8:00 a.m. Sunday September 26, 2021. 50F/10C.
A light jacket is best today. The morning air has not yet warmed. The large birds are busy chastising one another. First the crow caws, then the woodpecker repeats rapidly, and finally a multitude of loud birds cry out at once. The handle of the shovel that rests against the cabin wall is quite cold. But the cold is good. It feels earthy, as though all tensions can be released into the wooden handle before being lost into the soil. The shovel, while a bit heavy, is still swung in the air. The few spider webs remaining come down. The sandy soil out by the storm trench is easy to break. A small hole forms quickly. Plant roots are dropped in and another hole is made. In ten minutes, the work is easily complete. The top of a shrubby tree is seen to bend way over and point in the direction of the shovel. Then a squirrel jumps to the next tree, allowing the first one to spring back up. In the cabin a simple sandwich will do for breakfast. Medicinal tea has turned cool. It is bitter but sweet.
The book of Ezekiel, chapter eleven
Heavenly Father, I ask of you to share your wisdom with man. Let a spirit of repentance and revival fall on us. Cause us to understand your word. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
God had just used Ezekiel’s prophetic voice to speak judgment to a group of people, busy scamming the remnant of Jews in Jerusalem. When Ezekiel spoke, a man that he knew dropped dead. It startled Ezekiel.
Ah Lord God! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel?
Ezekiel was seeing the situation as opposite of what it was. Ezekiel saw those left behind in Jerusalem as the remnant of God’s people. He saw them as the only ones who would survive. When in fact, the exiled Babylonian Jews were the real remnant. It was the exiles, those captured by Nebuchadnezzar, who would survive.
God explained that the priestly families left in Jerusalem were already greedy and prideful. They were telling each other that the exiles could not worship God in Babylonia. They assumed that the land, the city, and the temple were given to them.
Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
Son of man, thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men of thy kindred, and all the house of Israel wholly, are they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, Get you far from the Lord: unto us is this land given in possession.
The wicked said that God was no longer in charge anywhere on earth, because he left them in charge of Jerusalem! Ezekiel’s relatives must have secretly disdained him. However, God took care of all his faithful ones. The wicked were standing in the temple courtyard teaching that God got rid of the unloved exiles, and he then left Jerusalem in the hands of the trendsetters, to do as they pleased. They assumed themselves to be self righteous. They assumed that YHWH left them in charge as gods. They did not sorrow or mourn.
So God opened Ezekiel’s mouth again to speak to the wicked. He would set the record straight.
Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.
Finally God also spoke to the exiles, setting the record straight.
Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you from among the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
Don’t be disheartened by the wicked, you exiles! They spoke evil and they still do speak evil. God would save a remnant of his people and give them land and life.
The humble repentant were the real remnant.
Life in the hollow, September 26
My son came by last night. He had business in the area and dropped by when he was done. It was a pleasant surprise. We normally pray together when he is here, but we got into conversations about his work and did not pray last night.
We certainly did not mean to leave God out, but that’s what we did. My own heart nailed me over it, later, while I attempted to sleep.
I’ll call him today, make sure he got home safely and ask him to help me remember to pray together next time.
I repent. In the name of Jesus, I repent.
It does not take much to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. It does not take much to be under the guidance and safekeeping of God: a realization of our small humanness, humble repentance, and confession that Jesus is Lord. It is only by his sacrifice that we can be presentable to God. It’s beautiful, humble and simple.
It’s not by self righteousness, lest any of us should boast.