Monday, May 23, 2022

            Scripture can often give us wake-up calls and warnings.  Inspired passages originally intended for audiences and people thousands of years or many generations ago can often speak quite freshly and relevantly to us today and tomorrow.  Ezekiel 28 is one such passage.  This chapter often carries the heading “A Prophecy Against the King of Tyre.”  Ezekiel wrote, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘In the pride of your heart you say, ‘I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas’’” (Ezekiel 28:2a).  Most of us would not be bold or brazen enough to declare ourselves to be God or a god.  Yet, we can easily behave that way.  Pride can take hold of us.  Conceit can capture us.  We can begin to think much more highly of ourselves than we should.  We can try to claim thrones that we have no business occupying.  We can try to control or manage things that are best left to God alone.  Success can often go to our heads.  Rather than seeing the blessings, success or prosperity that God has granted us, we can easily think we have succeeded by our own strengths, wits or cleverness.  There is an old saying that warns us not to believe or read our own press clippings.
            A bit later in chapter twenty-eight, Ezekiel wrote, “By your great skill in trading, you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth your heart has grown proud” (Ezekiel 28:5).  The prophet issued a comparable warning to what we found in 28:2. As our eyes take in what we possess, we can easily be blinded by success and come to believe that we have made what we have, skillfully acquired what we possess and made a fortune of blessings because of our innate power and deftness.  The Bible warns over and over that pride comes before the fall.  Pride can leave us inattentive to life’s most important matters and reduce us to seeing only ourselves and no trace of God in our lives.  Pride is all about me.  God and others simply become ways and means by which my will and wishes are accomplished. 
            When God blesses us, we can and should count them.  We should acknowledge what He has given to us and done for us.  These blessings should lead us to praise and worship God with thankful and grateful hearts.  God is the greatest Giver of all and we know all blessings flow from Him and are designed for us by Him.  Blessings also should humble us.  We should be amazed that God in His infinite greatness and glory has chosen to bless us in some special way.  Blessings are not deserved by any of us and are expressions of His grace to us.  Yet,  God does bless us and He has carefully chosen reasons for why He blesses as He does.   
            Blessings are also given to us to use in service to the Lord and others.  We are channels or conduits through whom blessings pass on their way to other locations and places.  Collectively, God’s people can do far more working together than any one believer could ever do alone.  The support of missions and ministries has historically been based upon God’s people giving and using their blessings for Kingdom purposes and reasons.  God can multiply what we faithfully offer to Him just as He multiplied one boy’s lunch of fish and bread to feed a crowd of hungry people.  Today, take a look at your life to see if your blessings have made you proud or thankful.  Have your blessings filled you with a desire to gain more and more or to serve more and more?  Is the Giver of all blessings on the throne of your life or have you, in the words of Ezekiel, chosen to be a god on your own throne?  Today, may hearts of pride become hearts of humility and may hands that hold on become open hands that freely give and serve.  Remember you can share our Sunday worship always and at any time at  Have a great Monday!      

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