I’m on the home stretch (well, really behind, but I’m trusting I’ll make it) of journaling through a wide-margin Bible for Mark’s college graduation. Today, I was in Ezekiel 14 and I just had to stop to share a passage that both fascinated and challenged me.
I’m far from being an Ezekiel scholar, but in brief, Ezekiel is a priest and prophet whom the Lord speaks through to bring judgment upon Israel during their captivity in Babylon. With that as the backdrop, check out the word that came to Ezekiel:
And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord God.
Forgive me for dropping you into a dark place in Scripture! A little abrupt, I know. Yet let me point out something to challenge and encourage us.
Your walk matters!
Here, God is telling Ezekiel to tell the people that Jerusalem is going to suffer the consequences of their sin. The point here is that even if Noah, Job, or Daniel were in Jerusalem, they couldn’t save Jerusalem. God has been so slow to anger and has given them every opportunity to turn back to Him. Now the time of judgment has come.
Obviously, this isn’t good news if you’re counting on someone else to be faithful for your protection! But stop and ponder how God just named three people who were each seen as righteous – obeying from a heart of love. They obeyed the Lord in such a way that all the darkness of the world couldn’t keep them from being blessed for the way they chose to live.
I don’t know about you, but when I saw those three names, my heart leapt… and I knew that I want to be one of them. I want to be in that club. I hate clubs and clicks and all that icky stuff, but similar to the names listed in Hebrews of those found faithful, here is this list.
A couple of nuances…
1. Noah was not a perfect guy. He was super faithful, but life after the boat ride had some stumbles. God still uses Noah as someone He finds pleasing. God doesn’t define righteousness as perfection.
2. Daniel was actually believed to be alive (and perhaps in captivity in Babylon) when Ezekiel is prophesying this. So, you could actually be seen as righteous in God’s sight in the present tense, not just in the past.
In a world where everything can feel turned upside down, how you make each choice today matters in God’s eyes. When you may be thinking “What can I do?”, know that what you do matters. God sees you and your heart as you live your life.