This morning I woke up 1/2 an hour before my alarm. As I woke my dreams became reality. I had been dreaming that I had a headache and as my brain became alert enough to have conscious thoughts I felt the pounding and pain at the base of my skull. I tried all of the things that never work to relieve the pain. I was too tired and sleepy to get up but had too much pain to go back to sleep. The tug of war ended with my alarm going off. I let the dogs attend to their needs and i stumbled to the bathroom. Just before arriving I felt like I heard God say “judgement, warn them of my coming judgment”. I had been thinking about what to read and post about. I’m reading through the book of Philippians off and on and there is not much of anything about judgement in that letter. I have interspersed my study of Philippians with random crack open and read whatever is there studies too. One such study included Ezekiel 33 which warns Ezekiel that if he doesn’t warn the people of God’s coming judgement, no, I won’t explain it, I will quote it.
“Once again a message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’ “Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself. “Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: You are saying, ‘Our sins are heavy upon us; we are wasting away! How can we survive?’ As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die? “Son of man, give your people this message: The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them, then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. And suppose I tell some wicked people that they will surely die, but then they turn from their sins and do what is just and right. For instance, they might give back a debtor’s security, return what they have stolen, and obey my life-giving laws, no longer doing what is evil. If they do this, then they will surely live and not die. None of their past sins will be brought up again, for they have done what is just and right, and they will surely live. “Your people are saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right,’ but it is they who are not doing what’s right. For again I say, when righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and turn to evil, they will die. But if wicked people turn from their wickedness and do what is just and right, they will live. O people of Israel, you are saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right.’ But I judge each of you according to your deeds.”’
Ezekiel 33:1-20 –
Is my little town of Ephrata facing an enemy? Not that I know of, not a physical enemy. Is there a danger of floods or tornadoes or earthquakes? Not that I know of. We were covered by volcanic ash once but that actually turned out to be a blessing. Is there a mass judgement coming to my town? Not that I can foresee or tell, but there is a judgment coming individually to each one of us. At death God pulls up a chair, looks each one of us in the heart and asks, “why should I let you in my heaven?”
The verses I quoted above talk about a change of heart that leads to a change in behavior, but this situation I’m describing is deaths door, no time to change. It’s time to cash in. All we’ve got is what we’ve brought to the bargaining table and it it is woefully inadequate.
There is a bargaining chip that can get us out of the bind and into God’s graces. That chip is Jesus.
I write this post because it’s what I experienced. Was the word judgement of my own making? I don’t know. But because of what we have now read together in Ezekiel I felt bound to share it.
Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. Are you lost? You can be found. Are you finding yourself in darkness? Jesus is the light of the world. Do you feel left out? Jesus is the door into the sheepfold. Are feeling abandoned and alone and in danger? Jesus is the good shepherd who leaves the 99 in search of one the lost sheep. Are you hungry or thirsty? Jesus is the bread of life and he is the spring of eternal life. Are you overgrown with extra stuff sapping your strength and making you fruitless? Jesus is the vine and God is the vine dresser. There are many more examples but my time is up.
Do not wait. Choose Jesus today.