October 12, 2015

Thanksgiving for God who keeps His Word

Ezekiel 24:1–25:17, Revelation 11:15–12:17, Job 36:1–12

A construction crew is building a condo complex about a block from our home. If I stand there long enough, I can determine the boss; he is the one that gives orders and the rest carry out his wishes. In the same way, God shows that He rules supreme in the world that He created; He says what will happen, then does it!

“I am the Lord. I have spoken; it shall come to pass; I will do it. I will not go back; I will not spare; I will not relent; according to your ways and your deeds you will be judged, declares the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 24:14) By saying what will happen and then it happens, I know that God is sovereign over this world.

He used this method to show His sinning people that He is the Boss. Through the prophet Ezekiel, He told them they would experience great loss because of their sin, but “Your turbans shall be on your heads and your shoes on your feet; you shall not mourn or weep, but you shall rot away in your iniquities and groan to one another. Thus shall Ezekiel be to you a sign; according to all that he has done you shall do. When this comes, then you will know that I am the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 24:23–24)

He also told them they would be released to speak to their enemies that they would be “a sign to them, and they will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 24:27)

As for the enemies, God told the Ammonites, “Behold, I have stretched out my hand against you, and will hand you over as plunder to the nations. And I will cut you off from the peoples and will make you perish out of the countries; I will destroy you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 25:7)

He said to Moab and Seir who had claimed that “the house of Judah is like all the other nations” that “I will give (them) . . . along with the Ammonites to the people of the East as a possession, that the Ammonites may be remembered no more among the nations, and I will execute judgments upon Moab. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 25:8, 10–11)

He also said, “I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel, and they shall do in Edom according to my anger and according to my wrath, and they shall know my vengeance, declares the Lord God.” and “I will stretch out my hand against the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethites and destroy the rest of the seacoast. I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon them.” (Ezekiel 25:14, 16–17)

The pattern is clear; God says He will do something, then He does it, knowing that all people, His people and their enemies, “will know that I am the Lord.”

However, in the case of Job’s troubles, there were no warnings, no declaration from God that Job needed a disaster so he would know who God is. Elihu figured this is what God usually did so he said to Job about God: “Then he declares to them their work and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly.” (Job 36:9) However, he failed to notice that God was not telling Job this, not before his problems began nor during them. Yet Elihu sang the same tune over and over, that if the people of God “listen and serve him, they complete their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasantness. But if they do not listen, they perish by the sword and die without knowledge.” (Job 36:11–12)

Because that did not happen for Job, he (and the three other ‘friends’) assumed that Job was wicked and being punished. However, my conclusion is this: If God explains or warns me ahead of time then my trial is a result of sin. If He does not explain or give any warnings, then He knows that I know “He is the Lord and my faith is being tested and proved.

God said all these things would happen to sinful people, and they did. The Bible also speaks of other events, like the last judgment: “The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” (Revelation 11:18)

He tells of a war that arose in heaven where “Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

At this, John heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Revelation 12:7–11)

Because God keeps His Word, and because He makes Himself known, I am confident that whether alive or dead, I am one who has victory over sin, and doubt, and Satan himself, just as God says. And I give thanks to Him because He gives me that victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. 

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