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No Where To Go But Down

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Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 39-40:27; James 2:18-3:18; Psalm 118:1-18; Proverbs 28:2 

Old Testament

Yesterday we read about the war of Gog and Magog. Today God provides more details about the defeat He will inflict on Gog, Magog, and all the nations that conspire to attack Israel in the future.

Not only will God miraculously protect Israel by killing off the enemy soldiers, but He will also inflict heavy damage back home in Magog and in all the nations that join in this attack (Ezekiel 39:6). The people of these nations will suffer due to the stupid decisions of their leaders to launch an ill-fated mission to attack Israel. An attack on Israel is an attack on God Himself and God will defend Himself and protect His reputation (Ezekiel 39:7). God has said that once Israel was back in their land that nothing would move them from it. Gog and the other leaders clearly will not have read their Bibles.

If you think about it, just about every decision we make comes down to whether we believe God or not. We can believe God that the sin we are tempted to commit is not good for us. Or we can believe the opposite. What we believe is a direct result of how well we know God. And we get to know God primarily by reading our Bibles.

The devastation of Israel’s enemies would be so great that it will take Israel seven years to use their weapons (probably including fuel sources) as fuel (Ezekiel 39:9) and it will take 7 months just to locate all the dead bodies and bury them (Ezekiel 39:12). Notice that in all of this graphic, detailed description not one word is mentioned about harm coming to anyone in Israel.

Israel is the 153rd largest country on earth (a little smaller than West Virginia) with the 96th largest population. I’m sure all the major news channels will carry the invasion live while the whole world watches as Russia (the world’s largest country) and the Muslim nations launch this attack. It will seem hopeless for Israel. Yet God will miraculously intervene, annihilating the vastly larger forces of these evil allies while Israel apparently escapes unscathed. No wonder that as a result Israel’s faith in God will be renewed (Ezekiel 39:22).


New Testament

Faith is not passive. It is active. Faith motivates us to do something. The things we do reflect the depth and object of our faith (James 2:18). Notice that faith drives our actions. We are not saved by our actions – we’ve read this dozens of times this year. We are saved by faith. When one comes to realize exactly what Jesus has done for them, they want to do something for Him.

If someone saved your life by rescuing you from a burning building or by pushing you away from an on-rushing car, you’d feel indebted to that person. In a similar, but much more meaningful way, Jesus has offered to save us from a more serious death – an eternal death. Those of us who have accepted His payment for our sins on our behalf by His agonizing death on the cross and His descension into hell should subsequently live a life that reflects that gratitude. Our works (good deeds) will be born out of our faith. We should want to serve Jesus during the remaining time we have on this earth. If we don’t, then our faith is pointless (James 2:20, 26).

We serve Jesus by doing things for others in His name – for His glory and honor, not for our own. Our actions should be selfless and for the sake of displaying His love to other people.

The wrong words can change the course of our life (James 3:4-6). If only we could control our tongue the world would be a better place. But it is untamable (James 3:8). As we learned yesterday, God wants us to listen more and speak less. We understand more when we aren’t talking. And it is a lack of understanding that leads to most problems in life.

A fuller understanding can erase and prevent feelings of jealousy and selfishness, both of which have no choice but to result in problems (James 3:16). Such behavior is not wise (James 3:15). True wisdom seeks peace and is always gentle (James 3:17). Notice that true wisdom is willing to yield to other’s opinions. God never asks us to be doormats. Nor does He tell us to accept every opinion we hear. Rather, He commands us to always be sincere – say what we mean; mean what we say – while treating others – including those with different or even wrong opinions – with respect.


Proverbs

Moral decay within a nation will lead to its downfall (Proverbs 28:2). Clearly we’ve seen this happening in the United States over the past 5 or 6 decades as we’ve embraced all kinds of immoral behavior and have pushed God out of our lives. Unless we reverse course – which seems unlikely – there is no place to go but down.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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