August 22 – Today’s Readings – Ezekiel 7-9 and Psalms 52
Ezekiel 9:3-5 & 9:9-11 reads, “Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the LORD called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, ‘Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.’ As I listened, he said to the others, ‘Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion.” – “He answered me, ‘The sin of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice’. They say, ‘The LORD has forsaken the land; the LORD does not see.’ So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.’ Then the man in linen with the writing kit at his side brought back word, saying, ‘I have done as you commanded.”
Having read these three chapters, would you think it safe to say that God is NOT IMPRESSED when His people refuse to repent? Here and elsewhere He goes into great detail concerning the pain, anger and astonishment He feels when His people turn away from Him and begin to put “other Gods” before Him, turning to sinful ways. In the midst of a people who are bent on rebellion, there is always a remnant that are led by the Spirit and grieved by the sin around them. This is the “mark” of those who are the called-out ones – the children of the Most High. God puts the seal of the Holy Spirit within them and their hearts are captivated by righteousness – deeply grieved by all sin. When the Holy Spirit is present, God’s people are quick to acknowledge sin and continually come back to right relationship with the Father. We grieve without ceasing when we see the rampant sin surrounding us – whether it be in the world or in the lives of those who call themselves “brothers” in Christ.
This is the victory of those who love the Lord – He has given us freedom over sin – the power of the Holy Spirit within us – the ability to “overcome the world”. Revelation 2:17 says” He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”
In Christ, we are “more than conquerors” over sin. Through Christ and through repentance we are “clothed in righteousness” – Hallelujah!
1. How does the “seal of the Holy Spirit” affect the way you relate to the world around you?
2. Give another example from Scripture where God set apart the righteous before passing judgment on sin.