Category Archives: Bible Study

A Sword Unsheathed (Ez 21)

Ezekiel 21

Four assignments are given for Ezekiel for Israel, and one for Ammon (modern Jordan)

Assignment 1 Human Child (Son of Man) set your face toward Jerusalem. (21:2)

and say to the land of Israel, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Behold, I AM against you; and I will draw My sword out of its sheath and cut off from you the righteous and the wicked. Ezekiel 21:3 nasu

The beloved is against Israel? Both the righteous and the wicked? It is not something that gives the Almighty any measure of pleasure. His Human Child is instructed to represent God’s grief with “the groaning of a broken heart” (21:6), and with bitter grief. When Israel asks Ezekiel, ‘why so glum’ he is to communicate what is coming… there is no stopping it.

Assignment 2 Human Child, prophesy of the sharpened , polished sword.

‘Sharpened to make a slaughter, polished to flash like lightning!’ Ezekiel 21:10a

The sword was made ready for the slayer and he is coming against Israel! A sharp glittering sword made to “strike like lightening” Why is this sword coming against Israel? To appease the Almighty’s wrath (21:17)

Assignment 3 Human Child, make two paths for the sword (a cross-road) for the King of Babylon (the slayer who will hold the sword). Then, make a sign-post showing the way to Jerusalem and another showing the way to the Ammonites (modern Jordan). The king of Babylon (Iraq) will stand at the crossroad to consult his god (Molech, which is also the god of Ammon). But arrogant Israel will see the King of Babylon’s divination toward his idol and blow him off as one who practices false divination. Big mistake! Too late they realize that it is YHVH who remembers their transgressions and sinful deeds, YHVH allows Israel to be seized. Even Israel’s king will be brought down.

Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Remove the turban and take off the crown; this will no longer be the same. Exalt that which is low and abase that which is high. Ezekiel 21:26

…until He whose right it is; and I shall give it to Him. Ezekiel 21:27 Did you catch that? Israel will be brought low, without a king, “…until He whose right it is…” The King is coming! Our true King, The Son of God who is even now, preparing a place for us! Hallelujah!

Assignment 3 prophesy and say, “Thus says the Lord GOD concerning the sons of Ammon. Remember the other signpost at the crossroads for the King of Babylon?

“And you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD concerning the sons of Ammon and concerning their reproach,’ and say: ‘A sword, a sword is drawn, polished for the slaughter, to cause it to consume, that it may be like lightning-–  Ezekiel 21:28b

Jordan currently controls Mt Zion, the temple mount. Jordan allows the moslems to run rank over the most holy places. Jordan allows Israel to be persecuted for simply praying on the Temple Mount. Repent people of Jordan, king at Ammon, The Almighty has given you this privilege for a season, use it to honor him and not the god of Islam if you would save yourself. The Almighty will not return the sword to the sheath until His indignation and the fire of His wrath is exhausted on you, Jordan… The LORD has spoken.

20190131_083320956088789.jpgGod so loves you that he gave His only begotten Son as a lamb to the slaughter for your sin. You have this moment to turn to Him in repentance. Twice in Ezekiel chapter 21 the people thought the prophecy was for another era and did not take it seriously. Do not be like them, the time is soon. Call upon the name of the LORD while it is still called “today” and you will be saved from the eternal side of the punishment.

Debs in Everett, Washington

I loved Ray’s essay on Ezekiel 21. He did a nice job of connecting this chapter to the Sword of the book of the Revelation.  (click on “Ray’s essay on Ezekiel 21” for the link)

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Ezekiel Chapter 21

The Sword of Judgement!

As Ezekiel prophesies against Jerusalem and Israel we see the sword of judgement being brought forth. Have we seen it before, will we see it again?

Ezekiel 21:3 and say to her: ‘This is what the LORD says: I am against you. I will draw my sword from its scabbard and cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked.

God tells Ezekiel to groan before them, that they might ask, “Why are you groaning?” to which we see Gods promise.

Ezekiel 21:6-7 “Therefore groan, son of man! Groan before them with broken heart and bitter grief. 7 And when they ask you, ‘Why are you groaning?‘ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that is coming. Every heart will melt and every hand go limp; every spirit will become faint and every knee become as weak as water.’ It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD.

Have we the sword used before?  More than likely in chapter 9

Ezekiel 9:1-2 Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, “Bring the guards of the city here, each with a weapon in his hand.” 2 And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand

Ezekiel 9:5-6 As I listened, he said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion.  Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark.

Will we see the sword of Judgement again?

Revelation 1:16  He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength

Revelation 2:12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,’These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword

Revelation 2:16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

Revelation 6:8 ” So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.

