Ezekiel 14-16 is more about the trouble God's people are bringing on themselves because of their choices, choices that aren't connected to God's will.
Back then, around 590-570 BC, God's people worshipped idols, man-made figures, instead of God. These tiny figures were a physical representation of the problems in their hearts.
God tells Ezekiel,
"..these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces."
God's people have been too caught up in their own ways to notice God, to hear Him and see Him in their lives. And so, God continues discussing the certain judgement that will fall on these people. God compares His people at the time to a useless vine and a cheating wife.
It's not good, but I want to learn from their mistakes, you know. And so, I notice three men God mentions in contrast to the unfaithfulness and the lost.
"even if these three men- Noah, Daniel, and Job--were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness,"
declares the Sovereign LORD.
These three men from the Bible stand out to God. They have God's favor. They make good choices, choices that matter to God. What do they do that is so good? I can't help but wonder.
Noah is the guy from the family line of Adam who follow's God's call to build a giant boat (Noah's ark) per God's instructions, loads his family and a bunch of creatures on the boat, and rides out a devastating flood for 40 days...all by God's grace. It must have seemed like a crazy thing to do at the time, but Noah's faithfulness really paid off.
Daniel, remember, is the guy who was exiled to Babylon (after the fall of Jerusalem) and held captive in the company of the Babylonian king. Daniel was determined to stay faithful to God instead of giving into the ways of the people around him. Because of Daniel's faith, God is able to fill him with all kinds of knowledge and understanding. Daniel's trust saves His life, even when he is locked in a lion's den.
Job is a guy who has it all, loses it all, suffers beyond imagination, and holds strong to his faith, through the good, bad, and ugly. And because of Job's faith, God is with him and restores his life from a death bed, and blesses immensely.
We can learn from these guys. We can strengthen our own faith by reading their stories (and there's lots more in the details).
All three of these men refuse to give in to the ways of the world and their circumstances. They believe in God's goodness. And their faith sees them through the easy and the hard times. And even more than that, God is able to use these faithful men, and they are blessed for it.
Today's reading gets to the heart of the ways we all get lost today. I catch myself looking at the temporal things and situations in front of me, and I get stuck putting more time and energy and focus there than I should. But the thing is, God's power and presence is always with me. I have to keep that in mind...
God's helping hand is always reaching out for us, and its full of grace, guidance, and blessings.
A prayer for today-
Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for loving us, and for filling us with Your promises. Thank You for Your grace and all the ways You use us for Your good and glory.
Forgive me for all the ways I allow stumbling blocks to stand in the way of being faithful to You and Your helping hand in my life.
Help me to focus on You and Your goodness and mercy in all circumstances. Use me, Lord, and guide me in my walk with You.
I pray for all those who stumble and struggle to hold on to their faith and to know You and Your great love. Strengthen them Lord and make Yourself known in their lives.
Make me an instrument of Your grace in the world, Lord.
You are our Lord and Savior.
In the name of Jesus I pray,
Grace and peace of Christ,