Bible Order: Romans 11–13
Chronological Order: Acts 18:19-19:41
New Testament Only: 1 Peter 1
“Then You Will Know That I Am The Lord”
A few years ago Rick Warren published a book entitled “The Purpose Driven Life”. It was a mega-best-seller. Within the hearts of men, there is a hunger to find meaning and purpose. This question goes to the heart of why we exist. Have you ever wondered why mankind has such a strong urge to discover purpose and meaning in existence? That urge exists because the One who created mankind put it there.
God created the world. Within that world He created a wonderful garden. He created mankind and placed them in that perfect garden. God would walk with man in the cool of the evening. Have you ever done that? Have you ever gone for a walk with someone? What did you do while you walked? You talked; you shared; you learned about each other. You became closer.
So why did God make you? He made you to walk with Him. He made you so that you would talk with Him. He made you so that you would grow closer to Him and know that He is God. All sin is a rebellion against this relationship. All sin is a self-imposed separation from God that rejects God as God. Sin is at odds with your very purpose for being. It is why a lost and dying world is so hungry for purpose. They have rejected their true purpose, right relationship with God, and have been in search of a substitute purpose ever since. Nothing can fill that God sized hole, and so their life is a miserable, empty, meaningless existence that cries out for something more.
All of us deserve punishment for our willful rejection of His Lordship. Israel was His chosen people. They rejected His Lordship and did as they wished to do. Punishment was due them. Of course, other nations rejected God’s Lordship and punishment was due them as well. In today’s reading we hear again a statement by God that we have heard before but on which I have, until now, not commented. Look at this:
Ezekiel 24:7 ESV
“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.”
I wish to draw your attention to the phrase “Then you will know that I am the Lord”. This goes to the heart of our existence, our purpose. We were intended to acknowledge His Lordship and we will, whether we like it or not. We will acknowledge His Lordship the easy way or the hard way; but acknowledge Him as Lord we will.
Here in Ezekiel God tells of coming punishment for various people groups, including Judah. After each forecast of punishment, God says “then you will know that I am God”. This is the point of punishment. Punishment is intended to bring us back into right relationship with God. Remember, we all deserve punishment; that God withholds punishment for so long is evidence of His grace and mercy not cruelty. Still the goal is redemption; salvation for those that will return to right relationship with Him; for the Jew and also for the Gentile.
Now, many of us think that because we have accepted Christ we no longer deserve punishment. It is true that we are forgiven of our sins, but God will not allow us to continue in our sin. Forgiveness of sin is not a license to sin. So if we have accepted Christ as our Savior we have been adopted into His family. We are now children of God. Pastor Jim Cross likes to say that he doesn’t spank the neighbor’s kids when he talks of God’s discipline of His children. Israel is God’s child and He will punish them with the purpose of bringing them into right relationship with Him.
This is how a father operates. He cannot allow his children to continue in self-destructive behavior and so he will do what he must to save them. This often times means strong discipline. Sin hurts and if you are a child of the Living God then it will hurt you even more than those who are not His children. The additional pain you feel is the love that God has for you; His desire to save you for Himself. Eventually, after enough punishment, you will know that He is God. You will acknowledge His Lordship the easy way or the hard way. Like God, I hope you chose the easy way.
It is God’s desire that you have the peace and joy that comes from acknowledging His Lordship. Do you remember this verse from Psalms?
Psalm 46:10 ESV
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
Have a wonderful, obedient, Lordship acknowledging day! Be still and know that He is God!!!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 9/6/10)