Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 642 · 3 weeks ago

Ezekiel 35:1-36:15

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Ezekiel 35:1-36:15

As to us are so good and far beyond what we deserve. Um. They highlight and underline the excellency of your love and your strength and power Um too to keep us, um, to move us in the directions of your love, to draw us close to you, that we might live not just out by ourselves somewhere, but live in you, abide in you, and in your love. Your love is a jealous love, and it desires to protect us and keep us. It desires to keep us from all of your and our enemies. Lord, this is a good thing. Thank you for protecting us and our souls from all those who would seek to do us harm. Um. We thank you for protecting us from ourselves and our own flesh that would seek to destroy us if it were not for the power of your spirit in us. Lord. But these things, we asked that you would now speak to us in your word through the profit Ezekiel, and that by your word we would be encouraged and strengthened. I'm knowing who you are and what you have desired for us. We pray this now in Jesus name. Amen, Let's turn our attention to Ezekiel Chapter thirty five. UM, feel free to sit if you need to, I will be reading Ezekiel thirty five through thirty six fifteen Um. This is if I can find it. There we go. This is picking up um where I left off a few months ago. We're coming in to some really, really wonderful chapters, including tonight's. So let's hear God's word Ezekiel, the word of the Lord came to me, son of Man. Set your face against Mount Seer, and prophesy against it, and say to it, Thus says the Lord God. Behold, I am against you, Mount Seer, and I will stretch out my hand against you, and I will make you a desolation and a waste. I will lay your cities waste, and you shall become a desolation. And you shall know that I am the Lord. Because you cherished perpetual enmity and gave over the people of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of their final punishment. Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you. Because you did not hate bloodshed. Therefore blood shall pursue you. I will make Mount Seer a waste and a desolation, and I will cut off from it all who come and go. I will fill its mountains with the slain. On your hills and in your valleys, and all your ravines, those slain with the sword shall fall. I will make you a perpetual desolation, and your cities shall not be inhabited. Then you will know that I am the Lord, because you said, these two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will take possession of them, although the Lord was there. Therefore, I as I live, declares the Lord God. I will deal with you according to the anger and envy that you showed because of your hatred against them. And I will make myself known among them when I judge you, and you shall know that I am the Lord. I have heard all the revilings that you uttered against the mountains of Israel, saying they are laid desolate, they are given us to devour. And you magnified yourself against me with your mouth, and multiple i'd your words against me. I heard it, Thus says the Lord God, while the whole earth rejoices, I will make you desolate as you rejoiced over the inheritance of the House of Israel, because it was desolate, So I will deal with you. You shall be desolate Mount Seer and all edam with it. Then they will know that I am the Lord, and you son of Man prophesied to the mountains of Israel, and say, oh, mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord. Thus, as the Lord God. Because the enemy said to you, Aha, and the ancient heights have become our possession. Therefore prophesy and say, thus says the Lord God, precisely, because they made you desolate and crushed you from all sides, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you became the talk and evil gossip of the people. Therefore, oh, mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God. Thus says the Lord...

