Week 5: Lessons from the Prophets Cont’d
Day 5 – Sodom’s Other Sins: Ezekiel 16:49, 50
The references to the poor and needy in the book of Ezekiel are also very important. The first is especially interesting. In this day and age when wickedness is so blatantly rampant, we have a tendency to link one particular sin with the fall of Sodom. But there were other sins, which are rarely ever mentioned:
“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.” Ezekiel 16:49,50
Pride. Fullness of Bread. Idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of thy poor and needy. Wow – can’t find any of those in America today, can we? Forgive my sarcasm, but we are walking on dangerous ground. Truly the first three lead very quickly to the fourth, and, as we have seen over and over, the fourth leads very quickly to God’s judgment.
Pride keeps us from doing a good many things. It even has a way of making us believe that we are right in not helping others in the effort to avoid looking like those who might do it for the wrong reasons, or to keep from becoming “unclean”. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? What was it that stopped the priest and the Levite from helping the man that had been left to die?
Fullness of bread. We have so much that when we don’t get just exactly what we want we think we have nothing! When we are continually full, it is hard to remember that anyone else may be in want. It is also hard to drag ourselves out of the sitting position to get up and do anything. In the Ukraine they have a saying, “We begin our fellowship near the table, then at the table, and we end under the table.” The idea is that so much is consumed that everyone collapses beneath the table with that full-bellied sensation that leaves you with no desire to move. We do this spiritually. We fill ourselves with all sorts of spiritual teaching, walk out content and never go on to live as Christ wants us to. Jesus did not sit down and eat the little boy’s lunch – he gave it out to those around Him.
Abundance of Idleness. The old saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s playground,” isn’t too far off. We live in a society that fosters idleness. Grown men sit for hours, controller in hand, eyes and brain tuned in to the video game on the screen before them. Women fill their time with the latest reality show, soap opera or opportunity to catch up on the latest gossip, when the hours could be spent for Christ. Our days are spent in Idleness. By definition, someone who is idle is lazy and doesn’t want to do anything, especially not work. When my car idles it’s bunring fuel, but it’s getting me nowhere. That is the result of idleness. We waste both time and energy on things that help no one, do little to glorify God and get us nowhere. We will never help others if we are sitting in neutral.
So, what is the result of all this? Look at Sodom – oh, that’s right, you can’t – because it doesn’t exist anymore! God never changes. Are we living under the law? No. Was Job living under the law? No. Was Sodom under the law? No. Were the Israelites in the book of Ezekiel under the law? Yes. Are God’s commandments to us regarding the poor and needy and widows and fatherless in the New Testament under the law? No. This is not an issue of law or no law. It is not an issue of working for your salvation, though it may be an issue of working out your salvation. It is an issue of honoring God’s desire toward these people and being a reflection of His love toward them. It is an issue of obedience.
We are falling short, and He has clearly stated over and over and over that the result of missing the mark (sinning) on this one is severe judgment. Stop. Think. Act! God has not change. His desires have not changed. His sense of justice has not changed. What will you do? Will you relieve? Will you judge? Will you plead? Will you defend? Will you do justice? Will you visit? If the answer is no:
Up Next: Week 6: Day 1 -Individual Responsibility
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