Thursday, July 12, 2018

Those Who Grieve and Lament

Today's Reading:
Ezekiel 7:1-9:11
Matthew 9:18-38
Proverbs 11:29-12:7
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Focus Verses: Ezekiel 8:12-13 
 He said to me, "Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, 'The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.' " 13 Again, he said, "You will see them doing things that are even more detestable."

Ezekiel 9:3-4
 Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the LORD called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side 4 and said to him, "Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it."

The corruption and idolatry of God’s people was pervasive and deep. Even the elders who were to be the spiritual leaders of Israel had turned away from God. They had even brought idols into the temple and offered up prayer and worship to them. As their nation was falling apart, they lost faith in God and turned to superstition and pagan Gods. [Ezekiel 8:12-13]

Yet, in the midst of all this apostasy and unfaithfulness, there were people who remained faithful to God. Their faithfulness was demonstrated by the grief and sorrow they had about the sins of their nation. When judgment was poured out on Israel, God took special note of those who trusted in him. They were spared from death and survived the storm of destruction that left Israel in ruins. [Ezekiel 9:3-4]

Response and Action:
God holds people accountable for their actions. God recognizes those who are seeking him and trusting in him. God delivers those who look to him in faith. I must seek God with my whole heart. I must remain faithful to God and turn away from the sin and corruption that pervades my world. The things that grieve God's heart should grieve my heart too.

O God, help me to be faithful to you. Give me the wisdom to recognize sin and corruption and to turn away from it. Give me a heart that grieves over the things that grieve you. Show me your ways, and by your grace, give me the strength and will to walk in them. Though all around me should turn away from you, help me to remain true to you and to follow you with my whole heart. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Galatians 6:7-8
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Walking Away from Faith: Unraveling the Mystery of Belief and Unbelief
by Ruth Tucker

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