August 19, 2015 Ponder
On my journey through the Bible via CD, I have been in Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. I enjoyed Isaiah more than usual as I listened for its statements of hope – there are quite a few of them in the midst of so many forecasts of judgment.
Then Jeremiah. No wonder he is called “the weeping prophet,” for it seems that nearly all of his messages tell of coming judgment. I wanted to cry when I listened again to the story of the king hearing Jeremiah’s writings, then taking a knife, cutting up the scroll and tossing it into the fire. Jeremiah was then told to write it again.
And good old Ezekiel and all that puzzling imagery – wheels turning in all directions with eyes everywhere. I have known only a few seminary professors who made some of this material make sense to me.
But the overriding theme of all three books is of judgment on Israel for their disobedience. The message needed to be given, and these three men, along with others, were the ones chosen by God to deliver it. They were asked to do seemingly strange things to illustrate their message. And they were hated for doing their job and suffered plenty at the hands of rebellious people who did not want to hear the truth.
I am not one who enjoys delivering negative information – I much prefer to share good news. Even when a situation is difficult, I try to find a positive way to deal with it and look for ways to bring hope. But when I read the message of these three Old Testament books and try to climb into the skin of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, I find myself wondering how they did it. I cannot imagine how lonely they must have felt.
Only Jesus can fully understand this kind of loneliness and rejection. When He was dying on the cross, the sin of the entire world was on Him – my sin and even the sin of those few people who stayed close by to watch. But He is the ultimate Faithful Messenger – the One Who “finished the work that the Father sent Him to do.”
I am grateful for the example of people who have stayed the course and finished strong – often in the worst of circumstances. I so much desire to follow in their footsteps. I pray that each of God’s children will come to the end of this day, and every day, sensing God’s voice of approval: “Well done, good and faithful messenger.”
Pastor Bill Ehmann