Thursday, August 5, 2010
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing
“I looked for a man among them
who would build up the wall
and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land
so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”
“The Lord said to me: ‘Son of man,
will you judge Oholah and Oholibah?
Then confront them with their detestable practices,
for they have committed adultery
and blood is on their hands.
The committed adultery with their idols;
they even sacrificed their children,
whom they bore to Me, as food for them.’ “
The churches are full, the pews are comfortable. The corners of every town hold buildings with Christ’s Name on signs. The people come to visit these sanctuaries, and leave the same way they came in. Without alteration the life of the churches continues each week, each month, each year. The programs go on, the electric bills are paid, the staffs continue in their work for the congregations. There is continuity, and stability, and even prosperity among the believers, for they still have their temples to worship in, and their lives to live, and their religious practices to put the stamp of approval on all they do.
The churches have forsaken the Word of God. Even those that call themselves ‘evangelical’ or ‘pentecostal’ or ‘reformed’ are apostate, and practice idolatry and prostitution of the worst kind. God’s people are dying, and don’t even know that the Heavenly Physician has announced His frightening prognosis. Like stupid animals, God’s own sheep answer to any voice that speaks to their itching ears about goodness, and peace, and soothing religious thoughts. Like the horse or mule they are unreasoning creatures that are led about by any man who thinks up a new angle, a new market, a new way of retelling the same old stories. They run to this new way of worship, or that new way of teaching, or that new music, or that new curriculum, or that new pastor or leader, because they have no root and no stability in Christ, for they are captives to their idolatry.
As in Ezekiel’s day, so today we continue detestable practices, committing adultery and destroying our own lives and the lives of our own children. We hurt the
by ignoring the Word of God and living by our own standards, lusting after the world and the silver and the gold of the world, and the pleasures of the world, and the dark prince’s allurements, which seem so innocent to us. We drag our children through these things, and lay them on the altar of sacrifice to these foreign gods that are not gods. They learn to worship at the shrines of work and achievement, of material possessions and daily pleasures. They learn from their fathers and mothers that though we claim Christ, we don’t talk about Him other than in church, and we don’t seek righteousness first, and we don’t rely on God for everything, but rather on our jobs, and our homes, and ourselves for all the good things in life. We live lives filled with pressures and tension, always striving for more and better and quicker and easier. We love the things of the world, and plan and scheme how we will get more of what we want. We seek after money, and fame, and pleasure, and the churches put their stamp of approval on this prostitution. The churches endorse it and practice it, molding their programs and their institutions after worldly programs and institutions, imitating Kingdom of God Egypt, and Assyria and the other foreign lovers they have run after.
So God’s people are held captive by their own lovers, and will receive from the Lord’s hand their own punishment by the hand of those lovers. The world will turn on the churches, and will strip them of their wealth, and their status, and will suddenly become an enemy.
“Therefore, this is what the Lord says;
Since you have forgotten Me
and thrust Me behind your back,
you must bear the consequences
of your lewdness and prostitution.”
The Word of God is not a toy to be trifled with. It is not another book to read from for your enjoyment. The Word of God speaks with the Voice of God. It is from the Holy Spirit, and is to be read, understood and obeyed by His people. It is not an optional inspirational book to be put on the shelf and pulled out when you are a little discouraged and need a pick up. The Word of God is a two-edged Sword, which cuts and flays as well as comforts.
Yet many of those who call themselves prophets wield only one edge of the sword. They have forgotten to call themselves and their people to repentance. They speak the easy things, and forget the hard, true things that would bring God’s people to their knees and to the Lord God who loves them. The prophets are lying, speaking ‘peace, peace’ to the flock, when they are already in the care of the wolves around them. They have compromised and committed adultery with the world, yet those who call themselves shepherds continue to soothe their fears and don’t call them, don’t stand in the gap, don’t give the people of God the knowledge they need to turn from their wickedness before disaster strikes.
For the sake of His people, God will act. He will not put up with their prostitution and adultery any longer. He will cut and flay, and cause His people to fall on their knees, wailing and crying out for mercy, for their lovers will turn on them and cut them and flay them, and their rich sanctuaries will be empty, torn down and desecrated. The religious systems in which they have put their trust will be gone. The vestments and the vestibules, the pews and the pulpits, the classrooms and the cafeterias, the offices and the outdoor pavilions, all will be the property of others, and the people of God will be stripped naked. They will be offered as lovers to those they loved, but this time without their assent. Their former lovers will hate them, and use them. There will be sorrow and anguish among those who call themselves by the Name of Christ.
But there will be those, a remnant, who will survive the Sword, and who will be obedient to the Word of God. And they will be One with Christ and with their Father, without pretence and without shame. They will be one with one another, and live in love, and be the Body of Jesus to those around them. They will listen only to the voice of their Shepherd, walk through the Narrow Gate with Him, and find pasture, even in the midst of the desecration around them. They will find comfort and joy, through the Holy Spirit’s work in them, and call others to the same life, together walking as Jesus did. This remnant will find the springs in the desert which surface only when God’s people walk wholly committed to Him, and leave all other lovers. This remnant will thrive in the desert, finding rest and comfort when all around them crumbles.
The Lord says to those who call themselves shepherds:
“Woe to the shepherds of
who only take care of themselves!
Should not shepherds take care of the flock?
You eat the curds, clothe yourselves
with the wool and slaughter the choice animals,
but you do not take care of the flock.
You have not strengthened the weak
or healed the sick or bound up the injured.
You have not brought back the strays
or searched for the lost….
So they were scattered because
there was no shepherd, and when they
were scattered they became food
for all the wild animals.
My sheep wandered all over the mountains
and on every high hill.
They were scattered over the whole earth,
and no one searched or looked for them.”
The shepherds who call themselves shepherds will be accountable for every sheep they’ve been given. And they themselves will be accountable for their own sins, as well as answering for the sins of their flocks which they have not declared to the flock. While the privileged sheep continue to get fatter, the lost and the brokenhearted sheep, the lonely and downtrodden, the sick and the lame and the outcast, the foreigner and the alien, the stranger and the poor, all those sheep who have wandered and been lost, you have not gone after. You have told your sheep that God’s blessing is on them, and that is why they eat and drink and become fat. Meanwhile the flock is scattered, afflicted and lost, and God’s anger is upon you for your faithless ways.
Shepherds, repent. Today God calls out to you, still seeking to give you mercy, and not destruction.
God is looking for men to stand in the gap, but has found only a few who will listen. He calls you today, sheep and shepherd, to return to Him, to leave your lovers and your idols and return to your first love. If not, He will act to tear the Kingdom out of your hands, and you will be bereft of all you now hold dear.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
I am against the shepherds
and will hold them accountable for my flock.
I will remove them from tending the flock
so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves.
I will rescue my flock from their mouths,
and it will no longer be food for them.”
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