Revelation 19:15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God

Revelation 19:20-21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh

The sword is just one of the terrible judgements In Revelation.  Will you be taken up in the rapture or left behind to suffer these judgements.

Enter into his Kingdom today!

 

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Ray in Everett

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Ezekiel Chapter 20

Faith!

It seems as though Israel never learns, they always fall to the sins of the world.  God rebukes and calls them back to him. Why?  A phrase continually pops up as to why.” Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.” or some variation thereof.

Ezekiel 20:5-7 and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I chose Israel, I swore with uplifted hand to the descendants of the house of Jacob and revealed myself to them in Egypt. With uplifted hand I said to them, “I am the LORD your God.”  On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of Egypt into a land I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands.  And I said to them, “Each of you, get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”

Ezekiel 20:8-12 “‘But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; they did not get rid of the vile images they had set their eyes on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and spend my anger against them in Egypt. Therefore I led them out of Egypt and brought them into the desert.  I gave them my decrees and made known to them my laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them.  Also I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the LORD made them holy

Ezekiel 20:13 -20 ‘Yet the people of Israel rebelled against me in the desert. They did not follow my decrees but rejected my laws-although the man who obeys them will live by them-and they utterly desecrated my Sabbaths. Yet I looked on them with pity and did not destroy them or put an end to them in the desert.  I said to their children in the desert, “Do not follow the statutes of your fathers or keep their laws or defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the LORD your God; follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.  Keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign between us. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.”

Ezekiel 20:26 “‘But the children rebelled against me: They did not follow my decrees, they were not careful to keep my laws-although the man who obeys them will live by them-and they desecrated my Sabbaths. I let them become defiled through their gifts-the sacrifice of every firstborn-that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the LORD.’

Ezekiel 20:38 I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Ezekiel 20:44 You will know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name’s sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices, O house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.'”

In spite of Israel not following Gods decrees, performing detestable acts, and worshipping Idols, to name just a few. God reaches out to them so that:  “you will know that I am the LORD your God.”

Does the Lord reach out to us in the same way? Are we that repetitive in our sinful ways?

I think he reached out in the most profound way possible:

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Are we repetitive? Thank God for Grace, for I know I stumble!

Rom 6:1-3What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

God will not forsake us just as He does not forsake Israel in spite of her continual sin.

Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

I always think of the picture and poem “footprints in the sand” when I imagine how the Lord walks with us.  But I have a slight enhancement to the story being told. We are familiar with the image of Christ carrying us and seeing only one set of footprints.

Now imagine that is when we are a babe in Christ and need much care, as He carries us for a short time.

Hebrews 5:13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.

Know as we grow in the knowledge, He sets us on our feet and commands us to “walk with Him”

Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

We know when we stumble He will not forsake us, as we picture ourselves on our knees in the sand we look up and see footprints leading the way ahead of us. Did the lord forsake us, NO, remember Deuteronomy 31:8.

Now raise your gaze a little higher and see the Lords outstretched hand reaching out to you as He calls to you “walk with Me”.  Again and again and again!

Are you walking with Him in faith?

 

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem

Ray in Everett

 

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Keep THE Sabbath Holy (Ez 20)

Over seven years in captivity. How much longer O God? It has been seven years, five months and ten days, but whose counting? The elders of the families of Israel come to Ezekiel with a question for the Almighty.

I have no idea what the question actually is, but it wouldn’t matter anyway, YHVH is not happy that this rebellious bunch has the nerve to even ask Him a question. Far from home as a result of their sin and still they do not repent. The Almighty has a word for them, but it is not an answer to their pointless question.

And the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Do you come to inquire of Me? As I live,” declares the Lord GOD, ” I will not be inquired of by you.”‘
Ezekiel 20:2-3

The Human Child (Son of Man) is given an assignment from YHVH. “Make them know the abominations of their Fathers. (20:4)

It was YHVH who chose Israel, who first protected them in Egypt, then brought them out of Egypt by miraculous power that would never be forgotten. He made a covenant with his beloved Israel, promising them a beautiful, abundant home land. And what did he ask in return?

“I said to them, ‘ Cast away, each of you, the detestable things of his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.’ Ezekiel 20:7 with Exodus 20:4-2, the 2nd commandment

Walk away from your religious lust for Egypt’s gods, get rid of the trinkets and traditions of the seductive dark holidays of other religions. Don’t clean it up and weave it into your walk of faith in YHVH (remember the golden calf). I guess they failed, they kept the “harmless” tradition of exchanging valentines… so to speak. These “harmless traditions” were enough to bring God’s wrath and reason enough for him to pour out his anger. If not for the good testimony of His good Name, he would have destroyed them. (20:9)

In the wilderness, just to make clear YHVH’s will, He gave Israel three things to hang on to.

