Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Just Trust

And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are among you and you dwell among scorpions, do not be afraid of their words or be dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house. Ezekiel 2:6

Who'd ever want to be near a scorpion, much less dwell among them? The very thought makes me shudder. Yet God told his appointed prophet to live among people who acted like scorpions and preach to them, even though they would not hear.

In Matthew Henry's Commentary on Ezekiel 2, he says the briers, thorns and scorpions were a representation of the people the prophets had to preach to.

  • 1. God tells the prophet what was the character of those to whom he sent him, as before, v. 3, 4. They are briers and thorns, scratching, and tearing, and vexing a man, which way soever he turns. They are continually teazing God's prophets and entangling them in their talk (Mt. 22:15); they are pricking briers and grieving thorns. The best of them is as a brier, and the most upright sharper than a thorn-hedge, Mic. 7:4. Thorns and briers are the fruit of sin and the curse, and of equal date with the enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. Note, Wicked men, especially the persecutors of God's prophets and people, are as briers and thorns, which are hurtful to the ground, choke the good seed, hinder God's husbandry, are vexatious to his husbandmen; but they are nigh unto cursing and their end is to be burned. Yet God makes use of them sometimes for the correction and instruction of his people, as Gideon taught the men of Succoth with thorns and briers, Jdg. 8:16. Yet this is not the worst of their character: they are scorpions, venomous and malignant. The sting of a scorpion is a thousand times more hurtful than the scratch of a brier. persecutors are a generation of vipers, are of the serpent's seed, and the poison of asps is under their tongue; and they are more subtle than any beast of the field. And, which makes the prophet's case the more grievous, he dwells among these scorpions; they are continually about him, so that he cannot be safe nor quiet in his own house; these bad men are his bad neighbours, who thereby have many opportunities, and will let slip none, to do him a mischief. God takes notice of this to the prophet, as Christ to the angel of one of the churches, Rev. 2:13I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is. Ezekiel had been, in vision, conversing with angels, but when he comes down from this mount he finds he dwells with scorpions.

Today, there is a parallel to the times we are living in. We are in a real battle for our souls, and anxiety over everything and anything seems to be swallowing us up so that we will give up in the fight. We live in perilous times. Could all the evil things that are in our face daily be like briers or thorns, or worse yet, scorpions? Our enemy is not people but principalities and powers that want to kill, steal and destroy. Yet two times in verse 6 alone God tells Ezekiel not to be afraid.

Situations in life are uncertain. None of us know what the future holds. But even if we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, (and barring being part of the Rapture generation, we all will) we are commanded to fear no evil.

Paul the Apostle went through "just a couple" things. He was stoned to death (and revived), received beatings, shipwrecked, in hunger, sleeplessness, among many other setbacks. Yet he called all of it "a light affliction."

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed--
always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
So then death is working in us, but life in you. II Cor. 4: 8-12
and then, further on, at the end of the chapter:
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

But all of it just "a light affliction," lasting for "only a moment?" Come on Paul, did you really mean that? People who have gone to prison for their faith, people who have been martyred, people who are cut off from their families, is that just a light affliction? What about  Ezekiel and all the Old Testament prophets preaching to unrepentant countrymen who were stoned to death or even sawn in two?

The Word says it is temporary and light.  Right now, I face uncertainty over what my near future will hold with family obligations and caring my elderly mother. I'm tempted to get anxious about it. But it's only a light affliction, just a blink of an eye in the light of eternity.

God already sees me in the heavenly places with Him. He wants me to trust Him for this new and uncertain role. If you are a believer, He sees you there with Him too.

If I think about it that way, I can face the future with confidence. One minute my life is here, but in God's view I am already with Him in eternity. 

Fear not. Trust. One step at a time.

God does not show us the future for a good reason. We could not bear to know what will come to pass. But day by day, he was with the prophets and day by day He will be with me.

If I fear Him, I don't need to fear anything else. The problem is, most of the time I fear man more than I fear Him. Today, I repented of my fear and once again said simply, "I will trust You."

Immediately after I said it a little test came along and I was ready to panic once again, fearing the worst. Then I stopped and committed my problem to Him and asked Him to please rescue His silly daughter once again.  Praise Him, He did.

He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.   Psalm 112: 7

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