“They will know that I alone am the Lord and that I was serious when I said I would bring this calamity on them.” – Ezekiel 6:10 NLT
It’s as if God is saying, “We can do this the hard way or we can do this the easy way.” God is a relational God. He chose the people of Israel to have a relationship with Him and to get to know Him – intimately and personally. He chose to dwell among them. He gave them His law to follow. He led them, directed them, protected them, and even spoke to them. He revealed Himself to them through miracles and divine intervention. He won battles for them. He rescued and rewarded them. All so that they might know Him. But the people of Israel decided to reject this personal God for a litany of impersonal, impotent, man-made gods. Instead of recognizing and appreciating the power and presence of Yahweh, they turned their attention and affections elsewhere. So God decided to reveal Himself to them in a slightly different way. They were going to get to know Him the hard way. They were going to get to experience the power of God in a whole new way. They were going to witness the hand hand of God moving in their midst – bringing destruction, not blessing. He was going to smash their pagan shrines, demolish their altars, and destroy the places of worship where they pursued other gods. A third of them would die from disease and famine in the city. A third would die by the sword, killed by their enemies. And a third would end up in exile. And God says, “Then at last my anger will be spent, and I will be satisfied. And when my fury against them has subsided, all Israel will know that I, the Lord, have spoken to them in my jealous anger” (Ezekiel 5:13 NLT). When all the dust had settled, they were going to know that God had been in their midst. They were going to know that God had spoken and what He says, He does. They were going to know that God was powerful and dead serious about His people living lives that were set apart and distinctive from those of the other nations. “You people have behaved worse than your neighbors and have refused to obey my decrees and regulations. You have not even lived up to the standards of the nations around you” (Ezekiel 5:7 NLT).
Over and over again, God says, “They will know that I am the Lord.” One way or the other, the people of God were going to get to know their God. But they were choosing the hard way. They were making it difficult on themselves. God had wanted to reveal Himself through blessing and abundance. He had wanted to have an intimate relationship with them that was characterized by care and compassion. In His grace and mercy, He had chosen them from among all the nations, not because they were different or deserved it, but because He wanted to reveal Himself in a special way to a specific people. He was going to use them as a showcase of His love. They were going to be His living illustration to the world. But they refused to accept His love and obey His commands. He pursued them, but they rejected Him. Just like Gomer rejected Hosea. So now they were going to get to know God the hard way. Why do we make it so hard on ourselves so often? Why do we force God to reveal Himself to us through discipline and prove Himself to us by rebuking us? God has given us His Son. He has chosen us for a personal, intimate relationship with Him. He wants us to know Him closely and deeply, and we can choose the easy way or we can choose the hard way.
Father, You are always revealing Yourself to me. But sometimes I just don’t listen. Sometimes I hear, but refuse to obey. And sometimes I choose other relationships over You. But You keep revealing Yourself. Help me to choose the easy way over the hard way. But either way, thank You for not giving up on me. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men