God’s mercy is great. It’s His amazing mercy that compassionately addresses our plight and wretchedness as broken human beings here on earth. For only God can forgive and cleanse sinful man when we fall short of His standard.(Which is very often) And it’s only God that can forgive us of our willful defiance, and disobedience directed towards Him. But it is only through a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus, that we can attain this Divine forgiveness.
Throughout the book, Ezekiel did not mince words when denouncing the rampant idolatry around him…comparing it to infidelity and prostitution. He also didn’t curb his words, accusing the Jews of being stubborn, self-righteous, and rebellious. It got to the point of alienation that God Himself said, “No, I won’t listen to you anymore.” The people were putting their trust in created things like gold and silver… but God warned all that, “Gold and silver will not be able to save them in the day of the Lord’s wrath.” (Ezekiel 7:19)
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.
We all are born with a sin nature. You don’t need a teach a baby how to be crabby and out of sorts…they arch their little back, face beet red, as they let you know in no uncertain terms they’re unhappy! No, thanks to Adam and Eve that sin nature has been handed down from generation to generation. In Psalm 51:5 David laments about this sin nature when he says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” From the first Adam we obtained our sin nature…but the second Adam, Jesus Christ, came to redeem us from it.
Let’s get this straight…God does not tempt us. Instead, our own evil desires do a really good job of that. And it’s when we allow our own deceptive imaginings to fester and grow, that sin has a foothold. You might call this day-dreaming…part pleasant reverie, part suggestive fantasy…but all of it giving rise to deception and lies in our thought life. And whenever you allow your day-dreaming to “go there”…whatever that is for you, you’re being tempted to give in to sinful thinking. That’s when we need to stop and remember II Corinthians 10:5, which cautions us to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.
Are you bound up in the burial clothes of sin? Do addictions have you shackled to a life you hate? Do you long to be free of the things that have kept you from moving ahead? Then obey the command of Jesus, “Come out!” Yes, the decision is yours to make. You can remain wrapped up tightly in the burial clothes of sin, guilt and shame…or you can walk out of that grave you call your life today and live.
The 32 Psalm is called a Penitential psalm, where the writer, David, acknowledges his willful and rebellious acts of rejecting God’s authority. Within it David expresses his feelings of repentance and holy sorrow…asking God to forgive and remove his sin – and bless him. It goes on to say in verse 2 of this Chapter, “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.” We will be truly blessed of God when we come taking responsibility for our actions and asking for forgiveness.
As His ministry became more well-known, Jesus became more popular among the social outcasts. Why? Because He wasn’t concerned about maintaining His squeaky clean image, or only being seen with the right people. Jesus went where the need was. So here we find Jesus at a large banquet made up of every kind of questionable personality and reputation. But He looked beyond the person and saw their potential… and wasn’t afraid to go where they lived. You won’t find the healthy in the hospital…you’ll only find the sick. Just as you won’t find most lost sitting in the pews on Sunday. As Christians, we need to be willing, just like Jesus, to go where the need is.
Turning away from the Lord can be very subtle. Every time I tell myself that I believe God…but then in the next breath lament that I’m not worthy enough to be used by Him…I’m turning away. Or every time I’m confronted by God’s truth and I distance myself rather than allow His truth to change me…I’m turning away. The deception of sin will always be veiled in mistrust and disobedience.