...to God. To the mountains and the hills, the ravines and the valleys, the desolate wastes, and the deserted cities, which have become a prey and derision to the rest of the nations all around. Therefore, thus says the Lord God. Surely I have spoken in my hot jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all edom who gave my land to themselves, as a possession with wholehearted joy and utter contempt, that they may that they might make its pasture lands a prey. Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel. And say to the mountains and hills, and to the ravines and valleys, thus says the Lord God. Behold, I have spoken in my jealous wrath, because you have suffered the reproach of the nations. Therefore, thus says the Lord God, I swear that the nations that are are all around you shall themselves suffer reproach. But you, a mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel, for they will soon come home. For behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sowned. And I will multiply people on you, the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt. And I will multiply on you man and beast, and they shall multiply and be fruitful. And I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and will do more good to you than before. Then you will know that I am the Lord, I will let people walk on you, even my people Israel, and they shall possess you, and you shall be their inheritance, and you shall no longer bereave them of children. Thus says the Lord God, because they say to you, you devour people, and you bereave your nation of children. Therefore you shall no longer devour people, and no longer bereave your nation of children, declares the Lord God. And I will not let you hear anymore the reproach of the nations, and you shall no longer bear the disgrace of the people's and no longer cause your nation to stumble, declares the Lord God. Since the reading of God's word and he busts it to us may be seated. Mhm mm hmm. Well, God speaks to us this evening through two prophecies. One is given to Mount Seer and the mountains of Edom, Edom being the land of the children at Esau, and the other to the mountains of Israel and the children of Jacob. These prophecies, these two prophecies, one to the mountains of Edom and the other to the mountains of Israel, are not for the mountains per se, but for us. God speaks to them, but of course he wants us to hear his words. The mountains here are personified. To use a literary term, they're personified. They're made to look and sound like people because they represent the people in the lands that they dwell in. Ou There are various reasons why God does this. One is because of the importance of mountains in the cultures of many people. Often it's on mountains, and because of mountains that people try to find connections with Heaven. Mount Olympus, you have probably heard of, an important and famous mountain, was thought in Greece to be the home of the gods right a place close to Heaven or maybe something like Heaven itself or closer to home. The Navajos hold call four mountains sacred, including the San Francisco Peaks north of bag Staff. These mountains are an important part of their creation story. They believe that the mountains are spiritual protectors and harm that's done to the mountains is done to the people. There's a spiritual connection, they say, between the mountains and themselves, and even when mountains don't hold specific religious or of spiritual value. Across the world and in different cultures, mountains often do symbolize protection, strength, majesty, glory, wealth. Mountains play a prominent and important role in the Bible as well. Significant moments in scripture happen on mountains. Right Mount Sinai, where the law is given. God says, as he comes and descends upon that mountain Um, ruling over it, and that great cloud of fire and smoke trumpet sounds. He tells the people of Israel, don't touch the mountain or you will die. Um.

Mount to Bore, where the transfiguration happens. And of course Mount Zion, which if you read as you read the scriptures, you might think it was the most awesome of all mountains, the tallest of all mountains in the world Um, and it is theologically speaking um in terms of its in terms of its land and height, it's kind of more of a hill, a hill outside of Jerusalem, but the greatest of all mountains in the world, not because of its immense height our size, but because it's where God had put his presence and God chose to represent himself to all of Israel. But even though God chooses to work in mountains and around mountains and highlight them and use them as representatives of the land, and of his presence in the land in various places, of his authority and power. God makes very clear in the scriptures, unlike other religions, that mountains are not the hope of anyone, even mountain Zion. They're not the hope of his own people or anyone else. He's not born from the mountains. He is not a mountain himself. He is not subject to the mountains. He doesn't even use them as his dwelling place, as if he was contained there or held there. In fact, nothing in all creation, even the greatest aspects of creation, like the mountains. Nothing in creation, whether man or animal, plant or mineral, could ever begin to take the place of the Lord. Nothing in all of creation can supersede His strength, his will, his power, and his promises. Considers some of one through three. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling, Even when the strongest, most immovable things around us are moved and shaking and overwhelmed. We can rely on God. That's a wonderful, wonderful truth. It's so important for us to hold onto. And another perfect summary of this is the one I hinted at before and saw one versus one and two. I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. He is the hills, He made the hills. When we look up to the great, immense, immovable features of creation, we don't look to them for help. We look to the God who made them. They point to something, to someone beyond themselves. Their strength reminds us of His infinite strength. And this is the main message that we need to hear from this passage tonight. God wants us to know that he is immovable, that he is ever strong, that he and he alone is the covenant Lord of his people, and he will act accordingly for his people. He is a savior and a savior from their enemies. So let's take a look at these passage UM Ezekiel thirty five and the first half here of Ezekiel thirty six. What's going on in the timeline here? Just to refresh our memories, UM. The first thing that you might remember or have picked up on, is that Israel had disobeyed. Israel had disobeyed God, had broken the covenant with God, and had disobeyed him, much like many much of the rest of the world has. And we read the result of that in the beginning of chapter thirty six. We can start at verse two and read from there um the scriptures say, thus says the Lord God, because the enemy said to you, Aha, and the ancient heights have become our possession. Therefore prophecy and say, thus says the Lord God, precisely, because they made you desolate and crushed you from all sides, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you became the talk and evil gossip of the people's. Therefore, a mountains of Israel hear the word of the Lord, and then he makes various promises. What had happened is that they had dis obeyed the Lord.

