Blogger’s Note: Continuing on with my journal/blog entries for September, 2010 in my commitment to read through the Bible this year, using The Daily Bible in Chronological Order, edited by Dr. F. LaGard Smith, who also wrote the companion book, The Daily Bible Devotional, from which I’ll be extracting all my 2010 devotionals, including these for September.
Study from God’s Word… Ezekiel 33: 21 – Ezek 36: 38 … Passage for Reflection: Ezekiel 33: 32 … NIV 31 [God to Ezekiel] My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. 33 "When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them."
My Journal for Today: Ezekiel must’ve felt like a rejected shepherd at times, coming to the people and declaring God’s prophesies. Sometimes the leaders of God’s people would even come to Ezekiel to hear him espouse God’s truth; and then they would go away and do nothing to honor or obey their God.
There’s a lot of that going on today, with people who sit in the pews Sunday after Sunday and God’s ordained messengers, the Spirit-anointed preachers of the day, preach the truth; but then the flock, hearing God’s messages, seem to desire only entertainment from their Sundays in church; and they go away, not having really listened and taking in none of the pleas of their Pastor, … applying none of his preaching for obedience and Godly action. How exasperating it must be to cry out to God’s flock, calling them to action, and have them then go away and continue to live selfish, flesh-driven lives.
But then there are those preachers who preach messages of entertainment, tickling the ears of the flock with entertaining messages of self-power and selfish gain for their internally directed “faith.” And I think you know about whom I refer. They are the Oprahs, the Osteens, and the like, who come to draw in the masses and give them syrupy entertainment rather than truth from God’s word, which often can be painful. And let’s face it; … who wants pain when they can be entertained?
Dr. Smith, in his devotional for today, asks the tough application question of his readers (i.e., me): ”How many sermons, speaking directly to me, have I managed to conveniently ignore?”
You, my friends who read here with me, must answer that one for yourself as I have to for myself. And the most important question is, “Do I seek entertainment or truth when I go to worship and hear God’s messenger?” Or maybe I could also ask, “Is my Pastor challenging me onward as a Christian soldier; or is he just entertaining me to make me feel good?” Answering those questions could tell us a lot about our own hearts – as Christians – as well as about the calling of our spiritual Shepherds. And they are certainly questions we must not ignore.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to seriously seek Your truth! Amen