  • His statutes: God’s appointments and customs. Including the Holidays that we are to share as “dress rehearsals” while we wait for the return of Y’shua-Jesus.
  • His ordinances (or judgments, the mishpat), family rules (Torah) and God’s instructions on The Way to keep them.
  • His Sabbaths which is a sign that we are His and not any other gods!

“But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness. They did not walk in My statutes and they rejected My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live; and My Sabbaths they greatly profaned. Then I resolved to pour out My wrath on them in the wilderness, to annihilate them.  Ezekiel 20:13

Even though the Almighty did not destroy Israel, He did not bring her into the beautiful, abundant land he had prepared for her. Woe. The promise would be given to their children instead of to them… who also rebelled, which is how they ended up in captivity.

Therefore, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Will you defile yourselves after the manner of your fathers and play the harlot after their detestable things?  Ezekiel 20:30

The next block of scripture details what the children have done, which is no different then what the fathers did, and how the Almighty will scatter them among the nations until he calls them home to the beautiful land of Israel, then they will know that He is YHVH. (1948)

But what does all of this have to do with me?

Today is February 14th, Valentine’s Day. I have wished my family a happy v’day, I have sent notes to family, I’m dressed in red, and if it would have been just a little warmer out, I would have exchanged my wool socks for a pair that is covered with hearts. It’s fun! But did YHVH give me this as a day of celebration in His Word? If so, I cannot find it. I have googled the history of valentine’s day before and know that it is a day of darkness, a day of lust that we have made cute with paper and lace with pretty ribbons. But it is not a covenant day of YHVH for His beloved. It belongs to another god.

Just how bad do I want to hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your King! Wasn’t it enough that Y’shua’s heart actually stopped for love of me?

20190203_0746461976055144.jpgDebs in Everett, Washington
February 14, 2019

I don’t know that exchanging cards for Valentine’s Day is or is not evil. I’ve done it for years… which may be why I struggle with it. It seems as if there is a clue for me in that statement. DH

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Ezekiel Chapter 19

Lament! Should we Lament for our nation?

What does it mean to lament?  LAMENT (MOURN, MOURNING).

MOURNING: The experience or expression of grief, as at a time of death or national disaster. In biblical times, the customs of most cultures encouraged a vivid expression of grief. The people of that time would be puzzled by our more sedate forms of mourning

Ezekiel 19:1-9

In the first few versus of we see Israel Lamenting the loss of her last two Kings, Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim.  Both taken into captivity and put into prisons by the surrounding nations.

.As we get to verse 10 and 11 we see the beauty of the mother/Israel, her abundance and splendor.

Ezekiel 19:10-11 “‘Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard planted by the water; it was fruitful and full of branches because of abundant water.  Its branches were strong, fit for a ruler’s scepter. It towered high above the thick foliage, conspicuous for its height and for its many branches.

We were once a beautiful nation but are obviously on the down slide. Will we suffer the same destruction?

Then in verse 12-14 we her destruction:

Ezekiel 19:12=14 But it was uprooted in fury and thrown to the ground. The east wind made it shrivel, it was stripped of its fruit; its strong branches withered and fire consumed them.  Now it is planted in the desert, in a dry and thirsty land.  Fire spread from one of its main branches and consumed its fruit. No strong branch is left on it fit for a ruler’s scepter. “This is a lament and is to be used as a lament.”

The last line in verse 14 instructs Israel to use the as a lament. Why?  Again she has turned her back to God, lost her last two kings to captivity and Israel’s beauty taken away.

How much longer then can we expect God not to judge the United States. Thankfully Christ came, died on a cross paid for our sins and is returning as king.  Are you prepared for Christs return?

Rev 11:15-19 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,” The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”  And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.  “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.” And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

 

“and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name”

Do you fit into any of these descriptions? Have you given your heart to Yashua?  Perilous times are coming, enter into his kingdom with grace.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Ray in Everett

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hers is a link to debs Chapter 19An Elegy for Royal Israel (Ez 19)

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An Elegy for Royal Israel (Ez 19)

Ezekiel chapter 19

9 “Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him up?
10 ” The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 He ties his foal to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine; He washes his garments in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 “His eyes are dull from wine, and his teeth white from milk.
Genesis 49:9-12, Jacob’s blessing

elegy – a song or poem expressing sorrow or lamentation (an expression of grief) especially for one who is dead.

