Ezekiel 19-21 The way we see things may be different than other people’s perspectives. We may see our situation as challenging but manageable, but others living near us see this COVID-19 as challenging but unmanageable. The exiles in Babylon were living in isolation just as we are today. They wanted answers; they wanted to “go home.” The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel, and he shared two more parables.
The two young lions represented the young kings who had no training for a king’s role. They became despots, and the people hated them. The vine represented the city of Jerusalem that was fruitful at one time, but because of the people’s disregard for God and His Law, the city has been destroyed.
The exiles rehearsed the past and wallowed in their hopelessness. Coming to Ezekiel they hoped to hear good news. Instead, Ezekiel again reminded them that God had placed them in a fruitful land, but they did not honor Him. What mattered now was their perspective of today, not yesterday. They could dwell on what could have been, or they could do as Jeremiah said, build houses, have families, and honor the new leader.
Today we have a choice. We can rehearse the past or look to God’s work now and look forward to what He will do in the future. Paul penned these words about how to think: think about what is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, and your perspective will change.
Paul reminds the Romans reading his letter: If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people. What if you are finding the situation in which you are nearly impossible? What do you do then? First, you return to his words at the beginning of this chapter: I exhort you or I urge you or I beseech you. Paul is not arguing for them to obey because of him but because of God. It has to start there realizing the price paid and the sorrow of our Lord’s heart to forgive us when we were unworthy of such love and peace. We have to return to the words of our Lord: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God,” [Matt 5] This is the “when the rubber hits the road” section.
Putting life into that perspective we can move from the outward and inward expressions of no peace to peace. We can look at the problem through God’s eyes and see His love pouring through us to the person or circumstance. It’s all about perspective. I hear you saying but you don’t know my situation or the persons involved. But, even though, reader, I don’t know, God does. He wants you to stop and employ prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. He wants to use you as His conduit to bring peace.
How often do I fail to realize that Jesus is the Always Abundant Bread of Life? As I was reading John 6 I once again saw how he, the Apostle John, continues to provide opportunities for my eyes to be opened and for me to see the Living Water and the Healer of all diseases! Thus in John’s loving way as the beloved disciple asks me to join him on a mountainside to witness the Bread of Life reveal himself as the true manna from heaven, the Jehovah Jireh. Come with me on a mountainside picnic and then decide: is today’s manna enough or have you and I chosen to feed upon him: The Bread of Life?
5000 come to hear the Master speak. There is a problem and the disciples have a solution. The problem as seen through Matthew, Mark and Luke’s perspective—send the crowds home. “This is an isolated place and the hour is already late. Send the crowds away so that they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” And now John’s perspective. Jesus asks Philip for a solution as he was testing him. Philip comes up sorrowfully wanting. “We don’t have enough money to purchase the food; you can’t expect us to use all of our resources which are not nearly enough even for us, do you?” But, then there is Andrew, the one who is always seeking people. [Of all the apostles this one is dearest to my heart, always finding others to bring to Jesus…would that I be more like him!] Andrew finds a little boy and brings him to Jesus. Does he expect Jesus to multiply? If he does, Jesus will not fail. He will be the provider of the “manna.” How often am I like the disciples and especially Philip? I only see the problem but not the God solution before me even though I have seen and seen and seen His provision in other circumstances. I find that more often than I would like to admit. I say to myself, oh but this one is different, it is not just one person but 5000! My neighborhood is full of homes with adults and children and my house is small. How can I feed them all? How can I minister to “them”? Sometimes I am like the queen that said “let them eat cake.” That is when Jehovah Jireh, Our Provider steps into action that I may learn; “I AM” is in my presence and He desires to provide and will provide that I may know God has the answer to my problems and that I can reach out beyond knowing that God will provide and He will be glorified.
From here on John reveals even more about Jesus.
Vs 25-40 I am the Bread of Life,
I will provide that you may not hunger or thirst,
I have come from heaven do God’s will,
I will raise up those who believe,
I will give them eternal life.
But, it is then that Jesus also challenges me . If you feed upon me you will never hunger for my manna is not like the manna that was gathered once a day but I will continue to feed you over and over and over and over. My manna never will grow stale or my water will never dry up.
*****If you fail to feed on me you will die in your sins.***
What am I feeding upon– Do I only see with my physical eyes only or do I see with my spiritual eyes the Jehovah Jireh that will provide an ongoing supply for my needs? Will I trust Him to do that?
PS Philip “got it” and probably never forgot this remarkable scene. For you readers take a trip down memory lane and read Acts 8 and see how Philip changed from selfishness to gratitude; to not trusting to totally trusting in the Jehovah Jireh.
There are days when it feels like you have experienced nothing but the blahs, nothing but problems, as if someone has used you for a punching bag. Do you turn to a self-pity party or do you turn to God? How does turning to God change your perspective? In all these three psalms (86-87-88) the authors find themselves in such straits and offer to us the prescription for those times.
What to do: Center your focus upon God through prayer…the psalmist cries out: God incline your ear to me, be gracious to me.
State the circumstance to God: I am needy, experiencing affliction, trouble, feeling forsaken by friend and foe, and even sometimes feeling alienated, abandoned, alone, rejected, hidden from God’s view.
Be honest: Sometimes even feeling angry at the circumstance, at friend/foe and even God.
Remind yourself of the character of God: God you are good, forgiving, slow to anger (unlike “me”), abundant in lovingkindness (said 3 times which is a good reminder for all of us), great, comforter, deliverer, helper, merciful, gracious.
GOD YOU ALONE ARE GOD!
This is how you get through those times we all experience from time to time. So when you feel like you have experienced the “one-two-three punch” follow these steps and find peace, reconciliation, and a renewed view of the circumstance.