Let me ask you a question. Are you gullible? Maybe to ask it a bit better, would you consider yourself naive? I am by no means the smartest cookie in the jar, but I’ve learned over the years to approach certain things with a bit of skepticism over others. One of them being politics (obviously) and the other religion. These just so happen to be the very things we are not to discuss at the dinner table.
I just have to say, look where that got us.
I trust Jeff’s opinions politically of course, but other sources are biased for me. Everyone has their own interests, bents, partisanships so if I really care about an issue, I must do my own research. I have to invest time in figuring out what is going on, who is doing the right thing and what my position is. With the past election and the upcoming election, we all set out to educate ourselves with a fierceness I have never seen before. It is invigorating and liberating, albeit often divisive and heartbreaking.
The point is - we all (or most of us) have a position. We have an opinion, we know what we think whether it’s candidates, issues or policies.
But when it comes to our religion - to Christianity - do we do the same kind of research? Do we actually know what the Bible says?
I got to thinking about this last week when I was reading the ancient Old Testament book of Ezekiel. Listen, I know you are about to tune me out because I said ‘Ezekiel’. I mean, who reads those books except for Bible Scholars. And yes, a lot of it could be considered boring, but I want you to hang with me here for a second. This particular point was super thought provoking to me.
So Ezekiel is all about the anticipation of destruction. As I understand it, Ezekiel was living in exile already but God remained with him as he foretold of the utter annihilation coming over the Jewish people. But as Ezekiel was acting as a mouthpiece for God, there were countless men and women acting as false prophets - prophesying the exact opposite of the Truth. Y’all, I completely get it though, if someone was preaching death and destruction, I would be LONGING for the people talking about peace, right?
The people sharing peace were not of God, but the world. They were telling people what they wanted to hear, knowing it would feel more safe, comfortable, pleasing even. The Jewish people, were more than willing to grab hold of this false peace rather than steel themselves for the impending destruction of God.
I would guess I am over halfway through reading the Old Testament right now and here is what I’ve noticed so far. Rarely do prophets come to tell people the same things they are longing to hear. Usually their messages are offering a different direction, to prepare for battle or even judgement. Sometimes they are messages of peace, but even then the message usually comes in the midst of war. True prophets’ messages were not of their own volition but from the heart and mind of God.
Of course these messages wouldn’t make sense, of course it would sound crazy or unbelievable at the time… God is kind of unbelievable. But we naturally gravitate toward the more believable thing - the thing we want to hear over the thing we can't understand, right?
What is interesting though is nothing has changed over the past 2000+ years. We do the same thing today that the Jewish people did then - gravitating toward messages, preachers and teachers who say things we understand, things we ‘agree with'. But sometimes I don’t like what the Bible says, yet that doesn’t make it any less true. And, friend, in order to change the world, we must start gravitating toward what’s true instead of what is comfortable. His people were led astray because they were people “who listen to lies”. Ezekiel 13:19
We have to stop being people who listen to lies.
Believe me, I get it. It’s not fun to talk about the hard stuff of scripture - the stuff we don’t understand. It’s not fun to wrestle with things we wish weren’t the case, but the Bible says is sin. But, friend, it’s truth. We cannot and should not alter it to fit what we want it to say.
The Bible does not change.
God does not change.
Sin does not change.
Grace does not change.
This is not a message about false teachers - they will always lead us down an easier path - this a message about us. We must be careful who we listen to, especially those interpreting scripture for us. It is crucial for us to absolutely know what the Bible teaches, what God says and how we apply it so we will not spread those same lies.
God said of those false prophets, “I am against you”. (Ez 13:8) That’s pretty strong! He also added “They will have no place in the council of My people, nor will they be written down in the register of the house of Israel, nor will the enter the land of Israel”. (Ez 13:9)
Don’t be that person who listens to lies, but instead let’s link arms to know the truth, to own it and to stand up for it. May we be loving and gracious in our stance, offering the same grace to others that we are so often offered. We are not responsible for what someone else teaches us, but we are responsible for what we accept as Truth.
So let me ask you, what are you gravitating toward today?