May 27, 2020
DO YOU KNOW THE LORD?
I have been reading Ezekiel and the recurring theme throughout the book is “THEN YOU SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD”. All of God’s prophets predicted dire events for the nation of Israel. No one believed them. Not only were Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the minor prophets not believed, the people chose to believe the false prophets who told them what they wanted to hear. The true prophets were severely punished – Isaiah is reported to have been sawn in half, Jeremiah was thrown in a pit to die of starvation then exiled in Egypt, Ezekiel suffered many physical hardships and exile to Babylon to get the message of God across to the people – who still would not listen to or believe him.
What did it take for the people of Israel to KNOW that God was the Lord? You can read it for yourself, the famines, the attacks by foreign nations, the loss of life and property. Kings were deposed, killed, sent to prison. The nation was destroyed and the people scattered to foreign lands. God said He would do this if they didn’t stop their evil ways of sinning against Him and all that He had told them to do. The prophets, who speak to people for God, told them all these things, but they refused to believe. They kept on worshiping their idols and believing the false prophets who said all would be well. God would never do that to them! How wrong they were.
As I watch the news and listen to the battle that rages in America, it seems to me that we are putting our trust in the false prophets. Not in God. Science will save us. No, it won’t. A vaccine will save us. No, it won’t. Only God can save us. And He will and, in fact, already has, but we need to do our part which is to believe and accept Him as the LORD. Speculations abound, opinions are rampant, but only the One True God and His Son Jesus have the answer. When will we as a nation wise up and know that there is only One God Who wants to, can, and will save us. When will we turn to Him for our guidance and instructions and quit listening to the false prophets who do not speak for God?
And like Jeremiah and Isaiah, Ezekiel talks about a day coming when God will put a new spirit within His people so that all will be able to know Him. We live in that day. God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die so that we could receive the gift of righteousness and the Holy Spirit to live within us to guide us, teach us, lead us. This is the true witness of God. Yet, so many refuse Him. The name of Jesus has become a name not to be used. How sad. He is the only way to God. Yet we can’t say His name in public. May the Christians change that and bring Jesus into the center of our lives once again. And then we will KNOW THAT HE IS THE LORD! Will we experience persecution for speaking that name – you bet. John 15:18 is very clear when Jesus says “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” Have you experienced some of that hate? I have. And I consider myself blessed to be so honored. Jesus is the name above EVERY name. Corona-virus is a name. Jesus is above that name. Cancer is a name. Jesus is above that name, too. And any other name you can think of. Jesus is God’s answer to the ills of this world. What is your question?
Rev. Joyce Kaplan, M.Div. Retired United Church of Christ pastor.