Pulling Off an “Ezekiel”


Photo credit to unknown internet source.


“Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment of the house of Israel upon it. For the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their punishment.” (Ezekiel 4:4)

Can you imagine lying on your side out on the ground where everyone is walking by for 390 days? And then doing it again on your right side, the other side, for another 40 days? Now, before that you were asked to make a sketch in a clay brick or maybe use those clay bricks to lay out a model of the city of Jerusalem under siege. And here you are, laying down, which isn’t an easy task physically, so God Himself helps you to be strong enough to do it. He places “cords upon you, so that you cannot turn from one side to the other” until the days are completed. If that’s not bad enough, you have to eat what God tells you, this unpleasant mix of grains that isn’t even tasty and maybe even considered unclean by Hebrew standards. Let’s take it a step further, because then it’s supposed to be cooked over human dung.

Human dung! Are you kidding me? If mixing grains and beans was unclean, then what about cooking over human dung!  Now, Ezekiel didn’t object until this point. And I’m not surprised that he cries out to the Lord. “God, I’ve never defiled what went into my mouth. Please don’t make me now.” So the Lord, has mercy and tells Ezekiel he can cook over cow dung instead. Now that still seems nasty here, but in many cultures with lack of wood for cooking, there’s nothing unusual about that.

Speaking of unusual though, this whole thing is pretty unusual, pretty far out there, don’t you think? This is an interesting way to warn the children of Israel and Judah of their impending doom if they don’t repent. But as I read it, it’s not just a story about Israel and Judah and their sin, it’s a story about the call of God on a man and about the faithfulness of that man. And it goes even deeper. It’s about the call of God on any of us, and the evidence of the measure of our faithfulness to that call.

The call of God has nothing to do with ease and a life of bliss. It has nothing to do with living life in the wonderful by and by and escaping the here and now. I mean, really, look at Ezekiel. Ezekiel was chosen by God to be His representative and did he live a life of ease? Or was he expected and called to do hard things, things that most ordinary or “normal” men wouldn’t ever humble themselves to do? Where was his wealth? Where was his ease? Where was his blessing as we think of and expect blessings? Was he counting down the days until he died so he could go to heaven? I think not, because the Jews in that time period didn’t have that concept of heaven. What would compel Ezekiel to obey?

Why would Ezekiel allow himself to be bound like this? Why would Paul, some 600 years later, allow himself to be bound? “And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” (Acts 21:11) And I wonder if it all has some bearing on this man in the middle of both, this man who was also God, whose name is Jesus, who allowed them to bind him and lead him away and deliver him over to Pilate the governor? (Matthew 27:2)

It’s funny. Jesus allowed a lot of people to bind him. First there was the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews who arrested him and bound him. (John 18:12) Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. (John 18:24) And even after his death, those who loved him took his body and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. (John 19:40) But I guess it really doesn’t matter how man binds something. Because ultimately, Jesus broke all those bands when he rose again. But he had to wear those bands. He had to take on that burden.

What was that burden? It was the burden that God was placing on Ezekiel, the sin of the people. And Ezekiel was bearing it symbolically. Even so, he needed God to help him bear it. And Paul, he was carrying that burden from God too. That’s why he went all over the world preaching the good news of Christ that others might be set free. But Jesus, He’s the one who can actually bear the whole burden. He alone can carry the full weight.
Ezekiel was a picture for all to see. But it was a picture bigger than Ezekiel. It was God using Ezekiel to display what He was doing and what He was going to do.


Do you want to see the whole picture? Let’s look at it in Isaiah 53. “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.”

You know, I forgot to mention that while Ezekiel was lying on the ground on his side, he was told to lie down like that with his arm outstretched. Is that supposed to be a Deja Vu? “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God…” (Exodus 6:6-7) This is the word, sabal- to bear, from the Hebrew siblot. It’s the word used in Isaiah 53 where the suffering servant bears our iniquities. It’s the relieving of the burden of those things that enslave and cause servitude, of those things that cause punishment and penalty. This is what the suffering servant, Jesus can bear and do for us. He is our Deliverer who can show Himself strong on our behalf in miraculous ways.

