Ezekiel 16-18, Psalm 36
A few years ago it appeared to me that people were becoming less passionate about immersing themselves daily in the Word of God. It seemed that during fellowship with other believers everyone talked about everything else but the Word of God. Maybe a Christian phrase or verse here and there, but when asked what they were reading mostly answers like a little here and a little there, or nothing at all. I was not asking to quiz people just to see if we could discuss the Word. Out of this and continuous prayer for many months came the One Year Bible Challenge. Every aspect of this ministry came from the Holy Spirit. There were times that I would be kept up at night as I felt the Holy Spirit communicating to me. As this ministry moves forward it continues only through the Holy Spirit. Every post and every new direction (we are working on adding something exciting next year) is completely from the Holy Spirit. Imagine how wrong it would be at this time if I were to take any credit for it. If something is from God and by God, we are merely vehicles in which God moves and accomplishes His will. In a much larger sense, consider America. From the landing of the Mayflower and surviving those first few years, to the miraculous victory of the ragtag Constitutional army against the superpower of the day, England; our rise as a nation was truly a movement of God's blessings upon a group of individuals, though unworthy, looked often to God for direction. Now, centuries later, as our nation has spiraled out of control in our godless society, we hear terms of America's greatness and American exceptionalism. We take credit for something which was done by God to our own peril.
The people of Judah along with those living in it's capital, Jerusalem, had little to do with it's past blessings. It had everything to do with God. We read in Ezekiel 16:7-8, "I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful..."When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you, and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine," says the Lord God." God goes on to describe many of the material blessings that He bestowed upon the people, then says in 16:14, "Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I bestowed on you," says the Lord God. But we see the dangerous change in the mindset of the people in 16:15, 22, "But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it...And in all your abominations and acts of harlotry you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, struggling in your own blood."
This unfortunately is a common pattern. God blesses and promotes someone or some group that would never accomplished what they did on their own, yet over time they begin thinking they did it themselves and begin taking the credit. On a small scale this could be an individual's blessing or a small ministry. on a larger scale this could be a church body or movement. In a still larger scale this means nations. Pride was the sin that caused the fall of Satan. Sin was the cause of the Tower of babel in Genesis 11. God caused the rise of many nations and empires mentioned throughout Scripture and prophetically depicted in Daniel 2, 7, and 8, but pride brought each one to ruin. This pattern continues to this day and unfortunately has led our nation to our current state. Our only hope as a nation is wide-scale revival, which has worked before. Though we may not be able to change the course of our nation's future individually, we can exert influence over what God has given us. May we recognize pride for the ugliness which it is. May we realize how unworthy we truly are, and count every good thing in our lives a direct blessing from Him. May we never take His Word or our salvation for granted. May we never forget what Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: