16 The word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds. Their ways before me were like the uncleanness of a woman in her menstrual impurity. 18 So I poured out my wrath upon them for the blood that they had shed in the land, for the idols with which they had defiled it. 19 I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries. In accordance with their ways and their deeds I judged them. 20 But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they had to go out of his land.’ 21 But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came.
For the Sake of My Holy Name
22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.
Yesterday we looked at Romans 14 which speaks of Christians having mercy in their judgements upon each other - God has a plan for the people living in faith seeking to please Him. And we talked about mental health saying black and white viewpoints are not a good thing when taken to extremes. And recently I wrote of The Red Tent seeing Jacob as a biblical Neanderthal. Critics of the Bible say God speaks in vengeance as a voice only of the biblical Neanderthal.
After all it's all about balance. Well, it is for people. We trust our own judgement on every decision we make. The Scriptures God gives us establish goodness and righteousness. This is extremely needed and useful in building up civilization. Civilization, without the Scriptures, is about power and fear. Civilization seeking to distance themselves from God, afraid of offending anyone, is about winding ourselves apart.
In mercy in love, we trust each other to be kind about our weaknesses. In truth in love, we ask people to respect each other for our gifts and virtues. Without this goodness, we are at the mercy of one another. We resort to slavery, physical gratification in sex and food, taking what we need instead of believing we can earn it, narcissism/prostitution instead of true love, substance abuse and violence instead of diligence, and power instead of communication. We can all name various perversions off of the top of our head, but if you look in Leviticus and the Books of Law in the Scripture, there are things never even remotely mentioned in our newspapers named as immoral in the Books of the Law. Thank You, Jesus. For giving us righteousness.
God never goes suddenly forth swinging a meat cleaver. Ezekiel is speaking as a priest of God and a prophet. Ezekiel is explaining why destruction has befallen Judah, Israel, the Temple of God and the God's children. He is using an analogy of hidden sin. Malice people use against each other and it begins to rob life. I recently read an article of a woman who had 3 sisters and they all married verbally abusive men, the common denominator was a mother who was a central person in her Church and that mother was completely two faced to and about other women in her Church. A charming individual to the face and expert critic, verbal desiccator behind backs. Her daughters married abusive men believing finally they had found someone to speak the truth.
Perhaps the key ingredient of our winding down is the failure to love one another as ourselves. We all fall short of this, but mercy goes a long way.
The Temple had been used by the Children of God as a means of outward righteousness, but only a show. Will God our Father leave us in our mistakes, our hurt, our deliberate sin? No, in His mercy He will give all of us a way forward.
Christians and only casual observers overlook an important point in God. He isn't vengeful. The judgments of God are not casual and formed from the surface. While human beings never have the full story about each other; God knows goodness, holiness and righteousness.
The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.
Alleluia, Father. You know and need no one to bear witness about man, You know what is in mankind, but You determined we are worth of dying for and worthy of You and worthy of Your love. We are the Easter people and halleluiah is our song. In Jesus Christ. Amen.