Keep your eyes on the prize
Following God when life is tough and the cost of discipleship is high
Scripture reading: Luke 14:25-35 and Philippians 1:27-30 (ON SCREEN)
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took
hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and
straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:12-14 (ON SCREEN)
Has the thought ever crossed your mind that God isn't fair?
Somewhere, in the depths of your heart, do have the expectation that because you are a follower of Christ and a member of the Kingdom
of God, that you will be spared the hurts and pains that others experience?
Today we are going to take a look at Ezekiel 24:15-25. This passage may expose or illicit the thinking of the 2 questions I have just asked.
Ezekiel 24:15-25 is a difficult passage because in it God tells Ezekiel that with one sharp blow, He will take away the love of Ezekiel's life.
Additionally, God tells Ezekiel that he is not to outwardly mourn her death, as was the custom.
As we shall observe, God took Ezekiel's wife, not because she had done anything evil, but because her death and Ezekiel's response to it
was intended to serve as a prophetic object lesson to the people regarding the impending fall of Jerusalem and how the people would
respond when they heard the news.
READ TEXT and note that this text contains 3 prophecies (note that fulfilled prophecy is a great reason to trust and believe in God and His
MAKING SENSE OF EZEKIEL 24:15-25
1. God is the Potter, we are the clay. He can do as He pleases (Jeremiah 18, Isaiah 45:9; 64:8, Romans 9:21)
Romans 9:20b-21 says; ""Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"Does not the potter have the
right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
2. Whatever the Lord gives (and everything good comes from Him), He has the right to take away (Job 1:21-22)
Job 1:20-22 says; "Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: "Naked I came from
my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." In all
this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
3. I suspect that the visions God gave him- of God in all His glory helped sustain him. (Ezekiel 1-3)
A great vision of God born of a Biblically informed view of God, will help us through dark days
What's needed of us is a big view of God- not an impoverished one.
4. While not everything is understandable by us, everything is purposeful.
The big purpose of this entire exercise was that God's people - the Jews- would acknowledge Him as the one true God. See v.24, 27. Note
the key phrase that occurs almost 80 times in the book "Then they will know that I am the LORD"
The peoples acknowledgment of God as the one true God would also would serve as a fulfillment of God's promise to give them new hearts
and lead them to be worshippers of Him (Ezekiel 11:19)
5. The sacrifice that God required of Ezekiel can only be understood in light of the cross and the sacrifice of Christ
Note the phrase "I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes". v.16
Now think of the cross and sacrifice of Christ. Jesus the Son of God, the second person of the Godhead, perfect in righteousness, died as a
sacrifice for our sins on the cross. This is the ultimate sacrifice that can be made-- a sacrifice made by God Himself.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10
"A voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17
6. Ezekiel's response to what God did bears our attention: "The next morning I did as I had been commanded." v.18
Ezekiel didn't shake his fist at God. Ezekiel didn't curse God. Despite the pain and sorrow, Ezekiel obeyed God- not because he was afraid
God was going to zap him, but because he trusted God, had his eyes on the prize, and knew that God was sovereign and had a plan.
When difficult times come our way we mustn't forget that we are to obey God- in good times and bad.
We need to keep our eyes on the prize-- the reward that awaits those who are faithful
Ezekiel 24:15-25 is about a couple of big things:
1. It's about Ezekiel and his story of faithfulness to God
2. It's a passage that points us to Christ and his sacrifice - for God gave that which was most precious to Him- His son Jesus
3. It's a passage that is about God proving to His people that He is the one true God- showing the amazing lengths to which God goes to
get peoples attention- that He might receive the worship that He is due as our Creator and the King of Kings.
Closing song: It is well with my soul, blessed be your name, My Savior my God.