“I seriously considered inflicting my anger on them in force….Then I thought better of it. I acted out of who I was, not by how I felt” (Ez. 20:8-10 MSG).
“I seriously considered unleashing my anger on them…But I thought better of it and acted out of who I was, not by what I felt, so that I might be honored and not blasphemed” (Ez. 20: 13-16 MSG).
“I seriously considered dumping my anger on them…But I thought better of it and acted out of who I was, not by what I felt, so that I might be honored and not blasphemed” (Ez. 21-22 MSG).
“…you’ll also realize that I am God when I respond to you out of who I am, not by what I feel about the evil lives you’ve lived, the corrupt history…” (Ez. 20:44 MSG).
Four times. God addressed Israel’s rebellion four times in one chapter. In Ezekiel 20, God watched Israel’s people continually break His commandments. They turned their backs on His warnings, not just once, but in four different ways.
I think about how one person or one confrontation tests my endurance. I can’t imagine how a perfect God witnesses horrific disrespect from what He created.
God cited Israel’s idol worship and warned them against following their parents’ evil ways. He noted their disrespect for His Sabbath Day. God said their addiction to possessions and sexual promiscuity would destroy them, yet they continued to discount Him.
I know how saddened I get when somebody disrespects me. If an apology and adjustment to reconcile is followed through, I give someone a second chance. However, if insults continue, I limit interaction with the abuse or abuser. Sometimes I’m the self-inflicting adversary. Since it’s impossible to run from myself, I need to confront my thoughts, words and actions.
Thankfully, God allows me more than three strikes, but I strive not to abuse His mercy. Ezekiel compared God’s integrity with Israel’s wickedness. God considered dumping His anger, inflicting His anger and unleashing His anger. But…God is love. He cannot lie and responds according to His Godly reputation.
God’s undying love is superior to His power to destroy someone, but there are consequences for sin. His perfection includes love and truth. He applies consequences for repeated evil practice but engages forgiveness with appropriate justice.
Lord, thank You for your continual mercy. I strengthen whatever I practice. I don’t want to be a strongly practiced sinner. Keep me from habitually disregarding Your guidance so I’m not subjected to Your just consequences. May I continually love like You do.
Soaking in Truth,