Saturday, August 31, 2013
Who Among Us Could Save Us?
Ezek. 14:12 ¶ The word of the LORD came to me:
Ezek. 14:13 Mortal, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it, and break its staff of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it human beings and animals,
Ezek. 14:14 even if Noah, Daniel, and Job, these three, were in it, they would save only their own lives by their righteousness, says the Lord GOD.
The people of God had, as a whole, rejected the Lord. No longer were they willing to serve him, but they had given themselves over to the idols of other lands. Now, they were facing utter destruction and a life in exile. Maybe they had thought that there would be those around them who would save them! Maybe it didn't matter that the collective whole had turned aside from God, but a few good people sprinkled among them would bring about the salvation of all. Sadly, this was not to be the case. Not even Noah, Daniel or Job could save them now.
Noah had been a faithful man of God but only his family was saved. The rest of the world suffered the hand of destruction because of their sinfulness. Job had pleaded and interceded with God and yet he was the one who was ultimately saved through his righteousness. Now, Daniel, a contemporary of Ezekiel was known as a great intercessor. He had already been carried off into exile and yet he was faithful in praying for his people. But God said this would not be enough. These men were saved because of their righteousness but the Israelites were no longer a righteous people. No one else could save them -- they had to take personal responsibility for their relationship with God.
Does this sound all too familiar? Have we become a people who will no longer take responsibility for our own actions and instead seek for others to take care of us? Do we make excuses for our behaviors and then expect everything to simply be "okay?" Do we somehow believe that if there are some good folk around us who are praying and interceding that all of our problems will disappear?
It's time to step up and realize that we must be responsible for our own actions and our personal walk with God. I think about some of the young people with whom I've spoken who have grown up in the faith. They have chosen to walk away from God and from church in an effort to "find themselves." However, they know that Grandpa and Grandma are faithfully praying for them and somewhere in their hearts they are hopeful that Grandpa and Grandma will be covering them, even in the midst of their poor decisions. Surely that is good enough.
Abraham had pleaded with God for the life of his nephew Lot when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, but God was letting the people of Jerusalem know that this would not happen again. God's patience had run out with the people of Israel. He had pleaded with them and he had given them every chance that they had to repent and turn toward him but they refused time and again -- continuing in their lives of infidelity. Enough was enough. Only those who were righteous would be able to survive.
What did it mean to be righteous? It meant to be "right" before God. These three men had a face to face relationship with God. They were all three known as men of prayer and intercessors. Not only did they "talk the talk" but they "walked the walked." They were genuine -- righteous -- through and through. This was God's intention for all of humanity but it seems that there were very few who were willing to be faithful to God.
God is calling us to fidelity today. Each and every single one of us must be responsible for our personal walk with the him. We must be faithful to him. There is no other human among us that can save us. It won't be our grandparents, or our parents, or our good friends, or the pastor of the church. They may be righteous before God and they will be saved -- but they will not save us. They may spend years in intercession for those who are lost, but unless the lost respond and repent, they will not be saved.
In our years of ministry we have been privileged to hold many funerals. It's an amazing experience as the entire extended family comes to join in for the celebration of the life of the individual who has passed away. Many of the funerals we have experienced are for those who have had an extended journey with the Lord. Sadly, when the second, third and even fourth generations arrive there are many who no longer walk with the Lord. Honestly, you can even tell those who do and those who don't by the way they look and act. Sin takes a toll on the lives of those who do not walk faithfully with the Lord. And yet, in that moment of time when the loved one is celebrated, there are those who look longingly into the casket and somehow realize their connection with God is slipping away. I know that the plea from the one who has passed on would be that those who are left would turn and walk with the Lord.
Noah, Daniel and Job can't save us. Grandpa and Grandma can't save us. It's time to step up and walk in faith with our Holy God who loves us and simply wants us to be in a personal relationship with him. He can save us!
Lord, please, help me to faithfully walk with you and trust in you every day. Amen.