BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord God.” Ezekiel 14:13,14 ESV
Ezekiel in the Old Testament, can read like Revelation in the New Testament. It is filled with images and figures that can be hard to picture and to figure out. We see Ezekiel instructed to take some “bazaar” actions to become a living object lesson to God’s people in their rebellion and impending judgment.
What is interesting in announcing the destruction of Jerusalem, the Lord through the prophet calls to the attention of the people three notable individuals: Noah, Daniel and Job. The basic message is that the Lord’s determination to bring judgment on the people would not be stopped even if these three men were present in the city. However, they would be spared by their own righteousness.
In this passage the Lord refers to several types of “natural” occurrences as signs of His judgment. Famine, wild beasts, sword and pestilence. The Lord used a flood to bring judgment during Noah’s day. Job suffered great physical and emotional pain. Daniel was thrown in a den of lions, yet the wild beasts did not overcome him.
All three of these men suffered the types of conditions that the Lord was bringing upon Jerusalem. However, they did not experience what they did due to their sin, but serve as examples of faith and faithfulness to the Lord to those of all generations. The prophet in speaking of the disasters to come, says “these men would be saved, even if no one else is; because of their righteousness.”
When we read that, it shows how important our faith and faithfulness to the Lord is, even in the midst of sin, rebellion and the Lord’s judgment. Peter talks about Lot being saved from Sodom and Gomorrah and observes, “…the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.” (2 Peter 2:9 NIV)
The Lord does use “natural” disasters as His judgment upon the earth. We see this taking place in Revelation. This can be challenging and requires discernment. I would not view with certainty natural disaster and even terrorism in our world today as signs of the “Lord’s judgment.” Although, Abraham Lincoln viewed the Civil War as the Lord’s judgment on a nation. But it does make me curious what the attitude and view of people will be when the events of Revelation do unfold.
Noah, Daniel and Job. All three are commended for their righteousness and their faith. Noah was a “preacher of righteousness” in an unrighteous world. Daniel was used by the Lord as person of influence in a pagan government and stood his ground for the Lord. Job in the midst of suffering, remained faithful in his trust and confidence in the Lord. This shows that there are different ways to “take a stand” and “make a difference” even in the midst of a world of unrighteousness.
Prayer for today…. Lord, keep us strong in our faith and our faithfulness regardless of what takes place in the “world around.” We can observe Your patience and longsuffering, but we see as well the “judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”