Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 2, Ezekiel 33, Psalm 81-82, Galatians 6.
30 “As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, ‘Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ 31 And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. 32 And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it. 33 When this comes—and come it will!—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.” Ezekiel 33:30-33
I am scared to death being one of the people described in these verses.
I am haunted by the words “but they will not do it.”
“Shortly after the young Francis of Assisi embraced a faith that would help color the face of Christianity for centuries to come, he sensed God telling him, ‘Francis, all those things that you have loved in the flesh you must now despise, and from those things that you formerly loathed you will drink great sweetness and immeasurable delight.’
“If a believer heard such words today, he or she would likely write them down in a journal and then forget them. Or perhaps the new Christian might compose a poem or a song, celebrating the sentiment. If the person were an author, he or she might even find a publisher and entomb the lofty notions inside a book.”
Let me translate: Christians are good at hearing a good quote and discussing its implications. But, if we are honest, can be awful at actually doing what the Lord prompts us to do.
Speaking of another experience, Thomas went on to write:
“If every church had a campaign in which members read the book, discussed it, prayed about it, and confirmed its truth, nothing would change until, like Francis, we found ways to apply it. Something so simple as relinquishing a plane seat — something I’m sure you would gladly have done as well — did far more to ‘minister to twenty-first-century families’ than my reading of that book.
“And yet church as we define it today is often structured around ‘discussing’ issues, praying about them, and feeling inspired at the thought of them. We need to become like Francis, finding ways to enflesh — live out and apply — the stretching truths of our faith.”
When I read the words from Ezekiel 33 this morning, my mind immediately thought of these words by Gary Thomas. I feel like I often treat “good, strong, biblical truth” as a “lustful song with a beautiful voice” to my soul . . . but do absolutely nothing with it except to say, “Oh, that’s good stuff right there.”
The problem is not that I think it’s good stuff. The problem is I so often leave it at that.
God’s words to Ezekiel are a strong warning to me that the purpose of the Word of God is not just to think and meditate on. They are also to be applied. As a matter of fact, God threatens terrible things to those who love the Word but do nothing with what they hear.