But the word of bearing that Ezekiel was called to do and like that which Paul would do or I is a whole different word. In Ezekiel its the word nasah. That’s a word used about testing and trying and proving. It’s like when God tested the faithfulness of his children when they were coming out of Israel. Only at Massah, they didn’t only just quarrel. They accused God and Moses of not being sufficient and of not caring. They basically said that God was impotent and indifferent because He wouldn’t do it there way. It was a challenge to God’s power and goodness despite the prevalent evidence all around.
The truth is that God has already demonstrated His faithfulness and goodness time and time again. It’s not up to Him to prove Himself. We are called to be proven. We’re the ones that need to pass the test, not God. Do we really get who God is and what He has already done? Are we just willing to be used to be witnesses of Him and not ourselves? Am I truly willing to bear His image and forsake my own? Can I forget my needs and desires for the sake of God’s glory and His desires to be manifested by me instead?

Am I willing to adopt a Biblical view of my calling or am I going to make it fit my own design?  Because that’s not the way God works. If Jesus came and allowed Himself to be bound and to suffer at the hands of men so that God’s glory would be manifested, and He’s our Master, then how could we be called to anything less? What if my goal wasn’t about receiving blessings but about manifesting the glory of God by a life humbly submitted to His will no matter what He required?

What if Ezekiel’s message is a message of choosing God’s will no matter the cost? What if that is what real faith is all about? It takes me to Matthew 19:29 and Jesus’ words, “And every one that has forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” That word for forsake is aphiemi. And it does mean to leave, but it also means “to dismiss, to send away, to let go.” There’s a personal involvement on our part just like there was on Ezekiel’s part. He had to decide to go with God’s plan. He had to decide to lay down and stretch out his arms each day in front of everyone. He had to make a conscious choice to manifest God’s picture through Himself despite what others would think and despite how they would treat him.

So the question is, am I willing to bear the burden that You place on me God, that shines forth Your image in this world that so badly needs to see You and know You? Do I know You so well that I would be willing to do whatever You required of me so that You could shine through me? Would I be willing to look like a fool to those who don’t understand so that You can look like God to those who will understand? How faithful am I really? Am I faithful enough to pull off an Ezekiel? God, make me able. As I consciously choose You, bind me in that decision in You.


