Don’t Provoke the Bear!

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He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head. The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood. Ezekiel 8:3

Don’t poke the bear” a common saying used to warn those being careless, fearless, ignorant or foolish,about the dangers of making a bear angry. While the bear slumbers or is in hibernation or a state of peace and happiness, can project an image that mask reality. Though they might be cute, and seem harmless, even the youngest bear has enough powers to alter ones course of existence.

Time and time again, people took for granted the bears power, even thinking that it could beaten by those of us who were strong or either studied and knowledgable about his habits and behavior that they overlooked two important factors:

  • 1. Not knowing his mind
  • 2. Not understanding the his complete nature.

In this passage we encounter Gods’ prophet hosting the elders in His home. Without a word, God shows Ezekiel the conditions of those in his midst without a confession. He allows Ezekiel in these visions to see through His eyes. He peers down and immediately encounters an idol.

Fake Gods where in the house of God!!!

The idol was in the inner court, where the priest were to reside and offer up sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people. They had taken some of the gods from other cultures, and had included them in worship along with the true and living God.

God had a roommate!!!!

After all God had done for Israel and Judah, He was given a roommate, and forced to share a space with one who hadn’t any power, or the capability to love, protect and provide. They worshiped and attributed to these idols things that were given by Him. They sought them for life, protection and provision and in doing so, they provoked the bear!

I wondered to myself, “

How many temples, homes and hearts are God forced to be a roommate in?”

How often do we move God into a living condition, where he is treated like a renter, and given a lease on that which He owns? How often is God asked to entertain new tenants, leasing out space to those who don’t belong?

He shares His temple with paintings and statues, when His temple was designed to paint His image upon the people and to teach them his statutes. Sadly, I believe He sees more of the same today. While our God has upheld His covenant and remained consistent, our behavior all along has caused us to experience earthly judgement and or punishment, which to many was unbearable. Sadly, this did not lead to a correction of their actions and has not lead to the correction of ours either.

They continued down the path, in some cases unaware that the bear had been provoked. They continued in the error of their ways, and the prophets, priest and elders had not corrected it, partly because they were living in error too.

We find out via the visions of God, that the elders who sat in Ezekiel’s home has lives they lived in the dark. They committed atrocities against God in the dark in hopelessness, not believing that correcting the error of their ways would lead to God changing their circumstances.

Each Elder, God revealed to Ezekiel, had their own personal shrine in their room (Yes, the room that God provided.). After service, they went to their rooms and worshipped a god that didn’t provide. Sadly, we do the same. They served in the temple, advised the people and then gave their most intimate self to inanimate object.

Much like then, God watched the sin through eyes of love through shades of jealousy. Though He loved His people, He was and is still jealous of where we place our love and adoration.

So what is your practice?

I imagine that God knows the difficulty many of us face watching second to second updates of those we loved and lost or are envious of living out life with an insufficient replacement. How sad it must be for Him to see us chasing temporary fulfillment, while complete provision is just a prayer away.

What’s in your gateway?

Is there something preventing God from seeing and receiving your sacrifice?

What in your life is provoking Gods wrath?

#PastorJDO3

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I Keep My Word!

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And they will know that I am the Lord;
I did not threaten in vain
to bring calamity on them.
Ezekiel 6:10

As of late, we have listened to prognosticators justify their position to remain defiant to the Lord.  Many have, in their own foolishness, rationalized that our God, the creator, who is filled with love, willing to forgive, willing to apply grace, and eager to administer justice1mercy, will not punish those who have not accepted His sacrificial offering.  Before, we listened to those who would argue that there is no God, and while there are still those who ignore the obvious, we are seeing more and more who acknowledge His existence, but are not willing to accept His provision.  We find ourselves reaching out to a spiritual generation, who have found peace with a variety of practices, all of which bare teachings that they omit from study and application.

