Tag: shedding innocent blood
Scripture reading for August 10th: Jeremiah 21-25
Many people claim to know God and speak for Him. Jeremiah’s day was no different from ours. There were many self-appointed prophets giving a message of peace and safety to people who were living in sin and idolatry. (Jeremiah 14:13-15) These were not pagans, but people whose ancestors made a covenant with the Lord to walk in faith and obedience. What does it mean to really know God?
Jeremiah used the example of King Shallum (Jehoahaz) , son of Josiah, who had gone into captivity. He focused on building a bigger palace and exploited the people of God for his own gain. “Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father (Josiah) have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy so all went well. Is that not what it means to know Me?” declares the Lord? “But your eyes and your heart are set on dishonest gain, on shedding of innocent blood and on oppression and extortion.”” (Jeremiah 22:15-17) This wicked king was sent ahead into captivity as an example to the people; Jeremiah used his failure to follow his godly father as an example to the people.
Knowing God is very practical. It is humbly following the ways of truth and justice laid out by God in His law and word. It is being merciful to the poor and needy. It is confronting injustice and defending those whose innocent blood is being shed. It is refusing to be under the oppression of sin and unbelief, but truly knowing the heart of God by faith in His holy word!
We must be vigilant today concerning our own knowledge of God. He has given us His word and His Holy Spirit to take that word and reveal a true knowledge of God to each person. No longer do we need to be deceived by self-appointed prophets or political leaders. We are each called to live by God’s word and speak truth to our neighbors. We are to live a practical life that demonstrates we know God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Some leaders of our nation and even some leaders of God’s church are speaking lies that take innocent life and oppress and extort from God’s people. Check out their lives and fruit!
Scripture reading for August 24th: Ezekiel 20-23
Confronting sin in people is the job of the prophet and preacher. We who minister the word of the Lord must faithfully declare what God has said and speak plainly to those whose souls are in danger of God’s eternal wrath. Sin brings the wrath of God. That wrath is an ongoing thing that is happening continually and it is also an eternal thing that will happen to all who die in their sins on the day of judgment. (Romans 1:18-19) (Romans 2:5) God loves each person enough to confront him before He judges him. In fact, He has stated that He will not send His wrath without revealing his plan to the prophets. (Amos 3:7)
In today’s reading, Ezekiel is told to confront the people of Jerusalem with all of their detestable practices. (Ezekiel 22:1) God declared that the sin of bloodshed was bringing doom on the city. The people’s sin of sacrificing their children in the fire to the false idols was bringing God’s wrath! Ezekiel pointed out mistreatment of fathers and mothers by children and mistreatment of the alien and orphan as reasons for the coming destruction. The people had despised the holy things and desecrated the Sabbath as a day of worship and rest. (Ezekiel 22:7-8) Adultery, incest, and lewd sexual conduct were hastening the day of wrath and people needed to be confronted! Excessive interest was being charged and people were extorting money from the weak and powerless with mafia-like tactics. Sure sounds like the prophet was speaking to our day in America!
God also confronted the priests who were doing violence as well. This violence was to God’s law. They were twisting God’s law to call evil, good and then to call good, evil. They did not help people to discern between what was holy and what God considered profane. They whitewashed their evil deeds by giving the people false visions and lying divinations. They claimed the the Lord had spoken when He had said nothing of the sort! (Ezekiel 22:26-28) When the ministers of God are messed up and under sin and deception, the people are led further astray by their false teaching and example. God looked for one man to stand in the gap on behalf of the land so He would not have to destroy it, but found none! (Ezekiel 22:30-31)
Why does God confront people who are in sin? Does He enjoy seeing them squirm? Does He want to embarrass them in a church service? God wants all to know that He is the Lord and that what He has decreed will come to pass. He is to be honored and obeyed by those who are His people. When God confronts sin, He gives his people opportunity to repent and be delivered. His love brings the confrontation to those who will humbly receive it. Take time today and allow the Lord to speak to your heart. Listen and repent so that the wrath may be turned away! If you are right with the Lord, stand in the gap for someone who is lost and in need of His grace! The rewards are eternal!