Prophets had a tough gig in the Old Testament.
I mean the Lord came to them and said, “Listen up! The children of Israel are knuckleheads, and I intend to teach them a lesson—to put a dunce hat on their stupid, little heads. Go tell them my plans because of their stupidity.”
Can you imagine being a prophet in that situation? Can you imagine how scary it must have been? Especially because the prophets knew that this was a group punishment? Meaning that they were also a part of this group…
I’m reading in Ezekiel right now, and let me tell you what! God was seriously ticked off. In Ezekiel 16: 30 He says:
“How degenerate is your heart! says the Lord God, ‘seeing you do all these things, the deeds of a brazen harlot.’”
That’s a pretty heavy statement.
But it gets better! Well, I guess it just depends on your definition of better…the Lord seemed to breathe for a second before attempting to reason with the people.
Let me paraphrase Ezekiel 18:21-24 for you:
“When a wicked man repents and follows God, his iniquities are forgotten. When a righteous man turns away from God, his sins are remembered in full. Does God want anyone to die in unrighteousness? No! However, he’ll judge everyone according to their works.”
Ezekiel 18:25 deserves to be directly quoted. God was talking his way through the above scenarios before declaring:
“Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?”
Wow. God laid down the law. Notice a few key words here: way and ways.
There is only one way to follow God, and that is His way. Man’s ways are wrong.
Is it really that simple?
I love the fact that the Bible is so clear, that God is so clear. Christians are to follow God and God alone.
What is God’s way?
Believe in His son, Jesus Christ, as the ONLY way to receive salvation. Walk in grace, listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and encourage others to do the same.
If the Bible is the foundation of a Christian’s life, then it is imperative that we understand this fundamental truth.
It’s not okay to figure out other ways to follow God, ways, I might add, that are so rooted in the world that Christians are not even recognizable as followers of Christ anymore.
Fair is fair.
God has made the terms pretty clear:
“‘Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,’ says the Lord God. ‘Therefore turn and live!’”(Ezekiel 18:31-32)
I have been a knucklehead like the children of Israel. I have attempted to figure out ways to do as I please and follow God as well. And every time I have found myself in the same situation: Frustrated and stuck in a rut.
I am thankful that God left His children some instructions. The more I read the Bible, the less I look like a knucklehead, and the more I look like a child of God.