From Judgment to Song


“…for you have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock…” Amos 6:12
This is awful news. The destruction of Zion and Samaria is foretold. People who ought to have known better and taught others better were so wrapped up in themselves they got lost and led others to lose themselves along the way. They were lost in drunkenness, gluttony, and pride and contempt over others. National dissolution was on the way, just as it had come to other nations, and will, as they adopt these attitudes as their character.
What is the example of the impending destruction that is used? A household. A household of 11 people. Plague. Ten die; one survives, and the only survivor isn’t even a near relative, but an uncle. And when he goes to carry out the burial, the cremation, even the funeral custom is abandoned. Why? “…[W]e may not make mention of the name of the LORD.” And I wonder, why is that? Did the You say not to make mention of Your name? F.B. Meyer says it’s because of the “stress of such a time,” but I wonder if that is it. Or is it that men decided they didn’t want to think about and remember You? I mean, who told them they couldn’t mention Your name? Or did the remembering just become too painful because they wouldn’t want to blame themselves for the losses they were suffering? Wouldn’t it be easier to just blame You and walk away from You altogether so no one would have to acknowledge the truth of how they got to where they were? I don’t know, but it’s a thought.
Isn’t it easier to ignore Your voice, God than to hear the truth about ourself? Isn’t it easier to ignore God than to hear that I’m the reason that judgment and righteousness are all screwed up? It wasn’t You that turned judgment into gall. You didn’t take that which You established as right and true and good and make it bitter like a poisonous plant to us. It didn’t start out bitter. But twisted hearts twisted the taste.
I don’t know who the author of Psalm 119 was but He understood the divine taste of Your ways and Your words. He understood that in living in and by Your laws and words was a special, unique, safe, and secure, and beautiful relationship with You. Instead of leading to defilement it led to being undefiled. It led to being a keeper of Your testimonies and a seeker of You with ones whole being. It led to one doing righteousness and not sin, and walking like You in real life, every day life. It led to diligence in remaining in You, in living in that relationship. It accepted direction from You to do that which was of You. It was a relationship void of shame and filled with respect and honor and glory for You. It was a relationship filled with praise for the goodness of Your being that changes my being into one of goodness. It’s a joy in obeying what is right and what You say and what You do and who You are. It’s realizing that to do anything else is to wander from Your presence and that relationship.
Instead of tasting bitter like gall, Your ways and Your words and Your laws and Your statutes were desirable to be hidden in ones heart, to learn from , to declare to others, to rejoice in more than riches, to meditate in, to respect and do, to delight in, and remember. “I will delight myself in Your statutes: I will not forget Your word.” In truth, it is a WONDROUS thing. It is separate and distinguished. It is great, sometimes difficult for “mere men” to grasp, yet continually wonderful. Yes, it’s hard, and hidden, and high, and marvelous, and miraculous, but all the more gloriously tasteful to search out.
But everyone is given free will. And each of us has the freedom to decide what we will do with You in our lives. We can choose to see You as the Psalmist experienced You by imbibing You, or we can choose to see You as the people in Amos’ day, and rebel and find delight in other fleeting things. I can choose to twist Your will and leave it all together and follow my own. I can choose to despise and treat as poison that which You have established as giving life and well-being and choose my own temporary pleasure and idea of right and wrong. Not only can I turn judgment, Your establishment of how to live life to the fullest in You and in a world of others, but I can turn the fruit of righteousness into hemlock or wormwood, another poison and accursed thing.
I love that word, tsedaqah. It’s Hebrew and it has to do with all the right things and good things and loving-kindness that flows from God. It’s rightness and justice and virtue and strength and prosperity and goodness in action and thinking and love shown Your way. But look at how corrupt man’s thinking can become, that it would see that and experience that as poisonous and accursed.
Instead of asking, “Dear God, how did I come to this point of forsaking You?” , we point our fingers at You and accuse, “Why, God, have You forsaken us?” Is it any wonder that You don’t answer our prayers when we don’t even acknowledge You until a tragedy arises? Is it any wonder that we don’t sense You when we don’t even give You the time of day? Is it any wonder that we have no feelings for You and can’t sense Your feelings for us when we reject anything about You? Yet here we are, living in Your world You created for us, under Your heaven beneath which You shelter us, becoming drunk on Your wine that You provide, and gaining weight on the provision of Your food, and living in the comfort of homes that You created the materials for building. And we think, “Who are You that we should stop to remember You? Have we not taken to us power by our own strength? Have I not made myself the master of my own destiny?” Well, you are the master of your own destiny if your destiny is outside of the presence of God. But I hate to tell you, because you’re not going to like this, that He was the one who created even that destiny in the first place, and it wasn’t intended for You.
Why would You, Lord, not be at home around us? Why would You seem to forsake people? Could it be as Hershel thought that You are, “not at home in a universe where [Your] will is defied and where [Your] kingship is denied. God is in exile; the world is corrupt. The universe itself is not at home.” If we want to not be forsaken, we need to stop being forsakers. I can absolutely refuse Your supremacy in my life, everything I desire can trump Your desires, but in so doing, I choose to live in a strange universe and not one as it was created to be. It’s as though I fight against it by my irresponsiveness. After all, You tell me outright what is required to restore everything as it was and is in heaven. Why doesn’t it happen? Because I refuse to remember and live by Your name and Your character and Your ways. I won’t listen. I throw out Your word with the baby’s bath water. Even though, in truth, my life now and into eternity depends upon it I treat it as “ethnically dependent, culturally irrelevant, theologically unnecessary,” “archaic, ridiculous, narrow-minded, un-educated, confining.” But who really is the foolish one?
The truth is that horses don’t run over rocky summits. Oxen don’t go plowing in rock. For some reason we keep choosing to do things the hard and unnatural way. It happened before Amos’ day, it happened in Amos’ day, it happened after Amos’ day in Saul’s day. Saul, who became known as Paul, recounts his encounter with Jesus, “I am Jesus whom you have been persecuting: it is hard for you to kick against the pricks.” (Acts 9:5) Here’s an interesting thing about bringing up these words today. That word for pricks is kentron in Hebrew. It’s a prick or a point like a sting or goad, like those used to prod cattle. But that sting part can figuratively mean poison and the goad part figuratively refer to divine impulse. Now think about that. Saul was treating the divine impulse as poison. Jesus wasn’t only warning Paul and revealing truth to him, He was warning us and revealing truth to us. It’s a dry and empty place filled with harshness and severity to be in that place of treating You and Your impulses and prodding as poison, but it’s a place some of us take ourselves into. And then the problem is we can’t find our way out. We wind up trapped there.
Is there hope? Yes! When God prods us we can listen and respond in trembling and astonishment like Saul. We can turn from our self-conceit and humble ourselves again before our Creator and our God and ask in submission, “Lord, what will You have me do?” And then we can turn our hearts to listen and obey and love all that is of You and live in Your strength all the days of our lives. I won’t have to feel the sharp goading because I will be walking with You of my own accord. I will know Your will and do it. I will delight in Your will and rejoice in it. You will be my delight and as I delight in You, I will know and experience Your delight in me that You have always wanted to share with me but I would have none of it before.
Maybe there are some things we have chosen to forget and we need to remember again. Maybe there are some false ideas we’ve believed and we need to let go of them. Maybe there are some old songs we’ve been singing and we need to learn a new song like in Revelation 5:9,10, “And they sung a new song, saying, ‘You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and have made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.’” Well, we can choose to sing this new song in our hearts or we can choose to keep singing our own song. But the day will come when one song will be true, one song alone will be sung throughout eternity, and it won’t be yours unless it was His first. I want to sing Your song, a song of my gratefulness to all that You are and all that You have been and all that You will be forever. You are worthy, not me. You brought everything into being and have the right to direct my path because everywhere I walk, You made, it’s Yours. Be my song and may Your music shine forth from me. No matter what happens in life around me, may I remember You and glorify Your name Your way.

