It was not unusual for God to speak to Old Testament prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, or Ezekiel… by beginning His warning with, ” Stand up and speak to the people.” That’s what the job of the watchmen was all about…to keep guard and then to lift their voices when danger approached. Fast forward to today. As a follower of Christ, do you realize you too are a watchman to this broken world? The Lord has called you to stand up and speak to the lost, warning them of the impending danger if they continue to ignore Jesus Christ and the gift of salvation.
The angel was asking, who is worthy? Who is deserving enough, with the power and capability to loosen the seals of the scroll? And it says… there was no one. Certainly it couldn’t be sinful man, for like Isaiah when he saw the Lord, we’d all have to exclaim, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips.” But there is One that is worthy of opening the scroll. Only one that lived a perfect and sinless life here on earth. His name is Jesus Christ, the Worthy One.
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.
I had the “Rules of the Road” booklet for the State of Illinois out the other day when I thought to myself, “My goodness! Driving a car sure has lots of rules and regulations tied to it!” The same goes for the Old Testament Laws spoken of here…all 613 of them. In this verse Paul was quoting Deuteronomy 27:26 and basically telling us that it’s impossible to keep all 613 Laws perfectly. So what are we to do? We’re doomed before we even try. Enter Jesus Christ, who came to redeem us from the judgement and punishment of this curse, for it tells us in Galatians 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us…” In other words, our inability to keep all the Laws was overcome by the blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Jesus Christ took on flesh and walked among us…fully man, yet fully God. For death is the destiny of every man. (Ecclesiastes 7:2) Yet Jesus came to earth to give us freedom and victory over death. “Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (Hosea 13:14) So we no longer need to fear death…for Jesus came to set us free.
Across the centuries people have called for world peace. And for a moment it may happen…but then, evil gets in the way. Except here, Micah is telling us about a time when there will be lasting world peace. For the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, will come and He will judge with all righteousness and justice. (Isaiah 11:4) There will no longer be any need for weapons, for there will no longer be hostility or conflict in the world, because Jesus will mediate all disputes. So with world peace, the arms of war will be turned into tools of agriculture in order to feed the nations.
During His ministry here on earth, Jesus often sought out quiet places to pray. But why? It tells us in Mark 1:35, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.” The answer to “why He did this” is in what happened the night before. The town of Capernaum had witnessed Jesus healing someone in the Synagogue…and so later that night the entire town converged at the house where Jesus was staying…bringing in tow every sick and demon-possessed person they could find. And it says Jesus healed them. When we give much, our emotional gas tanks gets low. And the only way to fill them is to find a place of quiet reflection so that God can renew us . Jesus was practicing the discipline of silence in order to replenish, restore, refresh, and revive His soul…and it’s something we could do well to imitate.