There are parts of the Bible I struggle with.
I don’t struggle because the language is challenging, or because I don’t understand the symbolism. I find some parts difficult because what I read hurts my heart. The passages offend my senses and paint violent and disturbing pictures in my mind. In other words, I struggle because I don’t like the content.
The book of Ezekiel is one of these books. Written at the end of Judah’s long period of apostasy, when the people had forsaken God and were chasing every idol that beckoned them, it is a frightening and horrible book. Most of its 48 chapters contain God’s solemn warnings that if Judah (the southern kingdom of Israel) doesn’t turn back to God, it will face severe judgment. (And I won’t go into detail about what that looks like, because the details made me cry.)
The book of Ezekiel upsets me because Judah’s falling away greatly parallels my own country’s, the United States, moral and spiritual demise. It makes me fear for my nation, my state, and my fellow citizens. Like Israel centuries ago, if my people don’t repent of their sins and turn to God, they will suffer unimaginable horror. This is God’s only appropriate response to a people who consistently rejects his offer of forgiveness, cleansing, and peace.
But there are sparks of brilliant beauty on these dark pages. They burst through the shroud of death and destruction like a mighty comet blazing a fireball path across the heavens. Here’s one of my favorites:
“’Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?’ says the Lord God, ‘and not that he should turn from his ways and live?’” (Eze. 18:23).
From the dawn of time, God has been pursuing mankind. Inviting us to have a relationship with him. Showering us with care, provision, and love. He has wooed us and offered the ultimate declaration of his love when he allowed his beloved Son to die on a cruel Roman cross for our sins.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all . . . .” Romans 8:32 reminds us that God signed his love letter to us in his own blood.
It’s no wonder, in the middle of God’s heartbreaking declaration of the coming judgment, that he interrupts to say,
“For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies. . . . Therefore, turn and LIVE!” (Eze. 18:32).
If you've never surrendered your life to God, please don’t wait. God calls to you. Begs you. Pleads with you. Listen to his words in Hebrews 3:15:
"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts . . .”
Our only hope, but our sure hope, is to trust in Christ as our Savior, Lord, Protector, and Provider. It is only under the shelter of his almighty wings that we will be safe in the perilous days to come.
My invitation is twofold:
If you haven’t surrendered your life to Christ, asked him to forgive your sins, cleanse you, and change you, don’t wait another day. Here’s a link to my How to Know God page, which contains verses from the Bible and my personal testimony to show you how.
If you do have a relationship with Christ, it’s time to get serious. We can’t be wishy washy in our witness while the world rides a bullet train toward its own demise. During ever-darkening times, the light of Christ will shine brightest through clean vessels.
To this end, we must confess sin quickly and seek God’s face daily through prayer and Bible reading. Like a runner preparing for a marathon, we need to be spiritually strong and healthy to run our faith race with endurance and finish well. We cannot shrink away. We cannot compromise. We must finish our course to receive the prize and hear our Lord’s words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Do you ever encounter parts of the Bible you find disturbing? How do you handle it? I’d like to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below and join the conversation.
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