Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Zeal for the Glory of God is NOT Optional

Thabiti Anyabwile wrote a must read post yesterday addressing the question, "How zealous are we for the honor of our God?"

It just so happened in the providence of God that I was making my way through chapter 9 of Ezekiel that morning (before reading Thabiti's post) and afterward recognized how little zeal I have for the glory of God yet how unacceptable this is. The following is a response I wrote to Thabiti explaining how what he wrote about confirmed what God had spoken to me that morning.

"Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it." And to the others he said in my hearing, "Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity...but touch no one on whom is the mark."
Ezekiel 9:4-6
Bro Thabiti,

Thank you for the post. I love the providence of God in that when He speaks, you know He speaks!

For my devotional this morning the Lord had me meditating on Ezekiel 9. In the midst of the rampant idolatry in Jerusalem, the LORD sends a man clothed in linen to "put a mark on the foreheads (v.4)" of those who the six men to come after should not slaughter. Everyone without the mark is to be killed.

Now what is the criteria that the Lord says this man should use to determine who to mark and so spare from destruction? At first I passed over this. But then I was struck and sobered as I realized what the LORD did NOT say.

He did NOT say to mark those who were not participating in the abominations being committed. Truth be told, there probably was none visible who wasn't participating in such abominations granted how bad things were by then but that's not the point.

The LORD said:
"Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it (v.4, emphasis mine)."

This is chilling and sobering. And this is what marks out, according to your post, those who are zealous for the honor of God and those who aren't.

As we look across the wasteland of abominations before us today, it's easy to say "My hands are clean." Little to no regard for the glory of God is necessary for that. We can simply be nice people with complete indifference to the Creator just like any atheist.

But it's another thing to "sigh and groan" at such things before our eyes. It takes labor. It takes cultivation of heart to see and savor the glory of Christ. That's NOT easy. It's actually not humanly possible. Yet God demands it.

So as I am humbled, convicted, and challenged at the realization of my weak affections and zeal for the God who is infinitely worthy, I am thankful that we serve a God who commands us to do that which He alone must supply the grace for.

And so I pray, "Lord, grant me such zeal for the honor of Your name that will cause me to sigh and groan and weep at the sins and indifference to You that is ever before me."

Oh that this spirit would be recaptured in the Church today!

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