1 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us...God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

EZEKIEL - Let Freedom Ring!

Defeated.

Captive.

Exiled.

This was the painful state of affairs for the Israelites. Overcome by the Babylonians, they had been led away from their precious land, and into virtual slavery under a foreign and oppressive ruler, Nebuchadnezzar (the Biblical account can be found in 2 Kings 24:8-25:30).

Their story isn't one of conquering freedom, or resounding independence.

It's just the opposite.

And yet, into this despairing and seemingly hopeless situation, God raised up a messenger – his chosen prophet, Ezekiel.

Ezekiel gave God's message of judgment on Israel and other nations to the captives in Babylon. And yet, he also brought God's message of hope, salvation, and future restoration. Ezekiel painted a vivid picture of the unchangeable holiness of God.

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is an excerpt of that uplifting message:

"This is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'The people of Israel will again live in their own land, the land I gave my servant Jacob. For I will gather them from the distant lands where I have scattered them. I will reveal to the nations of the world my holiness among my people. They will live safely…they will know that I am the LORD their God.'" (Ezekiel 28:25-26)

There was partial fulfillment of this promise when many Israelites were allowed to return from exile under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. And then, in 1948, the political nation of Israel was re-established as they gained their independence.

However, this promise will have its ultimate fulfillment when Jesus Christ returns to set up His eternal Kingdom. Then, all people who have been faithful to God will dwell together in harmony and complete safety.

These passages brought many thoughts to ponder on the eve of America's Independence Day.

What is the state of our nation?

Are we individually, and as a country, being faithful to God? Are we trusting Him to lead us, to be our moral and spiritual compass?

Are we truly a people, a nation UNDER GOD?

Sometimes we take our freedom for granted. We forget that it was purchased at a great price. Many people have sacrificed their very lives for the privilege of living in a country that declares itself the "land of the free and the home of the brave."

Are we in danger of being blind like the Israelites?

I asked before – what is the state of our nation? But, the more important question is this –

What is the state of our hearts?

Our personal, spiritual, soul salvation was purchased at a great price. There is One who sacrificed His very life for us – to give us the privilege of living in a state of freedom from the slavery to sin.

Are we excusing ourselves from our responsibilities before God? Are we being accountable to God for our choices?

Are we being faithful to the Faithful One?

All of God's promises will be ultimately fulfilled under the rule of the Messiah. He will reveal Himself to the nations of the world. He will gather His faithful ones, the ones He has redeemed, from distant lands. And we will live safely in His glorious presence forever restored to perfect fellowship with Him.

And every knee shall bow, every tongue confess – He is the LORD, the Almighty God.

Let us never take our freedom for granted – and may we take the occasion of Independence Day to once again focus on the values that make America a country that honors "liberty and justice for all."

But let's also examine our hearts – and single-mindedly pursue the One who possesses unchangeable holiness.

Let us re-gain a vision of His glory, a fresh sense of His greatness, and a renewed spirit of devotion and love for Him.

"For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again…Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away…And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart, and give you a tender, responsive heart." (Ezekiel 36:24-26)


(Linked today with Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays, and Peggy at Soaking On SONday. Please feel free to hop on over to my other blog during the week - Sharon Sharing God)


"When in doubt, search God out!"

11 comments:

  1. Good Morning Sharon!

    What an awesome post to begin Sunday and the weekend of July 4th. You pose great questions. The state of our nation in the eyes of God isn't good. Unfortunately we are not a nation living for the Holy One. This nation as a whole is very sinful.

    However, there is a remnant who is living for God in this nation, and they are being blessed beyond measure. They are the wheat among the chaff. In the end, God will judge the United States and all other nations whose backs are toward Him. But God will set apart the godly for himself (1 Peter??). Our hearts do need to be changed. Once our hearts are changed by accepting Christ and following Him, this nation will change. All nations will change. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord (Psalm 33??).

    I hope you have a wonderful July 4 weekend in the Lord with your friends and family. It's so good to be back blogging again. It's been a very busy 4 weeks. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.

    Blessings,
    Judy

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  2. WOW! AMEN and Glory to God! Let His freedom reign!

    Many blessings Sharon... awesome and well thought out and written post with so much to think about yet so very true, each thought you shared! I'll will have to ponder these questions, though the answers may be easily answered... it's a matter of the heart. So thankful for the power and promises of God!
    I'll be back... off to church!

    May you be enjoying a safe and blessed 4th of July weekend. I pray that you and your family
    have a rich time, well spent and enjoyed! :0)

    God bless America and YOU (((Sharon)))Love and peace,
    Peggy

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  3. Sharon,

    I have pondered these and fail to be able to access... but sadly this weighs heavily on those who care, and those who are burdened by this and the MANY people and the ONE, who have sacrificed their very lives for the privilege of living in a country that declares itself the "land of the free and the home of the brave."

    What is the state of our nation?

