Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Prophets and Me

My reading recently took me through the prophets.  The prophets have never been my favorite material to peruse, and I must admit that there was more that I didn't understand than what I did. However, I did pull out a few pearls of truth and wisdom from these final books of the Old Testament.  This week I would like to share a few random thoughts from that reading before moving on to the New Testament next week.  These ideas come from several of the Lord's prophets.

First, Ezekiel got my attention by saying, "When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, 'These are the people of the Lord; yet they have come out of His land'" (Ezekiel 36:20).  As I read these words, I couldn't help but wonder how many times people look at my life and say, "if she is a Christian, why did she do that."  Every time this happens, I am guilty of making God look bad just as the Israelites were.  People are watching us to see if our actions match up with our words of love and faithfulness to the savior.  They notice every time they don't.  

In the later chapters of Ezekiel, the Lord showed Ezekiel a vision of a man measuring the temple.  In Ezekiel 43:11, He explains why He has done this.  The Lord tells him that he is to write about the design, "so that they may observe its whole design and all its statutes and do them."  The way I saw this was that God was showing His perfection to the people to help them become aware of their imperfection and turn to Him in repentance.  This thought reminded me of Paul's words to Timothy.  "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).  Even the recording of the dimensions of the temple had a purpose in His plan for bringing men to a better understanding of Him and their place in His world.  

Next were a couple thoughts from Micah.  As Christian women, we should constantly be asking ourselves "What does the Lord require of me?"  From the sixth chapter of this book comes a great answer:  "to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8).  I find this to be a beautiful and concise answer, but not always so easy to follow.  I especially love the last phrase here.  If we are walking humbly with Him than all else seems to fall in place.  Unfortunately, more often than not, I find myself distracted by the things of the world and not as close to Him as either of us desires.  

Another thought from Micah caught my eye because it reminded me of a recent conversation with a friend.  A young girl that I know had heard the song "Amazing Grace" and had some questions.  When I read this verse right after that conversation, I couldn't help but contrast grace and the ideas here regarding His mercy.  I once heard these terms separated by saying that grace is giving us what we don't deserve and mercy is not giving us what we do deserve.  So often it seems that we focus on His grace.  As I read the final chapter of Micah, I couldn't help but wonder if perhaps we wouldn't follow Him more closely if we focused more on His mercy.  Perhaps we need to take more time to think about what we really deserve that He has saved us from.  As a "good girl" it is sometimes easy not to focus on my sins and the fact that my sins are worthy of death (Romans 6:23).  Thanks Micah for reminding me of His mercy and not just his amazing grace, a fact for which I am also eternally grateful.  
The final Old Testament thought that I want to leave you all with came from both Habakkuk and Zephaniah.  It fits right along with the thoughts last month from Helene and Melissa regarding the spiritual disciplines.  I am just going to leave you with these quotes because I feel that these thoughts sum up what our response should be before the Lord.

But the Lord is in His holy temple.  Let all the earth be silent before Him.
Habakkuk 2:20

Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is near, for the
Lord has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests.
Zephaniah 1:7.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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