And exactly as he has promised he would do. He brought in Nebuchadnezzer in the great armies of Babylon, to destroy Jerusalem, to make it a waste, to make it on desolate. But at that moment of calamity. As God was judging his own people for their sin. Edom took advantage of their weakness. The people of Edom, this neighboring um, neighboring nation, took advantage of their um, their weakness. We read in verse five of chapter thirty, because you cherished uh perpetual enmity, and gave over the people of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of their final punishment. And then God says things as a result of that action, So you see what's happening there. Israel is under punishment, right, they are in trouble. They are um uh, they are being judged by the Lord. As Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem in seven b c. And as that is happening, while Israel is down on her knees, Edom comes in and says, ha ha or a ha, this is our moment, This is our moment. This attitude is captured in a song of lament and Psalm one thirty seven seven or says, remember, O Lord against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, lay it bare, lay it bare down to its foundations, kick them all there down. This is our time now. I want to pause for a moment and ask, in a genuine way, what's so wrong about this? Certainly there were some plausible arguments going on in the various discussion rooms of Edom that you can imagine them arguing why they should attack attack Israel at this time, perhaps two things in particular. One, there are enemies right strike while the iron is hot. Why would we lose this opportunity to destroy these people that we've been ever We've been against, ever since Jacob and saw, ever since that dirty dog Jacob took our birthright and stole from us the promises of the Lord. There are enemies, they're down there being judged. Let's help out the Lord. A second argument that you can imagine a plausible argument might be something like the harder they fall, the more glory and the more opportunities there are for US lands, power, wealth, people, treasures of various kinds. It's there for the taking. How can they defend it? Surely we have our own needs. We've got temples to build, people to feed. You can imagine that this was not a bad time from a certain perspective, but the perfect time to attack Israel. But plausible arguments do not equal good arguments, And it's good to remember there's always plausible arguments for sin. There's always rationalizations ways than things that we use to justify evil. How do you know the difference, right, what's a good argument and what's an excuse? Right? Well, the way to know the difference is that we have to align our thinking in our hearts with God's will. We have to know him, We have to know what he wants, We have to know what he desires. And that's how and that is what he explains so clearly in this passage. God doesn't just come at them angry and railing and and Um upset over seemingly nothing. He's upset. He's angry, He has hot wrath and jealousy and anger as he comes against edom and he makes very clear why. He tells them, and he tells us, So what are the things? What are the reasons why God is going to judge edom Um for their sin? What is their sin? What have they done? I'll mention four things. The first one is that they held on to anger. They held on to anger. Remember what he says in verse five, because you cherished perpetual enmity. Yeah, cherished perpetual enmity. They were mad, hopping, mad, angry,...