Gently In the Hand of God


Photo credit to Stephen Cunningham

“For You will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let Your Holy One see corruption.” (Acts 2:27)

I’m not really sure where the connection started yesterday.  I just know that when I’m in the shower, if I’m not singing about or to You, Lord, I’m thinking about You.  Maybe it’s a weird place to worship, but it’s one of my best places to just get alone with You and rejoice in You and bear my heart to You and just meditate on You.  So yesterday, I got to thinking about You and Your sacrifice, and You and Your words, “Why have You forsaken me?”, and Your covenant with Abram (Abraham).

It made me start to think about some things I’ve been taught for years.  And maybe that I need to rethink them.  But more than that, it just wrapped Scripture up more tightly for me and wrapped You up even more tightly.  Not that I have this big handle on You, because I am constantly being amazed and constantly learning and I’ll never get to the end of You, but every deeper glimpse in itself, every little peek is so glorious!

So, here in Acts, Peter is boldy proclaiming about how You, Jesus were delivered up to be crucified.  But it was all according to God’s plan and foreknowledge.  You, God, raised Jesus up for this, and raised Him up to “loose the pangs of death, because it was not possible for HIm to be held by it.” (Acts 2:24)  And I was thinking about the darkness of Your death when You bore my sins, all our sins.  And it took me back to You and Abraham.

