Ezekiel and God's Judgement

I hope you have been blessed by our series through the book of Ezekiel. It is probably one of the hardest books of the Bible to preach; at least that is true for me, personally! The fact that Ezekiel had to preach from exile in Babylon to his fellow exiles about what was happening hundreds of miles away in their home city of Jerusalem could not have been easy. Of course, preaching to those still in Jerusalem at the time, like Jeremiah, had to have been even more difficult! People don't want to hear about judgment and tough times coming. We want to know that things are looking up.

Well, for Ezekiel, things will begin to look brighter in the last part of the book. However, it sure takes a long time to get there! This feels a lot like life for many of us. Some people endure years of pain and trauma and wonder aloud, "Will it ever get better?" Of course, I recognize that some folks are blessed with a life with seemingly few challenges: a solid home with needs being met physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Yet, all of us will face dark days when we wonder, When are the clouds going to part?

For Ezekiel, better days will come for Israel, but they will come when God's people acknowledge their sins and turn back to him in obedience. He is a God who wants to forgive and heal. However, some of God's people will not live to see this or fully experience it. That is often the case in the course of history.  We are not in control of the times in which we are born. Some may grow up, live, and die in a period of relative peace, while others find themselves amid chaos and war. So much of this life is out of our control.

However, God makes clear through Ezekiel that we do have choices to make that impact our lives for good or for ill. If we choose him, we will find blessing and healing. This Shalom--as the Jewish people would call it--may or may not be partially felt in this life. However, it will certainly be experienced in eternity. Thus, no matter how bad things may seem, no matter if we find ourselves battling a dreaded disease, or facing other trials and tribulations, we can be assured that there is more to this life than this life!

God's people needed to know this in the Bible, and we need to know this same message today. Not only is God preparing a place for his children in eternity, but God desires to use even the worst things of this life for his glory and for the betterment of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). In fact, John makes clear that eternal life doesn't begin when we die. Rather, eternal life begins when we turn to Jesus and surrender to him, and then it carries on beyond this life. Thus, eternal life is not just about the length of life. It is about a particular quality of life Jesus intends for all of us to have both now and in eternity (John 3:36, 10:10).

I don't know if you are going through a trial right now. If not, you eventually will! Life is simply difficult at times, but, as I said, there is more to this life than this life. To have Jesus is to have a life...and that most abundantly! So whether life is tough right now or not, we can praise God because we believe he is working in and through even the worst of things to teach us, bless us, and mold us so that we can be a blessing to others.

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