...very angry, and they loved it. They loved that feeling inside that was all stirred up, that stewing, that holding onto things, they held onto that they'd never let it go. Amos one eleven addresses this as well, concerning Edom. Amos one verse eleven thus says the Lord for three transgressions that the edom and for four I will not revoke the punishment, because he pursued his brother with the sword and cast off all pity, and his anger tore perpetually, and he kept his wrath forever. Let it go. Have you ever heard that or said that to yourself? And times of anger? Let it go? They would not let it go. In fact, they loved it, They cherished it, they held onto it. Ephesians four has a very very important verse that we have to keep in mind. In this passage, be angry and do not sin, And in the second half of the verse adds a third thought, do not let the sun go down on your anger. So be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. There's so much good to think about um here. Anger, like other emotions, is not sinful in and of itself be angry. The scripture says God is angry, and he is not wrong in his anger. Here, anger, like other emotions, is not in full in itself, but like other emotions, it becomes sinful in certain conditions. This is very important for us to realize because sometimes we think of sort of negative feeling emotions like anger as bad and sinful ones, and positive feeling emotions like love and joy as good ones morally good and morally bad. But let me ask you. We're dealing with anger, But let's look at something like joy and love. Um, if I take joy at the death of my friend, is that good? If I rejoice at your calamity is that good? If I love something that is evil, is that good? No, just because I love something, or just because I have joy, doesn't mean I'm having morally right emotion. It doesn't mean my emotions are our our tune to God's will. In fact, it's very wrong. It's sinful to feel those ways. Loved in and of itself, joy and it and not itself is not just okay. It matters what we love, it matters how we love. Idolatry is a form of love. Covetousness is a form of love, and these are not good. Our emotions need to be directed correctly, proportionately, rightly. That's what makes them good and bad. And anger is like this as well. And one of the ways anger becomes sinful is when it burns perpetually. That's what the Lord says, here, be angry, but don't sin. And one of the ways we sin is by letting our anger burn even after the sun itself has gone down and the aemperatures have cooled. When we let our anger perpetually stew and rage inside of us, whether anybody sees it or not, it will be our downfall. And it is a sin. And what this means, then, many means many things, But one implication of it is the Edam sinned even before they shed blood. Edam was sinning in the years and even generations of people who harbored hatred against Israel. Edam sinned when they would not let it go, when they would not shed their anger. What could they have done. Let's say, Israel was even justly, It was even doing things wrong to them, and they were right to be mad. Without getting into too long a thing on anger, one of the best things that we can learn to do is to give...

...things over to the Lord, to trust him to take care of wrongs, to let him fix injustices. At some point we have to give our the situations in which we're out of control and feeling frustrated about, and we have to give that over to him. And what we can see in this passage is that he is trustworthy to deal with things, even big things like geopolitics and keeping covenants. All right, So that's number one. One reason God condemns them is that they held on to their anger. They cherished their anger perpetually. A number two, they were immoderate and cruel and loved bloodshed again. Verse five tells us that they gave over the people of Israel to the power of the sword in the time of their calamorative calamity. Verse six says you did not hate bloodshed again Amos one eleven. Another part of that verse says that Edam pursued his brother with the sword and cast off all pity. In verse five of chapter six, we read Edam, who gave my land to themselves as a possession, with wholehearted joy and utter contempt, that they might make its pastor lands a prey. There we see joy. She'll use that one right. So there they are having a joy, a bad, evil, wholehearted joy over their possession of a land that wasn't theirs. This um was cruel, immoderate, and it loved things that they ought to have hated. The third thing that God mentions here is theft they took, simply what didn't belong to them. Verse ten is quotes the Eda minds of saying, these two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will take possession of them. And then it adds, although the Lord was there, you're not going to take possession of anything that's the Lord's land. It's not yours. And this was the thing that they were forgetting above all, which leads us to the fourth and final one, and want to point our attention to, and that's pride. It wasn't just Israel that they were against. They were against the Lord. This is not just Israel, another people, another one of the nations. This is the Lord's special possession. This land is the Lord's special possession given to these people, from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob, their brother. They thought that they could take something from God. Verse thirteen says, you magnified yourselves against me with your mouth and multiplied your words against me. I heard it. So this was These were their sins. They were continuous, they were excessive, they were strong, they were unrelenting, They held onto their anger. They loved bloodshed, They were immoderate and cruel. They took what didn't belong to them. And above all, they stood up, and we tried to stand up against the Lord and take what belonged to his what belonged to him um to own what he loved and was his special possession and right. And so as God pronounces his judgment in each of these areas, he is exceedingly fair, exceedingly just. Anger verse eleven. I will deal with you according to the anger and envy that you showed because of your hatred against them. When God comes against edom, he comes against them according to what they have done, according to their anger, according to their envy. Regarding bloodshed, he says uh in verse six, as I live, declares the Lord, I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you. Because you did not hate bloodshed. Therefore blood shall pursue you in verses seven through nine, And I will fill its fill its mountains, the mountains of Edom. With the slain on your hills and in your valleys, and in all your ravines, those slain with the swords shall fall. I will make you a perpetual desolation. Your cities shall not be inhabited. The Lord often works like this. You love bloodshed,...

