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Sunday, April 25, 2010

catastrophe

I was reading the introduction to the book of Ezekiel in The Message. It talks about how people face catastrophe in two common ways: with denial, or with despair. Catastrophe happens, and some people “shut their eyes tight or look the other way.” They “manage to act as if everything if going to be just fine; they take refuge in distractions and lies and fantasies…” they deny. Others are “paralyzed,” and “accept it as the end of the world.” They are “unwilling to do anything, concluding that life for all intents and purposes is over.” They “listlessly close their eyes to a world in which all the color has drained out, a world gone dead…”they despair.

When God’s people faced catastrophe in Ezekiel’s day, “denial was the primary response.” He “found himself living among a people of God who stubbornly refused to see what was right before their eyes (the denial crowd). There were also some who were unwilling to see anything other than what was right before their eyes (the despair crowd).” Ezekiel was able to show them that, “yes, there was a catastrophe, but God was at work in the catastrophe, sovereignly using the catastrophe. He showed them so that they would be able to embrace God in the worst of times.” Because of Ezekiel’s faithfulness, “God’s people emerged from that catastrophic century robust and whole.”

Ezekiel wrote in Chapter 36: 24-28:
"'For here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I'll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I'll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I'll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that's God-willed, not self-willed. I'll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You'll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You'll be my people! I'll be your God!"

And in Ezekiel 34: 30-31:
"They'll know, beyond doubting, that I, God, am their God, that I'm with them and that they, the people Israel, are my people. Decree of God, the Master: You are my dear flock, the flock of my pasture, my human flock, and I am your God.”

I must admit that I have responded to catastrophe with both denial and despair (though I’m more inclined to despair). I don’t want to live like this. I want to see the world as Ezekiel did, and the only way is to see him working in a catastrophe, is by living close to his heartbeat. Draw me closer.

g

2 comments:

Don said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Don said...

Very good. I want to pass along something I read.

"All of your circumstances are in the hands of God. So never think it strange concerning the circumstance you are in."