Our U.S. Postal Service has been in the news quite a bit lately, with all the budget concerns. To save money they have finally decided to suspend mail delivery on Saturdays. We have all grown so accustom to the Saturday deliveries. I even heard one woman stating something along the line that she would feel cut off from the world if she lost the Saturday deliveries. She does not use internet and mail is her choice for communication. She even enjoys talking to her mail delivery person and will miss doing that. We have all become spoiled with the convenience of delivery to our houses. When our U.S. Postal delivery service began it was sporadic and not usually to people’s homes.
Ezekiel was one of Israel’s postmen (the Prophets) called to deliver God’s message to the people. God told him to take his message delivery job seriously. Budget short falls weren’t going to prevent him from delivering God’s message.
Ezekiel 3: 17-19
17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman over the house of Israel. When you hear a word from My mouth, give them a warning from Me. 18 If I say to the wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but you do not warn him—you don’t speak out to warn him about his wicked way in order to save his life—that wicked person will die for his iniquity. Yet I will hold you responsible for his blood. 19 But if you warn a wicked person and he does not turn from his wickedness or his wicked way, he will die for his iniquity, but you will have saved your life.
God wants his people to know when they are messing up to help them. He wants them to return to Him and to be obedient. Obedience to God’s ways will protect them and bless them. So it was important for God to deliver His Word to the people. Therefore, He wanted His messengers to take it seriously. Ezekiel and other prophets were taking other people’s lives in their hands, when they did not deliver God’s message. They were held accountable for the harm it would bring the people, if they did not receive God’s message.
He calls modern day Christians to be His messengers, as well. He expects us to take it seriously too.
II Corinthians 2:17
17 For we are not like the many who market God’s message for profit. On the contrary, we speak with sincerity in Christ, as from God and before God.
Colossians 1: 25-29
25 I have become its servant, according to God’s administration that was given to me for you, to make God’s message fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to His saints. 27 God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me.
The Apostle Paul took delivering the gospel and God’s teachings seriously. He knew it was be delivered with sincerity. He was not to seek personal gain or change the message. He knew it was meant to help others mature in the Lord. We need to have this same focus. We are God’s messengers delivering His message of love to the world. Their blood, so to speak, will be on our own hands, if we know we were to share the gospel with someone and did not. We are guilty, if we don’t stop someone from committing sin and stumbling in their walk. We can gain some good instructions from what God told Ezekiel.
As much as we will miss some of our Postal conveniences in the future, we should think on how much people will miss out on if we do not deliver God’s message to them.
Posts tagged ‘warning’
Did you know that you and the Robot off Lost in Space had something in common? Do you remember how the Robot would shout out, “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!” or something similar depending on who was in the area?
Well, the Robot’s job of warning others of imminent danger is the same job you have. You have been called to warn others of spiritual danger. Ezekiel like many prophets was called to this for his entire purpose.
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman over the house of Israel. When you hear a word from My mouth, give them a warning from Me.
The Lord teaches us things and reveals to us things that we are not necessarily meant to keep to ourselves. We are not to be the holder of great secrets from the Lord. We learn things so we might share them with others and encourage them on in their walk. The Holy Spirit warns us and tries to stop us when we are being tempted to sin. Wisdom tells us that our experiences and knowledge can help others in the same way. Read Ephesians 4: 22 – 25.
22 You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth. 25 Since you put away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another.
We are all part of the same body and we are all trying to achieve the same basic individual and corporate Kingdom goals. We are trying each to become more Christ-like and we are all trying to build the Kingdom of God and glorify His name. If we know someone is about to or is committing a sin, we are to warn them, just like Ezekiel spent his days warning the people of Israel. If we see someone walking towards a cliff, we wouldn’t just let them walk over it to their death. We hold the message of truth in our hearts. We know what can keep those who don’t know the Lord from walking off that cliff of eternal spiritual death. We also know what can help fellow brothers and sisters to grow in the Lord. We would want someone to help or warn us, we should want to do the same for others.
