These same words of Isaiah’s were spoken by my husband’s Cardiologist after two major heart attacks…”Put your affairs in order, you’re going to die.” But just like Hezekiah, we chose to pray and beseech the Lord instead of accepting the bad report. With Hezekiah, the Lord heard his prayer and relented, and instead, sent Isaiah back to tell Hezekiah he’d have another 15 years to live. And with my husband, the Lord graciously has given him 25 years and counting since the day we heard those fateful words. Joel 2: 13-14 tell us that our Lord is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love and He relents from sending calamity…and that He may even turn and have pity on us and leave a blessing behind.
Divine appointments. I firmly believe in, been part of, and have been truly blessed by them. This past weekend a special friend of mine was headed out on a road trip when three times she encountered friends who wished her a safe trip and prayed for her. The Lord used those divine appointments to show her just how much He loved and cared for her. Also this week a good friend of mine texted me with, ” The Lord has brought you across my mind…I’m praying for you.” This was another divine appointment that showed me God’s tremendous love and concern. So I would urge you, when you are moved by the Holy Spirit…when He brings a specific person to mind, be obedient and pray for that person. But more than that, let them know you’re praying for them. For divine appointments bless both parties involved and God’s love shines brightly in the midst.
All of mankind can agree….”I have strayed like a lost sheep.” (Psalm 119:176) But the wonderful thing about these verses in Ezekiel is how proactive the Lord is. It’s Him that is searching us out, looking after us, and rescuing us from the thick darkness of sin. Jesus is called the Good Shepherd who gathers and watches over His flock and tells us in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” And like the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus will leave the 99 on the hillside to go looking for the one that has wandered off. (Matthew 18:10-14) Have you strayed away from the Lord? Know that Jesus is actively looking for you today.
Most of life’s trials and tribulations seldom, if ever, announce themselves prior to happening. They don’t send us a “Save the Date” card in the mail or place themselves on the calendar…they happen without warning. As it was in this verse, a violent tempest had come up suddenly and was threatening to capsize the boat the disciples and Jesus were in. But while the disciples focused on the waves and wind…Jesus was sleeping through the storm. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus tells us to, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.” The question then is… Are we focused on the storm, or our Savior? And can we sleep through the storm?
In this verse we see man’s prideful ego on full display. The inhabitants of Babel were in deliberate rebellion against God who had very specifically instructed them to increase in number and fill the earth.( Genesis 9:1) Instead, they were scheming how they could build a tower high enough to reach heaven and possibly obtain deity themselves. Proverbs 16:18 tells us that, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” And that is what happened to the people of Babel…God confused their language and scattered them all over the world.
Maybe you were the child that all your parents had to do was look at you sternly and you stopped misbehaving. Or maybe it took much more effort from your parents before it finally sunk in that what you were doing was wrong. Parents correct their children out of the love they have for them, not because they want to be mean, but because they want only the best for them. Our Heavenly Father does the same for us. Deuteronomy 8:5 says, “Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.” When we can view difficulties in our life as loving correction from God rather than just punishment…our entire spiritual perspective and faith will be impacted and increased.
It’s not God that loads us down with guilt and shame about our past. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. For it tells us in Psalm 103: 8-13, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” It’s only God’s merciful kindness towards us that takes our sins and throws them all into the Sea of Forgetfulness. It’s only us that dredge them back up and torture ourselves with them.