Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ezekiel, Judgment, and the Coming Economic Crisis

I have been reading from the book of Ezekiel over the past few days, and have been struck with how many parallels there are between us today and those who were living in Jerusalem just prior to the exile into Babylon. What we see in Ezekiel is the judgment of God on a nation because they have turned their backs on Him, set up idols, and worshiped them instead of worshiping the One true God.

The nation of Israel had turned away from God and He tells them over and over again ,through the prophet Ezekiel, that judgment is coming. But He also tells them that the ultimate result of the judgment will be that all the people will know that He is the Lord.

And this got me thinking, what if the things that are currently happening, in the world in general and the United States in particular, are being orchestrated by God so that we will come to know that He is the Lord?

Am I saying here that the current economic crisis was caused by God as a judgment on America? No. It could be but, I will not presume to speak for God and what He is doing in this situation. And yes you did read that correctly - I do believe that what is happening in our economy is God's doing, I am just not going to say why He is doing it.

Could God be judging America for our turning our backs on Him, for removing Him from every area of our society, and for setting up the dollar as our object of worship? Absolutely. But He may have a completely different reason for allowing this economic collapse to happen, and I am not going to try and say that I know what it is.

This is what I do know: God is still sovereign; God is still trustworthy; God is still worthy of our worship and praise; God promised that He will never leave His children; and God promised that everything that we face as His child He will use for His glory and our good.

Now, with that said I still think we can draw some parallels from this current situation andwhat was happening in ancient Israel.

The first parallel I see is that of idolatry. I already touched on this above; no one can deny that we have allowed materialism, commercialism, greed, and selfishness to become idols in our land. Most Americans are for more interested in the house we live in or the car we drive than we are with making sure our families, friends, and neighbors know and understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are more concerned with our own comfort than we are with the eternal destination of those that we cross paths with on a daily basis. In short, we have become the object of our worship.

The second parallel I see is a rebellion against what God has clearly taught in His word. We live in a society that has rejected the clear teachings of the Bible on many issues - divorce, abortion, same sex marriage just to name a few - and as we look at the professing church we don't see much of a difference from the world around us.

Getting back to Ezekiel; in chapter nine we read that God is sending his executioners to carry out His judgment against Jerusalem. We also read that before He permits them to begin He has someone go throughout the city and put a seal on the foreheads of all of these who belong to Him; these are identified as those "who sigh and groan over the abominations committed" in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 9:4). Then in the next two verses God tells the executioners:
“Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity. Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.”
Ezekiel 9:5-6
Did you catch that last part? The judgment was to begin in the house of God; they were not to start out in the street, and they were not to start with those who had rejected God outright, they were not to touch anyone who had the mark of God on their forehead. Those who belong to God should take great comfort in that - when He pours out His wrath His children are protected (1 Thessalonians 5:9). And while we can be assured that we, as His children, will never experience His wrath, please note that even though the ones who were sealed were protected from the slaughter they still had to endure the consequences of the judgment on their nation; They lived through the siege of the Babylonian army, they lived through the famine and disease, and ultimately they were carried away as slaves into Babylon.

I think the same thing will be true when God judges our nation for turning our back on Him. Those who belong to Him will not experience His wrath, but we will still have to live through the consequences of judgment. And as I look around at the collapse of our economy I can't help but wonder if that judgment has begun.

So what are we as Christians supposed to do? In chapter 14 we read:
Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
Ezekiel 14:6
Each of us must stop and honestly ask ourselves if there is anything that we need to repent of - if we have set up any idols in our hearts - because in verse 8 God tells us that He will set His face against the man who has taken his idols to his heart and separated himself from God. And that is exactly what we are doing when we set up an idol - we are separating ourselves from God. So ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and reveal anything that shouldn't be there (Psalm 139:23-24) and then repent of anything that He shows you.

And whether this economic crisis we are in is God's judgment or not we are all in for a difficult time ahead. And I am not saying that you should "get right with God" because of what is on the horizon - you should get right with God because He is God, and even if he takes away everything we have He is still worthy of our worship and praise!
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Charles Fry said...

Great post, well thought out and put together.

Thanks for the blessing.

Chris said...

Thank you for the kind words!


Anonymous said...

Good job. I think God is laughing at the foolish attempts to "correct" the current financial crisis. i.e. printing more money and shifting money around for different loans. I see no leaders calling on God for help nor many shepherds of the church calling for repentance. Lord, have mercy. Bruce