As parents it can be very difficult to discipline our children. You love them, but you know that if you don’t teach them a lesson or discipline them they can get hurt. That little baby that begins to crawl and start getting in to everything can get hurt very badly, if you don’t put up safety devices or follow them around or tell them “No”. Discipline is for our children’s own well-being. If we let them go in to harm’s way they can end up dead. No parent that truly loves their child wants to see that happen. Many parents will fear disciplining their children, because they don’t want to damage their self-esteem. If a parent would weigh out self-esteem vs. death, they would soon see which is more important in the long run.
God has acted as our loving parent on so many occasions. He says, “No”. He teaches the correct things to do. He pulls us out of harm’s way. He disciplines us when we are too stubborn to listen. He does it all for our own good. Many times we see him disciplining the people of Israel as a nation. He would use other kings and nations to discipline. Usually before He did, He would send in a prophet to warn them and teach them the correct things to do. Many times, like us, they did not listen. Isaiah was one such prophet. He had the difficult job of trying to get God’s people back on track and warn them of impending discipline if they did not. In Isaiah chapters 30 to 32 we see a pattern of Isaiah warning the people, of the discipline and affliction that was coming to them. Then he would share with them what would happen after the discipline. He did this back and forth comparison multiple times in those chapters. It is like he was saying, “I know you will not listen to my warnings and you will face punishment, but have hope it will end and good will come out of it. Some of you will survive.” In the beginning of Chapter 30 he warns them then in verses 19-22 he shares some wisdom and hope with them:
(New King James Version)
19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; You shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; When He hears it, He will answer you. 20 And though the Lord gives you The bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers. 21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “ This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left. 22 You will also defile the covering of your images of silver, And the ornament of your molded images of gold. You will throw them away as an unclean thing; You will say to them, “Get away!”
(The Message Version)
19-22Oh yes, people of Zion, citizens of Jerusalem, your time of tears is over. Cry for help and you’ll find it’s grace and more grace. The moment he hears, he’ll answer. Just as the Master kept you alive during the hard times, he’ll keep your teacher alive and present among you. Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job, urging you on whenever you wander left or right: “This is the right road. Walk down this road.” You’ll scrap your expensive and fashionable god-images. You’ll throw them in the trash as so much garbage, saying, “Good riddance!”
We can take some wisdom and hope from this passage too. Number one, we need to know that affliction and discipline from God is meant to get us back on track. It is meant to focus us back on God. These Israelites would soon throw away their foreign gods and come back to God as a result of their affliction. The next piece of wisdom and hope that He gives them and us shows that affliction will help us to tune our ears in better to hearing the teachers God is giving us in our lives. What great hope there is in the fact that God will always provide us wise teachers that we can learn from. His discipline will never remove the opportunity to learn more about God and His ways. It will only enhance the opportunities. We also learn from this passage, that even though we may deserve the discipline, God will hear our prayers and will answer them from within the time of affliction and after. He will give us grace.
There is much wisdom we can learn from our times of affliction. The key is to respond and not turn a deaf ear to our teachers and to cry out to God for help.
Warning labels and instructions appear on just about everything these days due to all the law suits that have taken place over the years. There are so many warning labels and instructions now that most of us just ignore them. Here are some of the reasons why tend ignore warning labels:
- “Do not use if you cannot see clearly to read the information in the information booklet.” — In the information booklet.
- “Caution: The contents of this bottle should not be fed to fish.” — On a bottle of shampoo for dogs.
- “For external use only!” — On a curling iron.
- “Warning: This product can burn eyes.” — On a curling iron.
- “Do not use in shower.” — On a hair dryer.
- “Do not use while sleeping.” — On a hair dryer.
- “Do not use while sleeping or unconscious.” — On a hand-held massaging device.
- “Do not place this product into any electronic equipment.” — On the case of a chocolate CD in a gift basket.
- “Recycled flush water unsafe for drinking.” — On a toilet at a public sports facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
- “Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover.” — On a pair of shin guards made for bicyclists.
- “This product not intended for use as a dental drill.” — On an electric rotary tool.
Now these are pretty funny, but you have to ask yourself, “Why would these products have something so basic and stupid on their labels?” Apparently, somebody didn’t use common sense when using their products and ended up getting hurt and suing them. That is a pretty sad statement about our society or people as a whole. Why don’t we follow instructions? Why won’t we obey the warning labels? Why won’t we listen to good advice?
