Joined in Repentant Love
Christopher B. Harbin
Ps 119:33-40; Ezek 33:7-11; Mat 18:15-20; Rom 13:11-14
In times of crisis, we are wont to complain. In times of crisis, we are wont to look for someone to blame. In times of crisis, we are wont to throw in the towel and lash out at the world around us or at God. Faith would call us to a different response than that which we are inclined to pursue. Rather than to look outward, we are called to look inward to the crisis of our responsibility before God. Will we face the crises of life on the basis of our natural inclinations, our instincts, or will we come to God in repentance, submission, and faith?
Ezekiel lived a difficult time and context. Jeremiah had come along, predicting the destruction of Jerusalem, and nobody wanted to listen. When the destruction Jeremiah had announced became reality, it was up to Ezekiel to take the reigns as prophet of Yahweh, leading the people to faith and repentance in light of Jerusalem's downfall and their deportation.
It was not a happy place to be. Anyone interested in representing God on the heels of national destruction and mass deportation? It was kind of like being in charge of federal emergency response programs in the aftermath of major hurricanes such as Katrina. You can be sure that even if everything went smoothly, people would be displeased. We are never happy when our plans are disturbed, our lives disrupted, and our sense of comfort, belonging, and well-being is destroyed.
That is precisely where Ezekiel found himself. As the people were deported from Jerusalem with its fall, Ezekiel was priest to Yahweh, God's mouthpiece before the deported population. The message he had to share was not a very comforting one, either. Who wants to hear that the problems they are facing are of their own making? It's like being told that global warming, drought, hurricane weather, gas prices, and a failing economy are our own fault for allowing greed to control ...
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