Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 27-28:26; Hebrews 11:17-31; Psalm 111:1-10; Proverbs 27:15-16
Centuries ago Tyre was a nation in what is now Lebanon. They were known for their sea trade, which made them very wealthy but also very arrogant (Ezekiel 27:2). At the height of their influence and wealth God delivered a message to them through Ezekiel. A common practice of God’s is to warn nations of trouble just at the time when they would least expect it – when they are at their zenith. Its easy to predict the future when other people see it coming. Its a completely different thing to predict the future when it goes against what everyone believes.
Tyre was the center of the trading world due to its location. Everyone traded everything through Tyre (Ezekiel 27:5-25). But Tyre was not a godly nation. They worshipped wealth and material possessions. So God had to destroy it (Ezekiel 27:26) bringing their entire economy to a halt (Ezekiel 27:29). This, of course, did not affect only Tyre but all the other nations, which were many, that traded with and through her.
Obviously we have to think about the warning these passages provide to the United States. We are the driving force behind the world’s economy. Yet we are a nation whose wealth has bred an arrogance that has caused us to turn away from God. I can’t imagine our fate being any different than Tyre’s. God sent Babylon against Tyre and He will send a nation (or nations) against the US. The ripple effect of our collapse will be felt worldwide.
One of Tyre’s problems was that her leadership thought they were as wise as a god (Ezekiel 28:6). Rather than acknowledging and consulting God, the Tyranian leaders consulted only themselves. Sounds like the government leaders in the United States, doesn’t it? I would imagine that very few, if any, leaders at the federal, state, or local level ever pray to God for wisdom. They believe have the ability to make appropriate decisions on their own. But they don’t. And this is exactly why things are a mess in this country.
Money drives people to do evil things. In a couple of weeks we’ll read a famous, yet often-misquoted verse from 1 Timothy: “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”. This has been true since Day One and was apparently a major factor in the decline of Tyre. Having enormous wealth lead to violence that was fueled by pride (Ezekiel 28:16). Also, Tyre’s intense materialism distorted their ability to make proper decisions (Ezekiel 28:17).
God is 100% faithful to His people and can be counted on to live up to His promises without fail. It is this truth that motivates people to trust Him and obey His commands. Case in point: Abraham. Abraham had waited nine decades to have a son before God gave Him Isaac. Even more, God had promised Abraham an uncountable number of descendants through Issac. Then God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. To some, God’s promise and His command seem incompatible. But this was not a problem for Abraham.
On first glance, it seems that God could not fulfill His promise if Abraham obeyed the command. But Abraham thought the whole thing through, knowing God keeps His promises. And he also knew that God needed to be obeyed. So he (Abraham) concluded that God could still fulfill the promise even if he sacrificed Isaac as commanded (Hebrews 11:19). Abraham has complete faith in God.
How often do we take matters into our own hands by disobeying God because we think obedience will compromise a blessing we are hoping to receive? We don’t need to do that. God will keep His promises. But along the way He will throw challenges in front of us to test, build, and reveal our faith. I am as guilty as anyone (if not more so) of letting these roadblocks deter me. I’m sure I’ve relinquished many blessings because I wasn’t willing to see the challenges through and instead settled for less than what God had in store.
If we really stopped to think we’d realize just how amazing God is (Psalms 111:2). The most amazing thing God has done was to pay a ransom for us (Psalm 111:9). Sin is our debtor. We owe an eternity separated from God (we call that hell) for our sin. But God doesn’t want that future for us. So He paid, with His own life, the debt we owe. Ponder that and you’ll never be the same.
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