Israel had failed miserably concerning God’s purpose for their nation and were now faced with the fire of God’s judgment. Jesus told us as His followers we are to be salt and light. More than ever, our world needs believers who will obey that command. It won’t be easy. Salt sometimes stings and darkness doesn’t like the light, but both are desperately needed.
Ezekiel 15 & 16
Will we be children of light?
Fruit, Salt & Light
In chapter 15 the nation of Israel is pictured as a fruitless vine. While the wood from fruitless trees is useful for building and other purposes, vines that are unfruitful are useless except to be burned in the fire. The nation of Israel had failed miserably concerning God’s purposes and God was warning them of the fire of His judgment.
Jesus said much the same thing in Matthew 5:
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
And in verse 14:
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Our nation and our world, more than ever, need believers who will be salt and light. It won’t be easy. Salt sometimes stings and darkness doesn’t like the light, but both are desperately needed.
Left alone, darkness will only lead to more darkness: more anger, more hate, more crime, and more evil (Rom. 6.19). We must shine the light of truth and the love of Christ into hearts if we want to see any lasting change. While God uses laws to restrain evil (Rom. 13.1-7), only God can change a heart.
Salt acts as a preservative. It keeps food and, in this case, a society from rotting. You don’t have to watch much news with screaming protesters, violence against police and others, and disregard for civil and moral laws to know that the culture around us is rotting.
We must not be intimidated into silence or embarrassed by the truths in God’s Word. Instead we must speak the truth in love (Eph. 4.14-15), humbly correcting “those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2.25-26).
Ephesians 5 reminds us:
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.14 Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
Let’s go and be the children of light God has called us to be.
Today’s Other Readings:
Looking to the Lord
Psalm 123.2 is a picture of complete dependence on God:
“Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He has mercy on us.”
He Who Hastens to be Rich
Verse 20, “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.”
Faithfulness in living brings not just financial blessings, but more importantly, the blessings and provision of God. But when a person focuses on having more and more financially and materially, he or she will cut corners and justify all kinds of sinful behavior, perhaps not outright theft or deceit, but often the neglect of other God-given responsibilities and priorities.
Our Great High Priest
As I’ve commented before, Hebrews is a study in comparisons. The writer compares, among other things, two priesthoods—the human priesthood under the Levitical system and the priesthood of Christ, our eternal, holy High Priest.
“Now this is the main point of the things we are saying. We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man” (8.1-2).
“We have such a High Priest”! One “who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens …” All power on heaven and earth is His! And He is the One who ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7.25), the One whose throne we can approach with confidence, who sympathizes with our weaknesses, who we can approach boldly and where we will find grace to help in time of need (4.14-16).
What a truly awesome salvation He has provided!
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