A couple of weeks ago at our midweek we talked about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and how unexpected it was, even though Jesus himself had openly talked about it. When the women who followed Jesus and the disciples went to his tomb, they were not expecting to find it empty.
We compared this lack of expectation with our readiness and expectation of Jesus return. While we believe Jesus will return; are we really expecting it?
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In chapters 12, 13 & 14 of Ezekiel there seems to be a mindset where people don’t believe that God will destroy Jerusalem. There have been so many warnings throughout history and yet nothing has happened. This lack of belief that God will act against his people seems to be summed up by the saying quoted in 12:22.
The days go by and every vision comes to nothing…Ezekiel 12:22
This lack of belief seems to be incredible considering Ezekiel is among the first exiles taken into captivity in Babylon. The prevailing view seems to have been ‘Ok, God has shown he is angry by sending us into captivity, but he will never destroy the city; the temple; he will never wipe his people out.
God answers this prevailing thought in 12:28:
This is what the Sovereign Lord says: none of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord…Ezekiel 12:28
The book of Ezekiel is warning us that God’s word is true; he will do what he says he will do. The clear warning is that we should not for one-minute think that God will somehow shy away from punishing sin. We see this in the very life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus, God’s own son, asked in Gethsemane for the cup he was about to drink from to be taken from him. That cup was not removed. If God was willing to let judgement fall on his own son who did not deserve that punishment.
God however is a just God and he will not punish the same sin twice. That would be unfair and unjust. This means for all who place their trust in Jesus God has promised that their punishment has already been administered. Heaven, glory and God’s presence await those people for all eternity.
For those of us who refuse to place our trust in Jesus, we cannot expect God to simply change his mind about his just punishment. Scripture talks of hell being that place apart from God presence. To use the language of Ezekiel it is exile and separation from everything we hold dear, from the security of God’s presence.
Prayer Father forgive me for how I do not always take your seriously. Forgive me for convincing myself that you will employ a different standard towards me. Lord, open my eyes and heart that I would trust in Christ. Amen
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