Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Posts tagged ‘faithful’

You Will Know that I Am the LORD (Civilization’s Way)

Babylon-Pergamon_Museum_Berlin

Image file: Pergamon Museum Berlin on Wikimedia Commons.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Last time, we looked at how God revealed Himself through the majesty of creation. In the book of Ezekiel, God revealed Himself in a far less idyllic manner – through the withering siege and brutal conquest by King Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian army. Despite generations of warnings by God through the prophets, a vast majority of the people of Israel and Judah “exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator…” not unusual behavior for fallen mankind, but unacceptable to God as illustrated in Romans 1:25 (NIV).

The accounts of the Babylonian captivity in 2 Chronicles 36 and as prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel are heart wrenching, even knowing that these people should have seen it coming and had every opportunity to stop the judgment. Some leaders like Hezekiah and Josiah tried to turn the hearts of the people back to God. What few revivals that occurred were short-lived and in retrospect, not very successful. The next king who came along led his people right back to the pig trough of disobedience and often added more depravity to the mix.

By the time that Ezekiel came along, the captivity had already begun. God proclaimed repeatedly that the purpose of the judgment upon Israel and Judah by Babylon was “that they may know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 20:7, 12, 19, 20, 24, 38, 42, 44, et al, NKJV) Just as God’s fingerprint in all creation serves as overwhelming evidence of God’s love in the nicest of ways, his judgment of people and nations who choose to turn their backs on Him can result in the bitterness of a devastating conquest by hostile armies whom God has chosen to deliver his discipline. Both methods are intended to draw us to Him in humility and repentance – that we may know that He is LORD.

Any loving parents would prefer to shower blessings upon obedient children, but are all too often forced to deliver correction when the children choose to rebel. God would also much rather bless His faithful followers than to smack down a wayward nation. The choice is up to us.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

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Ezekiel’s Burden

Ezekiel_Tapestry2x

Ezekiel prophet’s wall photo by Peter2010 on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Think of the least popular political figure you can imagine. Now imagine that you are picked up by alien-like creatures and brought to this leader who proceeds to tell you that you now have a new job working for him and here are the details of the job:

• You will be the spokesperson for this unpopular ruler
• You have to literally eat his words in the form of a honey-flavored scroll
• The people will not listen to you
• The people will tie you up and you will be so thirsty that your tongue will stick to the roof of your mouth, but when He tells you to speak, you will speak.
• Despite the mistreatment of the people, you must not be afraid of them
• If you don’t speak up to the people when your boss tells you, you will be responsible for their very lives. If they die, you will be personally responsible for their lost souls.
• You will make a model of a city under siege and then lay on your left side next to it for 390 days
• During that time, you will not be able to move off your side
• You will bake you bread over a fire fueled by human waste
• After the 390 days have passed, you will lay on your right side for another 40 days
• Then you will shave your head and burn part of the hair for all to see, throw part of it into the air and slice it up with a sword and tie some of the hair onto your clothes. For all to see.

Mind-blowing; those are the words that come to mind when I read the opening chapters of the book of Ezekiel. If this had been me, I would already have been looking for someone to take my place, or perhaps a place to hide (although he probably knew what happened when Jonah tried that).

God will never tell us to do anything for which He has not equipped us, but will require us to faithfully obey; not knowing everything there is to know about our assignment. Ezekiel was a devout Jewish priest who was taken out of Israel during the Babylonian captivity. His only objection to the terms of his service was about using human waste to bake his bread. On this, God allowed him to use cattle dung instead. Now, that’s commitment!

Do we feel any kind of personal responsibility for the lost souls with whom we come into contact each day? God told Ezekiel to share God’s message even if the people would not listen and the same is true today. Our job is to tell people about Jesus; it is the work of His Holy Spirit that does the saving. Understanding our part of the work should give us the freedom to share the Gospel much more freely.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

An Open Invitation to Worship

Hezekiah's Messenger_BiblePaintings

Illustration courtesy of Visual Bible Alive Resource Center.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Hezekiah became king at a time when Judah had already been overrun by Syrians and many of the people were carried off as captives. 2 Chronicles 28:5 makes it clear that this defeat was due to the unfaithful lifestyle of his predecessor, King Ahaz. This time, Israel defeated the Syrian army and eventually returned the captives to Judah. When Hezekiah ascended the throne, the first thing he did was open up the temple, repair the doors and summon the Levite priests to clean up and start doing their jobs again. Hezekiah understood that God’s blessings only came when the nation was obedient to His commandments.

Once the leadership had repented and were committed to worshipping God as He required, Hezekiah sent messengers with letters to all of Israel and Judah, inviting them to join in the Passover celebration. The letters begged the people to consider the consequences of their ancestors’ choices (many of the Israelis were captives in Assyria) and to come back to serving God, “that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you.” (2 Chronicles 30:8c, NKJV) The letters went on to assure that if the people in Israel repented and committed to serving God, those in captivity would “be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.” (2 Chronicles 30:9, NKJV)

What do you think was the response to this generous offer? Many of the people of Judah and some from a few of the tribes of Israel humbly came to the celebration, but most of them “laughed at them (the messengers) and mocked them.” (2 Chronicles 30:10b, NKJV) Sound familiar?

We have all been given a similar message to deliver to the world: turn away from practices and behaviors that cause pain and sorrow, repent and come serve the LORD God with all your heart. Those who accept God’s generous offer of salvation and eternal life can testify that there is no judgment in their new life. As messengers, we should not be discouraged by the jeers and laughter; we will all face the same God in the end. Ours is to make sure that the message is delivered humbly and with the complete love that only God can give.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

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