The royal house of Israel began with a promise …the scepter shall not depart from Judah… Genesis 49:10a. The same promise foretold when the royal house would end, …until Shiloh comes..Genesis 49:10b Ezekiel is about to honor the life and times of the royal house with a poem from the Almighty, who loved her with an everlasting love.

Judah was brought to Egypt 19:4. The “hooks” were a famine in the land Genesis 26:1, until the time was right for the Exodus when Judah came out of Egypt with glory.

The Lion of the tribe of Judah had another son, David the King. he and his line were great in the land, until the nations set against his descendants and they went captive to Babylon.

Israel was like a vine, planted by the waters. Ephesians 5:26 Water represents The Torah, the word of God, which made the vine that is Israel, strong. But when she forsook God’s word (a sad theme in Ezekiel so far), her strength withered. How could she not even know what was happening? The final word of the elegy?

13 ‘And now it (the vine) is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty land.
14 And fire has gone out from its branch; it has consumed its shoots and fruit, so that there is not in it a strong branch, a scepter to rule.'”
This is a lamentation, and has become a lamentation.
Ezekiel 19:13-14

It that it then? ...until Shiloh comes, and to Him shall be the obedience of the peoples. Genesis 49:10b But who is Shiloh? (the consuming fire-the eternal flame, holding the shepherds staff and the fruit that comes of it… The word picture of Shiloh, which is only used once in Hebrew)

“Thus שילה is linked with a great time of peace and goodness to come.” (from Ulpan.com)

Shiloh’s coming is foretold in the Revelation but it does not seem peaceful and good when it starts.

Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying,

“We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”
Revelation 11:15-18

But the blessing of Shiloh does come, after the bowl judgments and the defeat of the great harlot

After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,

” Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENTS ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and HE HAS AVENGED THE BLOOD OF HIS BOND-SERVANTS ON HER.” And a second time they said, ” Hallelujah! HER SMOKE RISES UP FOREVER AND EVER.” And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, ” Amen. Hallelujah!” And a voice came from the throne, saying,

“Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
Revelation 19:1-6

Why the elegy for the Royal house of Israel? It was because they could not save even themselves. They forsook the Word of God that was their life and the blessing of the world. Genesis 9:27 Shiloh is Y’shua-Jesus, the Son of YHVH, who came as a “Human Child,” the Son of Man, the second Adam 1 Corinthians 15:45  to whom every knee will bow Philippians 2:10.

20190210_0546351256099152.jpgYou are given a choice, you can bow to Shiloh-Y’shua now, because he forgives your sin or you can bow to him in the kingdom to come because he releases you to the punishment for sin that each of us deserves. Call upon the Name of the LORD, for Salvation now… a day is coming soon when it will be too late.

Debs in Everett, Washington

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Choose for yourself (Ez 18)

Ezekiel chapter 18

img_20190212_070300603406397.jpgHe has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6:8

God gave me Micah 6:8 as my “life verse” from the earliest days of my salvation. Other people would tell me their “life verses” and they always sounded so much better then mine, more loving, more life affirming, more evangelistic. I would occasionally look for a different verse to call my own, but the Almighty would not have it, this is the one he gave me. It stuck, and it has fit my ministry.

Why am I telling you about my life verse instead of the next chapter of Ezekiel? It is because my verse fits Ezekiel chapter 18. The Word of YHVH came to Ezekiel, …but this time he did not add an assignment to it. There is no, “Son of Man…” Early on Ezekiel was instructed to faithfully tell the word of YHVH to Israel or what would have come on Israel would come upon the prophet. The message seems to be that the Almighty does not like Israel’s attitude about who pays the price for a mans sin.

“What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, ‘The fathers eat the sour grapes, But the children’s teeth are set on edge’? Ezekiel 18:2

The rest of the chapter lays out everyone’s responsibility and the basis of God’s judgement and reward. You should read it for yourself, but I’ll tell you that the basics are…

  • If a man is righteous and practices justice, if he does not oppress anyone, loans without interest, keeps God’s appointments (statutes and ordinances) and lives faithfully, he will live.
  • If a righteous man has a violent son, the son will pay for his own sin and be put to death
  • If a man is a sinner but has a righteous son, the father will die for his own sin and the son will live.
  • If a wicked man repents, he will live and not die for his former life.
  • If a righteous man goes bad, his former righteousness counts for nothing, he will die for his sin.

The Almighty will judge each of us according to our conduct.

“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.”  Ezekiel 18:32

The father cannot be blamed or exonerated for the life style of his son, by the same token, the son cannot ride on the fathers coat-tails or be righteous enough to save his father.