You can see over and over again in the Bible stories of the people not listening to God and ending up in trouble as a result. Being that God is all knowing, all loving and all powerful, don’t you think it would be logical for the creation (us) to listen to this magnificent creator? Read Haggai 1:7-13.
7 The LORD of Hosts says this: “Think carefully about your ways. 8 Go up into the hills, bring down lumber, and build the house. Then I will be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the LORD. 9 “You expected much, but then it amounted to little. When you brought [the harvest] to your house, I ruined it. Why?” [This is] the declaration of the LORD of Hosts. “Because My house still lies in ruins, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10 So on your account, the skies have withheld the dew and the land its crops. 11 I have summoned a drought on the fields and the hills, on the grain, new wine, olive oil, and whatever the ground yields, on the people and animals, and on all that your hands produce.” 12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, and the entire remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the words of the prophet Haggai, because the LORD their God had sent him. So the people feared the LORD. 13 Haggai, the LORD’s messenger, delivered the LORD’s message to the people, “I am with you” —the LORD’s declaration.
Here we find out the people had still not taken care of God’s house. The people had been busy spending time on their homes and crops. They were ignoring God’s voice. They had not responded to Him and built His house and worshipped Him. As a result, they were not blessed. All that work they put in to their things was a waste. God informs them of this to bring everything that had been going on in to focus. Thankfully, this time they heard His voice and obeyed it.
Unfortunately, to this day, even after all these Biblical examples, we still do not obey God’s voice when He speaks to us. We need to use some common sense. If we hear God’s voice, He is telling us something that will benefit us and glorify Him. He is not just speaking to us to chat about the weather. Therefore, we need to use common sense and obey His voice when He speaks. Otherwise, like the people in Haggai’s account, we may find all our earthly work is in vain.
So many Christians are going through their daily lives just trying to live good and upright lives and yet many will be attacked by those who don’t believe. They are treated badly, ridiculed, teased, mocked and scoffed at for no real reason sometimes. Other times the actions of a few mis-guided Christians cause the Christians who are on the right track to be bombarded because of their actions, such as in the case of those who were mistaken about the May 21st and soon to be the Oct 21st dates that they promote. We have to learn to accept as followers of God that we will be mis-treated and mis-understood during our lives this life on Earth. If Jesus was mis-understood and mis-treated, we will be too. However, we can put our hope in God during those times. We can learn from His Word that He does take care of those who mis-treat His children. Their time of judgment is coming. Read II Peter 3:3-7.
“3 First, be aware of this: scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, following their own lusts, 4 saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.” 5 They willfully ignore this: long ago the heavens and the earth existed out of water and through water by the word of God. 6 Through these the world of that time perished when it was flooded by water. 7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth are held in store for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”
In Noah’s day there were scoffers that would not listen to Noah’s message that he preached to them warning them of the judgment that was to come to those who would not obey God. He suffered through 120 years of hard physical work building the ark while he emotionally suffered through the mocking and scoffing of those who watched him. In the end he saw God’s judgment come to pass and the mocking ended. He saw his faith rewarded for his persistence and endurance during the mocking times. Joshua and Caleb were others who also had great faith and endured others lack of faith. In Numbers chapters 13 and 14 we read about the people of Israel reaching the edge of the promised land. Moses sends out 12 men to spy out the land and come back give a report. Only Joshua and Caleb give a good report and show faith that God will take them in to the land. As a result the people get to the point where they are even going to stone Joshua and Caleb. They scoffed at them. God suddenly intervenes and the people stop while Moses goes and hears what God says. The end result was that the people would not enter the land. They were judged as despising God and would have to wonder in the wilderness until they died and then their children could go in. Only Joshua and Caleb would be allowed to cross over. They received the promise after enduring the mocking. The others received judgment.
As we see in II Peter, all people will receive their judgment for their mocking and scoffing. God will keep His word to us and see us safely to eternity, despite the mocking we may have to endure. God will punish those who despise Him. So cling to that hope and promise. God’s promises found in His Word will serve as encouragement for those times when you deal with mockers.