Photo credit to artbox99.
“I will do do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 7:27
Don’t be surprised when you get what you ask for and what you strive after. Only you better be sure that you are seeking after the right thing. We like to get mad at God because how could he be a God of love and let all these bad and evil things happen? Read Ezekiel 7 and maybe you’ll get it. This crud in life was never what He wanted for us. We chose it. God wanted to take Israel into the promised land right away, but they wouldn’t trust and wouldn’t follow and wanted it their own way. David wasn’t out with the other kings when he should have been and then took something he wanted his way, and forsook God’s way for a while. Look at the consequences. Adam and Eve had all those choices of life and chose the one way that led to death and sin. And what about Israel during Ezekiel’s time? Was it God’s fault? Are You an angry, unjust divinity?
Read Ezekiel 7. Let me count with you how many times God says that He is judging the people according to their ways and their abominations. Five times in this one chapter of 27 verses God repeats why judgment is coming. Think about it. Every one of us was created for a purpose—to glorify God, to be His image bearer in the world. But every one of us is not forced into that position. We are allowed the freedom to choose to live in our purpose or to defy our purpose. But tell me, why would we expect there not to be consequences for our choices, one way or another?
There were consequences for Satan when he chose his own way instead of God’s way. He chose a false purpose and dragged 1/3 of the angels into it with him. Misery does love company. Adam and Eve chose to follow a false purpose and do life in self-sufficiency. It wasn’t like God hadn’t warned them. It’s just that they wanted to believe the serpent more. It lined up better with their own desires. It’s the same for the children of Israel and us if we aren’t careful and if we don’t really take the time to evaluate what’s really going down before us.
Yesterday, I heard the testimony of a former atheist. He shared how he had asked God to show Himself and God didn’t answer when he wanted and how he wanted so therefore, he denied there was a God. But the more he learned as he went from being a 17 year old into 10 or so years later, he started to rethink things he saw in life. And he came to the conclusion that if God was God, God was the One who had the say as to how and when He showed Himself. And he changed his request and left it up to God to show in His time and His way and watched and waited. God showed Himself over time and this man is now a believer following God’s way and not his own. See, the Israelites could have come to this conclusion, but they were holding on to their authority instead of handing it back over to the Creator.
Philip Vander Elst was also an atheist. But something convinced him otherwise. He wanted to understand the origin of evil. And his search sheds understanding on what we are reading today. So for the philosophical out there, let’s look at the credibility of this truth.
Let’s look at Philip’s thoughts: “As C.S. Lewis points out, true love is a voluntary union of free individuals giving themselves to each other for their mutual delight and for mutual enjoyment of life and all its blessings. Consequently, when God created the first human beings, He gave them the gift of free will. He did so in order that they and all their descendants might share His life, His love, His joy and His beauty, with Him and with each other. As part of this gift of free will, God also gave human beings creativity and intelligence in order that they might be good stewards of the world in which he had placed them, sharing its joys and adding to its wonders and beauty. But the problem with free will is that it can be corrupted and misused. Our inner freedom to relate to God and other people in harmony and love, can be turned on its head. We can choose, instead to reject our Creator and live only for ourselves. And that, sadly, is what has happened to the human race. It is what lies behind the famous biblical story of the ‘Fall of Man’ in the Garden of Eden: our ancestors disobeyed God, with deadly consequences for themselves and posterity.”
Let’s just jump back momentarily to Ezekiel. What was the problem? The people were living according to their ways and their way of living was causing an abomination of their intended purpose according to God. What in the world is an abomination any way? The Hebrew word is toevah. Proverbs 12:22 tells us that something as simple as lying lips fall in this category. It falls right in there with “breaking the covenant bond by intermarriage, worshipping wickedness, child sacrifice, and homosexuality.” Why are these things so offensive to You, God? I mean, lying?
Because they all go against Your character. They all distort the truth. Abominations are abominations and disgusting because they distort the truth and Your design and Your character. You are the God of truth and lies distort the picture of You. A lie is a blasphemy. So is the rest of this stuff. It distorts Your image. These things and others misrepresent You and Your children. I mean, You are truth. Satan is the father of lies. A subtle lie is still a lie and antithesis to Your character. “Did God really say that?” Subtle, huh? “You can be like God.” Subtle rebellion. But Jesus said, “ I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He always has been. He always will be. Satan was a liar from the beginning. He was a beautiful angel. His character changed. But not so God’s. Why would I believe someone whose character is not consistent when God’s character never changes and His character is always good and always true and He invites me to participate and be a part of His character?
But let’s hop back now to Philip and thinking about the “Fall of Man”. “What gives the whole story its ‘ring of truth’ is its totally convincing picture of the disastrous consequences of turning away from God. A creature rebelling against its Creator, Lewis argues, is like a plant refusing to grow towards the sunlight. It results in a broken relationship which separates that creature from the eternal source of all life, love, truth, and well-being, including its own. It was therefore inevitable that when the human race separated itself from God through that original act of disobedience long ago, hatred, disease and death came into the world…one thing seems crystal clear and made perfect sense to me: separation from our Creator is inevitably self-destructive.”
You might wonder, “How is it really self-destructive?” Listen, as Philip continues, “It is inevitably self-destructive not only because it results in death, but also because it is destructive of freedom. Apart from God, we lack the inner strength to resist the downward pull of our fallen natures. Without His help, we cannot overcome all the temptations we face to give in to our lowest impulses and pursue our own interests at the expense of others. And if, in addition, this diminution of our inner freedom is accompanied, as in so many lives, by positive disbelief in God, a new danger arises. We lose our sense of accountability and belief in moral absolutes because we no longer believe that there is a Divine Judge to whom we are ultimately responsible. That is one of the reasons why militantly atheistic socialist regimes have produced the bloodiest tyrannies in history, slaughtering 100 million people in internal repression during the 20th century. It also helps to explain the growth of crime, delinquency and sexual immorality in post-Christian secularized Western societies.”
So where are we? Does God just abandon us and every thing concerning earth to death and corruption? Read Genesis chapter 3 and the rest of Scripture to Revelation. It’s all about “God’s rescue plan.” Have you ever heard of anything more extraordinary than the true story of how God came down from heaven into this fallen world and lived and walked among us as a human of all things, as this “first century Jewish carpenter from Nazareth, called Jesus”?
I guess the question for every person boils down to whose way is best? Is my way best? Is it even valid? Who am I to even decide my way over others? Did I create them? How did I even get here? How did the Israelites even become a nation? How did I become a person? What power do I have outside of what God gives? Who really has the right to decide the way of the planets and the universe and the unseen and the seen? In Ezekiel 7:19 God talks about how the Israelites won’t be able to satisfy their souls or their hearts. Why? Because it’s the stumbling block of their sin, the stumbling block of their choosing. Their choosing their own way is the cause of their fall and their emptiness. But it doesn’t have to be. We can choose You and Your way. They didn’t have to fall and be empty and neither do I. But the choice is mine to make. God doesn’t have minions, he has children.