Prophets Project · Uncategorized

Sinhibition

Heheh. You like that title? My genius brain just came up with it. ūüėČ This post is days late, and despite having extra time for reflection, I don’t have anything earth-shattering to report (sorry, Crystal).¬†Ezekiel chapters 25-36¬†reveal a lot about what God¬†dislikes.¬†In chapter 28, there’s a “lament”¬†about the King of Tyre that many people think is a direct Satan reference.¬†Maybe it is, but¬†I’m not sure¬†we should make that presumption. Regardless, it is interesting reading if you have a moment.¬†I would love to know what you think.

But now to the meat of this entry. Also in chapter 28, Ezekiel told us that one of the lamentable things about the King of Tyre was that he considered himself a god. Ezekiel 28:2: 

“…And you have said, ‚ÄėI am a god,
            I sit in the seat of gods
            In the heart of the seas’;
            Yet you are a man and not God,
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Although you make your heart like the heart of God‚ÄĒ”

That last line really catches me. What exactly does it mean to make¬†one’s¬†“heart like heart of God-“?¬†It is easy to pass this passage off as¬†personally irrelevant; big,¬†bad, uppity ruler gets a bit too cocky. But I think it has¬†wider significance than that. How many of us assume that we are the rulers of our own lives… despite our professed faith, despite being shown again and again that we are¬†at the mercy of circumstance beyond our control? I do. All. The. Time. You wouldn’t think arrogance would look like timidity and insecurity, but for me, that’s exactly what it looks like. Confused? Bear with me. I recently watched a YouTube video about a woman who talks at one point about giving her life to God. Her conviction that this life is no longer hers to do with as she wishes, but God’s – to do with as HE wishes, made me hang my head. Ezekiel also chose this path of complete surrender. At least, that’s what it looks like from where I’m standing. I, too, have pledged my life. But here’s the thing: I HOLD BACK. I even know when I’m doing it. I pray and say what I think are the right words, but as I’m praying, I’m putting up these little walls of defense around things that make me uncomfortable. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do that. “God, make me open and willing (mostly maybe).” It is appallingly arrogant to say, “Yes, God, my life is yours,” and then put restrictions on it. I am saying, in effect, “I know better. I’m directing this little orchestra and if the flutes want to all play different notes at different times… well, whatever. I’m too lazy to fix it. Besides, I’d hate to offend the players. That would be uncomfortable.”

I know my sin, and yet every fiber of my being fights repentance. Why is that???? Why can’t I just bulldoze those defensive walls? I don’t know exactly how to do it, but I do know that I desperately want this dam to break. I want to know how it feels to let go of those inhibitions, of my need for control. Unreserved, unashamed, untethered.

Advertisements
Prophets Project · Uncategorized

Prophets Project – How can we be just and compassionate?

These chapters in Ezekiel are absolutely full of intriguing ideas worthy of reflection, but I’ve been mulling over one idea in particular, lately, and Ezekiel offers me the perfect opportunity to work through it (or at least attempt to do so).

God is just. We read about Israel’s experiences throughout the¬†Bible¬†and some of those experiences (and predictions) are terrifying, painful, ugly. We can also see that people often suffered as a result of their decisions. Justice, right? But then there are passages where the authors focus on God’s compassion. He takes pity on us. He “spares” us despite our unworthiness (Ezekiel 20:16-17).

If I believe that God is just and compassionate, then I have to believe that these two traits are not at odds. Ezekiel 20: 44 caught my attention: “And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name’s sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, declares the Lord God.” Hmmm… there’s something here that changes my understanding of justice, but I can’t put my finger on it. Perhaps we should focus less on being just toward each other and more on seeking justice for God? Because, after all, to serve God is the only true way to serve each other. Sorry for the rambling. Just trying to get a handle on this train of thought.

People are told to seek justice (see Isaiah 1:17, for just one example), which sounds simple enough, but I feel befuddled when I read Proverbs 28:5, which states: “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.” Ahem… I’m afraid this does not bode well for me, because I’m still confused. How can we know what is just and when to be compassionate and relieve suffering when that suffering seems… well, fair, based on someone’s actions. For example – a parent has an adult child who is broke and living on the streets because of a drug habit. They’ve made every effort to help in the past. The child is in her current predicament because she made bad decisions. Is it good and just to take that child back into the parents’ home and help her get back on her feet? She certainly qualifies as poor and oppressed. Or should she bear the weight of her choices? You can’t make that call without more info, right? I feel like there are always extenuating circumstances… heck, they may go all the way back to Adam and Eve. God has the advantage of being able to see all of those variables and factors. I do not. Do such things matter? How can we know how best to serve God and our fellow man?

I know I’m overthinking this. I know that if our actions are borne out of love and we are seeking God’s will, we’re doing what we can. But doesn’t that feel like an oversimplification sometimes? In a decision-making moment, things can seem overwhelming, confusing, weighty.

I think maybe I just muddied the waters. ūüôā

Lacking a neat moral-of-the-story, I’ll leave you with a couple of verses from my reading that I found powerful. This moving plea can be found in Ezekiel 18:31-32:
“Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”