    Are we individually, and as a country, being faithful to God? Are we trusting Him to lead us, to be our moral and spiritual compass?

    Are we truly a people, a nation UNDER GOD?

    Are we in danger of being blind like the Israelites?

    What is the state of our hearts?

    Are we excusing ourselves from our responsibilities before God? Are we being accountable to God for our choices?

    Are we being faithful to the Faithful One?


    Sadly, our nation is in a poor state spiritually and thus economically, physically, politically, emotionally, psychologically, socially, each weighs upon the other ... and God is pleading with a remnant to take a stand; make a difference; live and die as one nation under God. But we do not seem to be... as is in too many churches and definitely in too many politicians, there is far too much "sin" and wrong doing going on and more rebellious and proud hearts than repentant and God honoring or God fearing leaders seeking God and His will for our nation.

    It does start with each of us and our hearts. It is a question of are we BEING faithful or just talking the talk. And we need to beg God for His mercy on our nations and poor decisions made without seeking Him and His wisdom. These words of your profoundly have an impact:

    "Our personal, spiritual, soul salvation was purchased at a great price. There is One who sacrificed His very life for us – to give us the privilege of living in a state of freedom from the slavery to sin."

    Powerful! I so agree with where you led this pursuit. May we "re-gain a vision of His glory, a fresh sense of His greatness, and a renewed spirit of devotion and love for Him." May our celebration of our independence reflect hearts that are more dependent on God and our freedom in Christ, obeying God, seeking God's face (not so much His hand), knowing His awesome grace and liberty, realizing our need for God, and PRAYING
    humbly to our King for One nation under God, with liberty and justice for all... may our response be one of changed hearts and true values; cleansed and responsive hearts... bowing and confessing Him as the Almighty Lord God Omnipotent... who reigns and rings with our true freedom and the power and authority is all HIS now and forever...

    Praying and believing...
    Peggy

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  4. Hi Sharon.....first thank you for stopping by my blog the other day! Second......great message!! Very similar to the message at church this morning from our pastor. We (the United States of America) exist because of the Christian faith and principals that our founding fathers put into place when they risked their lives and all their possessions to declare their liberties and freedom from oppression. Can we do any less than to be that remnant of believers who get on our knees to declare before the Lord that we and this nation are His!!! There is a much larger remnant of believers in this nation than we even know. The devil works over time to keep us from knowing that there are millions of us here being the watchman on the wall. We are in every corner of this nation daily calling out to Him to heal our land. We are the silent majority and our voices are getting louder!! I know it will be so and it will manifest in the natural realm when He so chooses to reveal it. For God does hear the prayers of the righteous and in His time He will heal our nation.

    Blessings,
    Sue

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  5. This is a very though provoking post. I find myself sitting and pondering each question.. The one that sticks out most, what is the state of our hearts?

    Thank you for your thoughts and for this very meaningful post.

    Blessings,
    Misty

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  6. Great post Sharon,
    I believe there is a remnant of very strong believers here in the USA, but the nation as a whole is growing away from the Lord. I think each of us must examine our hearts and draw closer to the Lord and be a light of Jesus Christ in this world. There are people who want to take our freedoms away and bring persecution upon us believers and silence us. But Jesus has already won the battle, we just must follow Him and walk in His victory.
    Blessings,
    Ken

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  7. when in doubt....search God out...pretty cool....good message.

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  8. Amen and Amen, Independence day is definitely a day to remember that we are dependent on God. This nations is what it is today because the founders believed and feared God; we must keep praying for our nation to remember where we came from, so that we will not become prisoners to sin and suffer the same fate the Israelite did:)

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  9. Beautiful message, Sharon, and so timely. We, as Christians, need to draw near to God and pray for our nation, for our lost loved ones and our government.

    Blessings and thanks for reminding us of our duty toward God and our nation and our families, neigbors, etc.

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  10. Dear friends,

    OK, after reading your comments, I am standing to my feet and cheering out loud! What a resounding affirmation of what true freedom means. I was so inspired by what you all shared. Profound, truthful, thought-provoking insights - and it is good to know that so many of us feel the same way. Several of you mentioned the remnant of strong believers in this country. I like that - and it's true. We must never lose sight of that fact (and yes, Sue, I believe the devil does everything he can to obscure that fact). I was reminded of when Elijah was discouraged because he thought he was "the only one left." God showed him that there were 7,000 others, and God promised to "preserve them." (2 Kings 19:14-18)

    We are the faithful remnant - and we must stand strong. Be brave, be confident, be bold. Our country needs us, desperately.

    "Let us re-gain a vision of His glory, a fresh sense of His greatness, and a renewed spirit of devotion and love for Him."

    Yes, Lord, empower us to show our country what it means to be a people UNDER GOD!

    GOD BLESS!

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"So I have been greatly encouraged in the midst of my troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives me new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How I thank God for you!"
(1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!