Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Wrath

‘Good Friday’

Imagine knowing you’re right, but having no one believe you. Imagine having the power to stop something evil from happening, but the wisdom to let it happen.

Imagine knowing that you are about to undergo indescribable pain and eternal torment, but you cannot express it; no one understands. Imagine needing your friends in an hour of great distress and having every single one of the people you have trusted and loved and helped abandon you.

Imagine being utterly alone and misunderstood. Imagine enduring the mocking of people who are blind, but mock you, the only one who can see. Imagine standing trial, accused by liars while embodying truth.

Imagine being rejected by your own people—the very ones you came to help. Imagine being falsely judged guilty by a ruler desperate to keep his authority, all the while realizing that you are the one who gives him his authority.

Imagine being condemned for your claim to kingship when you actually are the King. Imagine being whipped and beaten, crowned with thorns, and mocked by soldiers while the armies of heaven stand, awaiting their orders from you, their Great Commander.

Imagine having the power to uphold the universe, but not the strength to carry a cross because you’ve been wounded so badly by your own creation. Imagine seeing your mother weeping and your ‘believers’ not believing as you approach the hill of your imminent death.

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Ezekiel’s Warning

Ezekiel’s God

The warning Ezekiel offers to Israel and the surrounding nations is resoundingly clear. The Lord (Yahweh) will act decisively to make himself known. Even though all the nations rise up in rebellion against him, he will prevail and glorify his own name.

The Lord will do whatever it takes to make his name known. Sometimes that means mercy and grace to undeserving sinners. At other times it means he will exercise his wrath and judgement (which are just as much a representation of the holiness of his name as are mercy and grace).

Ezekiel’s warning should echo down through the ages and offer a sober reminder to us today. If the judgements he prophesied came to pass, then how dare we neglect the revelation that has come since? If judgement was sure at that time, then how much more now that the Lord has made himself known in and through Christ?

The picture of God that Ezekiel gives is a timely corrective to us. When we don’t see nations falling all around us and there seems to be no justice for the wicked it can be easy to forget that God will judge. We need to be reminded of the character of God. He will make his name known, whatever it takes.

To see that illustrated read the list of verses that follows.

 

The Whole World Will Know that I am the LORD

Ezek 5  13 “Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself. And they shall know that I am the LORD–that I have spoken in my jealousy–when I spend my fury upon them.

Ezek 6  7 And the slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 6  10 And they shall know that I am the LORD. I have not said in vain that I would do this evil to them.”

Ezek 6  14 And I will stretch out my hand against them and make the land desolate and waste, in all their dwelling places, from the wilderness to Riblah. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”

Ezek 7  4 And my eye will not spare you, nor will I have pity, but I will punish you for your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 7  9 And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the LORD, who strikes.

Ezek 7  27 The king mourns, the prince is wrapped in despair, and the hands of the people of the land are paralyzed by terror. According to their way I will do to them, and according to their judgments I will judge them, and they shall know that I am the LORD.”

Ezek 11  10 You shall fall by the sword. I will judge you at the border of Israel, and you shall know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 13  9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord God.

Ezek 14  8 And I will set my face against that man; I will make him a sign and a byword and cut him off from the midst of my people, and you shall know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 15  7 And I will set my face against them. Though they escape from the fire, the fire shall yet consume them, and you will know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them.

Ezek 17  24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the LORD; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it.”

Ezek 20  26 and I defiled them through their very gifts in their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 20  44 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name’s sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, declares the Lord God.”

Ezek 21  5 And all flesh shall know that I am the LORD. I have drawn my sword from its sheath; it shall not be sheathed again.

Ezek 22  22 As silver is melted in a furnace, so you shall be melted in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the LORD; I have poured out my wrath upon you.”

Ezek 25  7 therefore, behold, I have stretched out my hand against you, and will hand you over as plunder to the nations. And I will cut you off from the peoples and will make you perish out of the countries; I will destroy you. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 25  17 I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I lay my vengeance upon them.”

Ezek 30  25 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh shall fall. Then they shall know that I am the LORD, when I put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and he stretches it out against the land of Egypt.

Ezek 32  15 When I make the land of Egypt desolate, and when the land is desolate of all that fills it, when I strike down all who dwell in it, then they will know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 35  9 I will make you a perpetual desolation, and your cities shall not be inhabited. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 36  23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.

Ezek 37  13 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people.

Ezek 37  14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.”

Ezek 37  28 Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”

Ezek 39  7 “And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.

Ezek 39  22 The house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward.

Ezek 39  28 Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore.

 

 


This is a small, selected sample of verses from Ezekiel which speak of the Lord make himself known to Israel and to the nations. For a complete list, download my own compilation of these verses.


Scripture quotations from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.

Daddy, Did Jesus Do That?

My daughter Susannah is almost two. I love her just about to death. One of her favourite things to do (just like her daddy) is to go outside in the rain. It thrills her to no end to run around and splash in the puddles and get soaked by the falling rain.

A few nights ago when it was raining, we stayed outside and talked about where the rain comes from, who makes it, and who sends it. The answer, of course, is that the rain comes down from heaven and is sent by God. Throughout the Scriptures rain is a picture of God’s faithful provision even for unfaithful people.

Like most conversations with Susannah, I really didn’t think she was listening too carefully. She was wanting to get down and run around some more, not sit with daddy and philosophize about the biblical-theological import of rain. But as it turns out, she was actually listening closer than I thought.

Today, as we were outside (playing in the rain again), I pointed to ‘Auntie Janis’ car’ and said, ‘Look, Susie, it’s wet!’ As she always does, she reached out and touched the car to make sure daddy wasn’t pulling her leg. She looked at her now wet hand, then at me, and said, ‘Daddy, did Jesus do that?’

It’s a funny thing how words just sometimes have more impact when a child speaks them. 

The rain we were experiencing today was a result of Hurricane Ike. The answer to Susie’s question is the answer that so many people need to hear in this world today. ‘Yes, Jesus did that.’

Ah, to have the faith of a child. For us adults, there are a million follow-up questions. We are quick to try to justify God and show all the reasons why we would deny the plain truth that Jesus sent the storm: he would never desire suffering; he can never cause evil; he would never want anything bad to happen. And it goes on and on.

But the reality that we must face is that God controls the weather. God appeared to Job in a whirlwind. When Elijah prayed, it didn’t rain for 3.5 years. Jesus calmed the stom on the Sea of Galilee with zero effort. He reigns providentially over all creation and all weather-patterns. Whether you want to say ‘God sent it’ or ‘God didn’t stop it’ really makes no difference (although one is much truer than the other). Either way, it’s from the hand of God.

When God sends storms, it is mercy. It is mercy because it proclaims to all that the real storm of final judgement is coming. None of us can escape it. No early warning system or evacuation plan could ever save us from this. This very minor, very localized display of the power and the fury of God should cause us all to question, ‘Am I prepared to face the real thing?’

Survival kits, flashlights, thousands of jugs of bottled water will do us no good. When the end comes (and it will come in a flash, without TV networks showing us radar images days and weeks ahead of time), the only thing that will matter is whether we’ve trusted in Christ or something else. The storm is coming, and only the Christian, with his house built on the rock of Christ’s teachings will be able to withstand it. When the fury of God’s wrath beats on our shores, and the anger of his judgement floods our houses, only the Christian will escape.

The Christian is the one for whom there is no more wrath. All of it–the full storm front–has all been borne on Christ, and we are safe. The fury of the storm has been sated, and only the peace and calmness of God’s goodness remains for us.

Praise God for his merciful reminders in storms. Praise him for his mercies in Christ.

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