It is so easy to become overly engrossed in your own small and largely insignificant life. To my shame I often have to remind myself that little Welford is only a child and his brain simply isn’t old enough to process all of the implications of the massive changes that are occurring in his life. It’s often much easy to dwell on how these changes are impacting me and how they make me feel. This is a classic lose lose situation as when I feel rank I am more likely to respond to his needs in a less than ideal fashion. I wish I could say this bout of selfishness was a new thing, but I fear it is simply an old habit wearing new clothes.
In Ezekiel 20 the leaders of the people approach Ezekiel looking for guidance from God. They get a bit more than they bargained for. God lists the history of the people including their rescue to a land flowing with milk and honey. This isn’t some small time thing, God hasn’t just promised a land full of bread and water, which is all anyone would need. No this is a extravagant promise of love. All God requires is that the people: “Get rid of all the vile things that you’ve become addicted to. Don’t make yourselves filthy with the Egyptian no-god idols. I alone am God, your God.” (Verse 7) But the people can’t keep to it. They keep going back to other gods, man made idols. And even though these leaders appear to be seeking God verse 32 reveals their true motives – “What you’re secretly thinking is never going to happen. You’re thinking, “We’re going to be like everybody else, just like the other nations. We’re going to worship gods we can make and control.” As I read through this passage I wondered if anything has really changed?
We may not worship the carved idols of the surrounding nations, but I think God still wants us to give up our addictions, stop desiring to be like other people and start following Him. Just like I am still selfish just in a different way we still have idols, they just look a bit different. But there is one thing that has changed, on advantage we have over the people of Israel, Jesus. Even though we consistently fail, even though we worship other things, Jesus grace is enough.
2 Corinthians 12:7b-9 ‘Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’