But we have Jesus (I hear what you are thinking). What does this have to do with us? Here is my testimony…

My husband and I have a son who is and was a delight to us. Smart and funny, he seemed to like helping in any way he could with the ministries we had. Sure, we heard our other son tell us he started smoking cigarettes he managed to get from his aunt (that would be “steel” from her, she never gave him any) but we never saw any evidence of it ourselves, so to the irritation of his brother, we did not do anything. Then there were those years when he dressed in black and in goth, but didn’t my mom go crazy when I started wearing jeans to school instead of dresses? It had to be a phase. My husband found a bag of pot and spoke to him about it, but we both smoked pot in high school, we survived, no big deal, right? Then there was that horrible day when his aunt came and told us that he had been molesting her daughter, his little cousin. It rocked my world!

Auntie told me that it happened two years before she told us, the sheriff had been investigating him and us during that time but could find nothing to charge him with. He was a sophomore at the small town school where his aunt worked. He thought his aunt was his best friend, she had kept him close to see if she could find out anything on him. She had him to her house often during that time. He loved her dearly and thought she was the best person in the world. When we sat him down that evening to tell him what his aunt had said, His first response was, “That isn’t right, she did not mean me, I need to go talk to her and find out what is going on… and whoever actually did this to my cousin, I need to talk to him and teach him a lesson.” We discouraged that, but he spoke to her the next day at school, where she let him know she believed her daughter (who wouldn’t?). His life began to spiral down… though truly, it had already started, it just didn’t seem like a big deal to my husband and I. We wanted to get him counseling, but he insisted he did not do what he was accused of.

It was not long before he was in a relationship with a young lady with plenty of trouble of her own, while they were living together, another aunt called my husband at work, and the girl’s mother called me with the same message, “Your son is addicted to meth, just thought you should know.” I did not want to believe it, but there were two witnesses that loved us enough to tell us. When that relationship ended, he added heavy drinking with his buddies to the list of things that broke our hearts. It was not long until he was in jail with out any charges for nearly four months. When I say, “without charge,” I do not mean he was innocent. He had cross-jurisdictional problems. The county and the city wanted to charge him with drunk driving but both wanted the other to pay for jail so they waited for the other to charge him. He would later tell me he was guilty of everything except molesting his cousin, and so much more. While he was in jail I started this habit of writing my daily bible study. I would tuck it into an envelope and send it to the jail for him. He read them and passed them around. The only books he could have were brand new books from amazon. Since we were paying, we chose the titles. The Left Behind series is what we sent, one at a time. We always accepted the phone charges (and they were BIG charges) for him to call from jail. We wanted to keep the connection.

All of that is just background for what was going on with my husband and I. There was something I held in my heart for far too long… if my husband had been a better, more pious father, if he had read just half of the books I had read, none of this would have happened to my little boy. I say that I kept it in my heart but I am sure it leaked out though my attitude; but once my husband let me know that he thought it was my fault that our son went down the wrong path, I let him have all the garbage that was in my heart. We came close to splitting up and filing for divorce. Satan must have had a belly laugh over that one. What saved our marriage and brought us back to being best friends again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus and his people who prayed for us.

Obviously I have skipped a lot of details.

In our distress we each went individually to God’s word and prayer. Our son was lost and our marriage was over, each of us wanted healing. Before our son was out of jail and into rehab (where he finally got the counseling we wanted for him to have), we reconciled, both of us having come to the conclusion that if either one of us had been in charge of our son’s choices, he would have NEVER chose the things that he did. We asked for and extended forgiveness to each other. It changed our prayer life and our marriage. So many friends had lost their children to drugs, either through prison or death. Our son lives, that was a good place to start. He recommitted himself to Christ in jail, but out of jail he was treated poorly in church. I should have looked for another church to attend with him, but I loved that church… what a mistake! He doesn’t really want anything to do with organized religion, and we have since drifted away but we still have hope.

What did we learn? No one pays for anyone else’s choice to sin. Each of us stands before the Almighty by the blood of Christ. There is no other way. Good parents can have children who make wrong choices… and my husband and I were not very good parents, but we tried. We also discovered that the wicked repent, and that we can love the sinner…. AND hate OUR OWN sin. (Thank you Mark Lowry). And a crisis is not the end of the world. In fact it may just be the beginning of eternity. God shows me what is good… sometimes it must be difficult for him to get through my thick head… walk humbly.

And the last line of Ezekiel 18? It is life for the sinner as well as the self-righteous like I was (and can be). Repent and turn… so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block. Repent and live!

Debs in Everett, Washington
February 12, 2018

Here is Ray’s essay on Ezekiel 18. I like it!

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