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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Why Am I Fighting You?

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Ezekiel 7:14 They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath [is] upon all the multitude thereof. Ezekiel 7:19 They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumbling block of their iniquity.

When we rebel against the will and commandments of God, we find ourselves involved in combat with the divine. Combat you say. Going against Gods will for our lives and the commandments He has put in place, we are involved in ourselves in a war with Him. Upon reading this text, I asked myself, “Why am I fighting You?” In all of our pasts, we have seen God’s victories, both on paper and in person. We have born witness to the many last place finishers in the ring. We have watched in amazement as we have seen the fall from grace of the willing combatants that have dared to spare with you, become disillusioned, and then step into the ring with you. We have seen the medics attending to them, watched the referee counting them out, watched them shake in fiend-like conditions, watched them walk the streets in search for the next conquest, finding themselves on a bed sick with a disease, seen them hauled off to jail merchandise still in the bag, watched the marriage fall apart from the lovers they have had, watched their prosperity divided in half. We have seen the results of those who fight against your law and will, but yet I ask myself “Why am I fighting You?”

We know that you have not lost a battle. We know that you are all powerful. We know that you are the conqueror. We know that vengeance is yours. We know that you have all resources and that wisdom comes from you. We know all of this, and yet we have to ask ourselves, “Why are we fighting You?”

Is it somehow that we are still believe somehow that the fruit from the trees that we sample are better for us than the fruit that you provide? Is it that we feel like we are missing out on the adventure or some lesson or wisdom that comes along with the experience? Is it that we still have doubt as to whether righteousness is truly the way? The truth is that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, and we are your children, thus, from time to time, foolishness floats to the surface, and the rod of correction must beat it out of us. Painful as it is, its just reality. Even us grown folks experience our own rod, and honestly, its very much deserved. All the things that we have and cherish are yours. All the things we have acquired are yours. All the things we have been given are yours. Please forgive us. All the training that we have is useless against you. All the money we have is useless against you. All the degrees we have acquired are useless against you. All the friends we have in our corner are useless against you.

Truly the blessings of the Lord brings no sorrow, but if we loose sight of the one that has provided the blessings, they can bring wrath. I desire not your wrath. I need not experience your hand against me. I need not see your face turned from me. I need you, and more of you than I already have. You are the one resource that I can never get enough of. “Why ye fightest Thee?” the old writers might have blogged. I’m really not sure. I guess we are all gluttons for punishment.

#PastorJDO3