Here You are, making a covenant with Abraham.  A covenant like this was no trivial matter.  It was to the death.  In other words, You committed your life to it.  Yes, You really did commit Your life to it.  This was a blood sacrifice.  Abraham was to bring a heifer, a goat, a ram, a turtledove, and a pigeon, cut them in half, and lay them each on opposite sides with a path down the middle.  (Oh, but he wasn’t supposed to cut the birds in half.)  And while the carcasses were there, Abraham kept the birds of prey away from them.  That’s what Abraham’s part in this covenant was.  He brought the sacrifice and prepared it according to Your directions.  Then he protected what he had offered to You.  That’s it.

The sun went down and a deep sleep fell on Abraham.  Now, here’s what really got me.  A “dreadful and great darkness fell upon him.”  The King James Version says “an horror of great darkness fell upon him.”

And I wanted to understand that horror, that dread.  What was it?  It’s from the Hebrew “eymah” and it means fright, like a bugbear.  What in the world is a bugbear?  It’s a boogeyman.  You know, that feeling people give kids when they scare them about the boogeyman.  It’s dread and fear and horror and terrible foreboding and terror.  It’s like an idol that’s alive and frighteningly waiting to devour you.  This bugbear is “a cause of obsessive fear, irritation, or loathing.”

So why would Abraham feel like this?  Well, what was he really feeling?  Because I’m thinking there’s a lot going on here.  I’m thinking that as You, Lord, passed through the sacrifice, as You were present with Abraham, that Your loathing for sin was such a present and oppressive reality that Abraham felt it and experienced it.  Here was a picture of the sacrifice that You would be making for him and all mankind to bring them back into relationship with You.   Here was the promise of a promised child that would continue the heritage of faith forever.  This wasn’t just about Isaac.  This was about You.  This was about the Promised Child.  This was all about Jesus and our sanctification.

It’s a horrifying thing to realize our own sin.   It’s a horrifying thing to realize that I’m 200% guilty before You.  It’s a dreadful thing to realize what I deserve and that You deserve to give it to me.  It’s so terrifying to Abraham.  Here is this God who He trusts and who is leading him, yet here is this God who could crush him because of his sin.  Moses asked, “Who understands the power of Your anger and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?” (Psalm 90:11)  And isn’t that what Abraham was experiencing here?  Maybe there’s a point where each of us needs to experience this reality.

Yes, You are good and You are benevolent.  You are sovereign and we rejoice in that.  But I can’t forget, and I must understand or risk my own peril, that “it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  (Hebrews 10 :31)  What’s the difference between Pharaoh and Moses?  What’s the difference between Pharaoh and Abraham?  What’s the difference between Pharaoh and me?

Now, I think of that loathing.  I think that as You, Lord, passed over Abraham, he felt that great loathing of Yours for sin.  I imagine myself lying there, in his place, and You pass over me and loath my sin.  You want to destroy it.  It’s putrid to You.  It’s everything You are not.  You abhor it.  It disgusts You.  And I am associated with it.  So where does that leave me?

Just like Abraham who had submitted His life to You in faith, I have also.  And though You feel that horrifying way about sin and want to wipe it off the face of creation, You cover Abraham with the love and promise and protection of Your covenant.  You cover Abraham and me by Your blood.  But here’s the amazing thing.  You walked in the presence of sin.  Abraham and I were in Your presence and we did not die?  Why?  Because You covered us.  See, You are able to handle sin, but we are not.

I’m not just a lucky one who has been rescued and redeemed from the fire.  I am continually rescued and redeemed every moment of every day.  Any moment “Your wrath [c]ould scorch the entire earth if it were not mollified by mercy.  Perhaps we should tremble at our deliverance along with our rejoicing.”  (Skip Moen)

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)  Skip Moen also says, “It is also the beginning of face-to-the-floor submission and humility.  No man can come face-to-face with His holiness and live.  And no man can come before the righteous anger of God’s power and survive…God invites me to walk hand-in-hand, but when I feel the grasp of His fingers, I am aware that He is touching me ever so lightly lest I be crushed.  I am a butterfly in His palm.  I depend entirely on His grace.”  Yes, it was so for Abraham.  And it is so for me.

