I’ve been following along with our church’s yearly Bible reading plan, and we are rounding the corner out of Jeremiah and Lamentations, into Ezekiel. What a painful stretch! The reading is full of God’s warnings of what will happen if the Israelites do not turn from their wicked ways and repent from all the abhorrent things we read about them doing. Yet the pattern is clear; long stretches of warnings (which sound as bad, or worse, than the sins) followed by bright promises of mercy and hope. What’s so beautiful is that we see promises not just of mercy for those who repent, but promises of a new and better way indicating a time coming when the wrath of God against sin will be satisfied, and judgement will be held back from his children.
This gem, found in Ekeziel 16:60 & 63b, is a great example: “’Nevertheless, I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you…when I provide you an atonement for all you have done,’ says the Lord God.”
My heart literally cries out…
Trudging through the long passages detailing the horrors of sin and judgement, I come to these little rays of hope and my heart literally cries out “Thank you for letting me live AFTER you sent Jesus to us!” Can you imagine having to walk this earth without Jesus Christ’s work on the cross and His very Spirit dwelling in us and never leaving us? It is so easy to forget that every single sin requires a blood sacrifice to cover it and restore communion with God. I often judge the Israelites for being so rebellious but then I think about the fact that in those days, the only ones who had the Holy Spirit with them were God’s chosen prophets, priests, and kings. How dark it must have felt to be the ones without God’s Spirit. They were left to just follow the rules, and like us, they didn’t do so well in this area.
It is only because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for my sins that I do not have to live in fear of the judgements of God when my heart strays towards the shiny things vying for my heart. God hasn’t changed, but unfortunately we humans haven’t either. It’s only the blood of Jesus covering my sins that allows me to dwell on this side of heaven in sweet communion with my Father. Even when I sin, my Heavenly Father sees me through the lens of the blood Christ shed for me and gently, lovingly disciplines and guides me to keep me in the place of sweet communion with Him. There is no wrath. There is no fear.
Could there be anything better?