Category Archives: Ezekiel

Invest in the eternal

Ezekiel 7:12

The time has come, the day has arrived.  Let not the buyer rejoice nor the seller grieve, for wrath is upon the whole crowd. NIV

This verse is part of a broader set of verses in The Message which reads, “”Judgment Day! Fate has caught up with you. The scepter outsized and pretentious, pride bursting all bounds, Violence strutting, brandishing the evil scepter. But there’s nothing to them, and nothing will be left of them. Time’s up. Countdown: five, four, three, two… Buyer, don’t crow; seller, don’t worry: Judgment wrath has turned the world topsy-turvy. The bottom has dropped out of buying and selling. It will never be the same again. But don’t fantasize an upturn in the market. The country is bankrupt because of its sins, and it’s not going to get any better.” MSG

Pretty dire stuff!

Buyer, don’t crow … seller don’t worry.  I think that’s so interesting.

How often have I “crowed” about a deal?  Several weeks ago, I spent 11 days in a very small town in rural Texas.  I had my days all to myself while the family I was visiting tended to their daily obligations — work and school.  I combed all the little shops and enjoyed poking around in bakeries and coffee shops.

I found a matched set of three stained glass windows, with which I fell completely in love.  On the last day of my visit, the store posted a thirty percent off sale.  Now, those windows, which already were an insanely good deal compared to what I’d buy them for here … were “buy two get one free!”  Or, at least that was how I justified the impractical purchase.

Stained glass windows are both heavy and fragile … a shipping nightmare.  To top it off, the town was so small that it didn’t have a pack and ship … in fact, the woman that I asked had never even heard of a “pack and ship” store.  When I explained the concept, her response was, “what a great idea!”  Followed by, “Nope, we don’t have one of those.”

Buyer don’t crow.

My great deal actually worked out to cost about the same as if I had purchased the windows here, due to the ultimate shipping cost.  But, I’m still marveling at the find … three matched is pretty rare in my experience.

Seller don’t worry.

I always worry, when selling something, if I’ve gotten the best price … even if it’s a garage sale where I’m selling things that I obviously no longer want or use, I wonder if I’m getting the best price I can.

I love these verses … they speak to where we are today.

Just this week, one night on the news, there were a series of terrible  catastrophes reported … an earthquake and tsunami followed by a volcano eruption in Indonesia, a storm causing unprecedented barometric lows in the middle part of the country that spawned multiple tornadoes and much destruction, a cholera epidemic in Haiti, and a bed bug infestation at the United Nations.

There is a countdown … while we may not be at five, we are closer than we were yesterday to the second coming … closer even than when I started this post early this morning.

What I buy and sell is temporary … my investments need to be in the eternal.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Filed under Ezekiel, Old Testament

Sin can cause it …

Ezekiel 4: 16b-17

“The people will eat rationed food in anxiety and drink rationed water in despair, for food and water will be scarce.  They will be appalled at the sight of each other and will waste away because of their sin.” NIV

As I’m working my way through the listings of the word, “worry” in The Message, some of them don’t say, “don’t worry.”  Instead, like this verse, they deal with the consequences or causes of worry.  The Message translates these verses, “The people will live on starvation rations, worrying where the next meal’s coming from, scrounging for the next drink of water.  Famine conditions.  People will look at one another, see nothing but skin and bones, and shake their heads.  This is what sin does.” MSG

This is prophecy of some time in the future from when Ezekiel is writing.

I do not know if these things have come to pass, or if they are still to come, but, the interesting thing about them to me is the linkage between worry, and sin.

It is clear, here, that sin caused the worry.

I can never live a sinless life … that’s why I need a Savior.  But, to the extent that I am legitimately working to live each day for Christ, if I am earnestly seeking His will and obeying His commands, it stands to reason that my sins will be fewer … and likely my worries, lessened.

I’ll have to think about that today.


Filed under Ezekiel, Old Testament, Worry

I’d like Grace Kelly’s face, please

Ezekiel 3:9

I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint.  Do not be afraid of them, though they are a rebellious house. NIV

As I work my way through the listings of the term “fear not” in my King James concordance, I’m now in the book of Ezekiel.  I’ve not spent much time in this book, and this chapter appears to be the record of an encounter with God, during which God is preparing Ezekiel to carry an important message to the people of Israel.

I absolutely love this verse.  The message translates it, “I’ll make your face as hard as rock, harder than granite. Don’t let them intimidate you.  Don’t be afraid of them, even though they are a bunch of rebels.” MSG

I once saw a piece on TV about Grace Kelly’s life.  She was a beautiful actress, and some of my favorite movies are ones that she did with Hitchcock.  During the piece, the narrator referred to letters that Grace had written home to her family when she was first beginning her acting career.  She was lamenting to them that she had a great deal of trouble showing emotion on her face.  I was so surprised by that!  It had never occurred to me that people would struggle with showing emotion, because my struggle has always been just the opposite.

But, God made all of us uniquely, so, as I thought about it, it occurred to me that the ability to show emotion, or lack thereof, was likely on a spectrum, like most things in life.  For some people it is very easy, for others, very hard.  Until that point, I had never considered this to be an ability, rather more like a curse.  I had spent some time wondering how others could be so good at hiding what they were thinking, when my face seemed to betray my thoughts on a moment by moment basis.

As I read this verse, I believe that Ezekiel likely had the same propensity as I to show what he was thinking.  God knows that.  And, he offers — note that Ezekiel doesn’t ask for this — God offers to harden his face for him … and then reassures him by telling him not to be intimidated by the frightening bunch that God is sending Ezekiel to speak with.

This is something that I have not thought of before.  Of course, God can do anything … but I never thought about asking him to help me keep my emotions off my face.

The next time I face a situation like the one described in this chapter … well not exactly like it, because I seriously doubt that God is going to be asking me to eat a book anytime soon … but, the next time I’m going into an intimidating situation, instead of worrying about it, I’m going to ask God to make my face as hard as granite … or maybe, as hard as Grace Kelly’s.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Ezekiel, Old Testament, Strength, Worry