I was formerly darkness.  Formerly.  “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.”  (Ephesians 5:8)  In Greek, dark and light were natural events as well as representing “forces of power and mystery”.  Darkness often represents “chaos, evil, and death.”  That’s nothing new.  But it’s all part of Your plan, Lord.  You created light and dark.  You created the light to overcome the darkness.  You are Lord over both.  Even in Hebrew thinking though, darkness represents “destruction, the realm of the dead, terror and punishment.”  Yes, that darkness often represents sin.  And that’s what Paul is referring to here.  And that’s what was present that day with Abraham.  But You cut through to the truth and shed light in the midst of darkness in our lives.

I wonder if Abraham was guilty of thinking he deserved a son?  I have no idea.  But I know I’m guilty sometimes of thinking I deserve good or right treatment.  Because the truth is, I deserve death by association with sin.  I’m blind to the truth unless You open my eyes, and unless You open my eyes continually by Your light, I’ll keep having blind spots.  And here’s the wonderful truth, that even in the midst of my loathsome sin, You come to me, You invite me into relationship with You, You cover me, and You protect me and make me Yours in love and faith.  I actually deserve to be destroyed, but Your love and mercy to me was so great that instead, You chose me, made me a royal priest, invited me into Your holy nation, made me a peculiar people so that I could show forth Your praises, the praises of the One who called me out of darkness into Your marvelous light!  (1 Peter 2:9)

Paul reminds us of Your character through Your words in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”  It’s from Deuteronomy 31:6, “He will not fail you, or forsake you.”  The funny thing about this Hebrew word for forsake, “azav” is that it comes from two roots.  One means “to leave, to abandon, to forsake” and the other means “to restore or repair.”  How can it mean both things?  Think of it in terms of a marriage covenant.  The man must forsake or cut off his prior familial responsibilities to attach himself to his wife.  He must forsake the one thing to turn to the other.  He now has a new place of security.  One tie is cut but a new one is established.  Something must be abandoned for something else to be restored.

The Greek is rendered by en, “a place”; kata, “down”; and leipo, “to leave behind.”  Egkataleipo is “to abandon by leaving behind in some place.”  It’s like He’s telling us twice He’s not going to do that to us.  And if David knew that God wouldn’t forsake His chosen One, than why would Jesus be forsaken?  Why would You, Lord, feel He had forsaken You?

Now, here’s my question.  You passed in the presence of Abraham.  He was terrified because of His sin before You, at least that’s what I think.  But You didn’t destroy him; You covenanted with him and covered him.  With Job, Satan came before Your throne and asked to prove a point with Your beloved.  Satan’s still walking for a time.  And I pretty much consider him sin incarnate, because his every desire is against You.  But then we have Jesus, on the cross, bearing all our sins.  Did You forsake Him?  David said You never would.  Did He all of a sudden become less God and forget what He already knew?  Or, out of the immensity, the immeasurable immensity of Your love and compassion for us, did You turn Your loathing toward Yourself, toward something that was everything You were not, and turn away from Your desire to destroy us?  Did You forsake Your own desires as You took on our punishment?  You had to be there.  You had to see.  You had to do it and experience what You loathed.  I put You through that.  Because of me, You had to take on what You loath.  You had to turn it from me so that I could turn to You.  You had to feel it all and bear it all for me.  You had to take on sin for me and attach it to Your holiness.  How could that be?  I can’t explain it.  Because You can’t ever stop being holy.  And You can’t ever stop being God.  And You can’t forsake Yourself.  But maybe, You can forsake Your desires long enough to save those You love.  What can I say?  This, yes this, is a covenant of love.  No greater love is there than this, that a man named Jesus, that my God, would lay down His life, and His desires for me.  Yes, You will never leave me nor forsake me,  You left if all for me, and Your covenant is binding, and I am bound in You.  May I leave all for You.