I have been reading in the book of Ezekiel and 12 times in chapters 5 – 13 these words resound, “Then you will know that I am the Lord”. Yet not once in the verses preceding those words is there a message of blessing and encouragement. They are words of judgment and the consequences of rejecting the way of the Lord.
This sheds quite a different perspective on things as I have been reflecting on the decisions the denomination I have been a part of the vast part of my life (PCUSA), took last month at its General Assembly. It seems the focus of the “mainline denominations” (though that seems to be somewhat of a misnomer) are God’s love and grace. Our responsibility is to love everyone just as they are with absolutely no expectation of them repenting of their sins. Oops, I forgot there is no sin except for the ones Israel commits and the corporations who do business with them, as well as those who make money and expect people to work for a living. (A little sarcasm there)
I am deeply concerned for this nation in particular and the world in general because we seemingly have “neutered” God’s Word. The only word used in context with God is “love”. Though like most words of the Scripture – it has no meaning, at least Biblical meaning. God does not allow His Name to be misused or abused. Over and over again He calls, cries out for, His people to turn from their wicked ways and repent. When they did, He relented of the judgment He purposed to bring upon them. Yet when they turned again to worshipping idols and themselves, He declared His will for them – sometimes destruction of a family, a tribe, a city, a generation; until He sent Israel into captivity and then Judah and ultimately, because they refused to acknowledge Him, He removed His people from His land for 1900 years.
While this great nation was clearly established on Biblical principles and on the belief it was by Divine providence it came into being. There is no historical evidence that when a nation denies its Creator, that nation will continue to prosper and incur the favor of its Creator. The greatness of this nation has never been solely based on anything other than being “one nation under God”. Everything we were, we are or ever will be is based on our acknowledging God who gave His only begotten Son to die for our sins, accepting this reality and bowing to His will and way, day by day. When a nation or a people/person rejects God; the flow of His love and grace begins to decrease until justice and judgment rule and His blessings cease.
We as ones who have been entrusted with a pattern for setting captives free from the slavery of sin are in a very unique position to be used by Him to increase the number of “remnants” who shine forth in glory in the midst of an ever increasing time of darkness and despair. As we live joyfully and invite those around us to “take the risk” of confronting their sin and renouncing patterns of fear, insecurity, anger, frustration, etc. we will have a profound effect on sin and darkness that surrounds us and them. What an awesome opportunity we have to make a difference in the direction we as a nation are headed!