Our Congregations are being Contaminated by Confused Congregants

Worse, these teachings are creeping into the pews, creating those who worship you with a portion of their hearts, making Sunday for many simply idol worship.  As your prophets speak forth truth, the devil works through the congregation, removing that which has not and will not take root, because something has already been planted and is in need of being uprooted.

The Promised Land came with Deed Restrictions

God freed the Israelite; and planted them in a place of wealth.  Broke the walls down via a uniformed shout, and placed into the hands of those who experienced a wealth deed-restrictions-273x300transfer before it was thought to be possible.  God enabled them to own and possess, that which was formerly inhabited by others, and issued a Divine Deed, which came with Divine Deed Restrictions.  Yes, this concept of Deed Restrictions can be traced back to our Lord :).  He allowed each to take residence, and to build and have dominion, but required them to remain pure, and no matter what, to have No other God! Worship no other God!  Don’t take on the practices of those God has placed under your feet!

Despite the Deed Restriction…

And yep, you guessed it; before their bags were good an unpacked, they began to accept and adopt the practices of the former inhabitants, building idols, and placing them in the house of the Lord to be worshiped.  The admired and acted about their cultural practices, merging them with their culture and making them into a defiled nation in the land which God provided for them!  And yep, after many chances to change, God found himself at this point.  Much like He stood before bringing the Flood, and again with Sodom, He watched His creation sin before Him as though He wouldn’t take action.

How many Restricted Deeds have you performed?

confused personAnd for those keeping track, He once again decides to punish the ones He loves.  His punishment would not just keep them from prosperity, but would allow them to suffer physically, mentally and spiritually.  This is important because this age has convinced not just non-believers, but believers that God will withhold punishment just because He loves us!  This is a lie!  Even under the new covenant, the God that never changes stands firmly with the Word He has spoken, and upholds His promise by allowing the children of Israel to reap the fruits of their covenant with false gods!

God’s Word is Sustained by Him

You think I’m playing, God is probably thinking!  He speaks through Ezekiel and says, in addition to my Word not return void, but It’s also not spoken “in vain.”   See, with God, there is no “idle threat”.  God’s Word is life people, thus much like speaking the heavens, the earth, every plant, and life form into existence, God’s covenant is a product of His Word, which means it is alive, and His promise of punishment and calamity are factual not possible or even probably!

We read God’s word as though is has not been through final edits.  The reality is that God’s Word has already been proofed, and its verbalization is publication.  His Word to us seems possible and probably, but its actual.  God’s Word give new meaning to the coined phrase “taking a life of its own.”  Because God can not lie, His Words are life and truth, and can be counted as dependable.  And not just dependable when it benefits your situation, but when it works against your own circumstances.  propheticroar

When you need God, He is there, standing by His Word, honoring His covenant, protecting truth, upholding the standard of righteousness, carrying out justice, while balanced with love, mercy and grace.  It is amazing to me to me that as earthly parents, we chastise and punish our children, and administer judgement with those we are in relationship with, with a measure of mercy and grace, but somehow can not fathom that God can carry out the same.  God is more balanced than we are.  He is truly fair and just, and carries out judgement not as a respecter of persons, but as one who hold the standard across the ages.    Moses looked but didn’t enter, David collected but didn’t build, Saul met the end of a sword, Solomon had the Kingdoms ripped from his hands…..Etc. 

What more do you need to hear?  God honors His Word.  He stands bye His covenant.  He sends Angles and Prophets in addition to providing us His Word to show us how to warn us, and remind us how to honor and live within the covenant with us, and yes, when we fail to live up to His standard, punishment is given to those loves.

throneHe will Keep His Word!  He promised them that calamity is coming.  It is coming to those who refuse to Keep His Word and or accepts His covenant.  The great news is that God gives us a choice.  You can choose Him, or you can reject Him.  It’s your choice.  And though you are not forced to accept Him as Savior and Lord, you can not reject Him as judge!  One day He will divide the sheep from the goats, and He will Keep His Word!

 

#PastorJDO3