t do that she was as useless as a vine (Ezekiel 15:2-8). Vines are only good for bearing grapes. They are too thin to burn a useful fire. They are too soft to build anything out of. They serve one purpose. If they aren’t going to do the one thing they can do then they are useless. In the exact same way, Israel was useless because she stopped bearing fruit – she stopped being a witness of the one true God to the nations around them. I don’t think there is any sadder condition than that of being utterly useless.
In Ezekiel 16 God compares Jerusalem to an helpless and unwanted child (Ezekiel 16:3-5). But God noticed Jerusalem and cleaned her up made her His own, showering her with expensive and beautiful gifts (Ezekiel 16:6-14). Despite this, Jerusalem went its own way, chasing after other gods (Ezekiel 16:15-34). As a result God was abandoning her and allowing her to have what she wanted – a life without Him. This would only lead to her destruction (Ezekiel 16:35-41).
This allegory – the longest in the Bible – reflects the condition of each of us. We are helpless and need to be cleaned up. God, out of His mercy and compassion for us, has provided everything we could ever need and more. Yet each of us have gone our own way. We have committed spiritual prostitution – we’ve rejected Him and have given ourselves over to things we think are more fulfilling. But God is patient. He waits for us to return to Him. Some do. Most do not. As a result God will give them what they want – a life without Him. But the end result of that can be nothing good.
Yesterday we read that the priesthood of the Old Testament was abolished by God because it had no real power to atone for anyone’s sins. In its place, Jesus became the one and only mediator between God and man (Hebrews 7:22). Jesus, who is God, is an eternal being (as are we) and therefore He will never be replaced. He, and He alone, offers salvation to those who come to God through Him (Hebrews 7:24-25).
Many object to the Biblical message that Jesus is the only way to heaven claiming such a belief is closed-minded. I used to think this too. But it is no more closed-minded than thinking there is another way, or even many other ways to heaven. All opinions are essentially closed-minded. Closed-minded is not the issue.
The issue is that Jesus claimed to be God and backed it up. As God, what He says is true and for our benefit – God only has our best interests in mind. And Jesus said that He was the one and only way to heaven (John 14:6). People can chose to be offended by this statement but it is not the spirit in which Jesus pronounced it. Jesus didn’t say He was the only way to heaven to make people angry (that’s your ego talking to you). He made this statement because He wants people to know how to get to heaven.
If you were lost and someone noticed and offered you directions would you get all offended after they told you how to get where you needed to go? Would you drive away muttering under your breath “How could they say that is the way to go?!” Of course not. You’d be thankful that you finally got the information you needed. Its the same way with us and God. We are lost. We are headed in the wrong direction – toward hell. But Jesus has pointed us in the right direction and told us how to get to heaven. Its crazy to get offended at that. Instead we should be thankful.
Even though we quickly forget the kind things God has done for us and rebel against Him, God still blesses us and even saved us from hell. He doesn’t turn His back on us. Instead he rescues us constantly for the sake of defending His own reputation (Psalm 106:7-8).
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