...you want bloodshed, then this is what you will get. Theft, the Lord says, as you rejoiced over the inheritance of the House of Israel because it was desolate, So I will deal with you. You shall be desolate. Also there is the restoration of Israel. Not only does uh Edom get this just punishment, but Israel has her rightful possessions returned. Not because and again in this wonderful and miraculous way that when the Lord speaks in chapter thirty six to the mountains of Israel, what does he say. He says, Oh, mountains, you will shoot forth with life. It's almost like this new garden of Eden that he describes, a heavenly place even that will in which they will be fruitful and will multiply. Right, echoing that language back at the beginning of creation or again after the judgment. Under Noah, God's people will become this thing that he has always wanted them to be alive and living in him richly and beautifully and finally, pride. We have this repetition of this phrase that has happened so often in his Equiel, and he says it here to Edom and and to Israel's will as well, in all of these punishments and in Israel's salvation. He says this, Then you will know that I am the Lord. That I am, I am that I am the covenant God who took these people out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the land of my own choosing this is God's world. He can do with it what he likes. And he has chosen this people as his special possession, and he has placed them in this land. He has placed them in this place because he is their lord, and he will keep his promises even after they have sinned. Remember how we begin, Israel is not some beautiful, innocent party in all of this, perhaps innocent against the things Edam has done, but not innocent in their sins against the Lord. See the great fairness in the Lord. Just because Israel has fallen and sinned and is under his judgment, that doesn't excuse everyone else to just do whatever they want to Israel. And it also doesn't release him from his own promises that he made to Abraham to Isaac, and to Israel to Jacob. So what does all this teach us about the God of Israel? And yes, even our God, for the God of Israel has become our God through the promised offspring, through Jesus Christ, the true Israel. Paul says in Romans, for that we who put our faith in Jesus are the offspring of Abraham and rightful heirs to the inherited promises. And there he's not speaking of the land, but the greater land that is to come, the new heavens and the new earth, the things to which these things pointed, the inheritance and the promise of love and protection becomes ours at and a glovel even greater than we see in these types and these shadows here in the Old Testament. Our God, the God of Israel, is the same God who is here in these passages. And one thing that we learn about him is that there is that God. Um desires to clarify, to put it very mildly, some very wrong misconceptions. One is that God is not powerful or real. In this passage, we see that he is very powerful, that he is very real if he wants to make a people desolate, whether HiT's judge his own people uh and his special possession and treasure, or judge the peoples of the earth, to which he also has a right to. All the hills are mine. The Lord says he can and he will. Paul says at the beginning of Romans that God's patience and kindness, his long suffering, has a very particular purpose. It's meant to lead us to repentance. When God doesn't judge us immediately for our sins, our reaction is not to be, oh, he doesn't care. Our reaction isn't to be oh he can't do anything. Our reaction should be the Lord is kind. In thinking about anger, the...

...scriptures say often of the anger of God that he is slow to anger, not quick to anger, slow to anger. And likewise, the proverbs and other places tell us that the wise man is slow to anger. It echoes and reflects the character this characteristic of God. God is slow to anger, but that doesn't mean he won't protect what is his. And that's important to remember. God is powerful and he does fulfill this promise. Where is the land of Edom today? It's not here. A second misconception is that God does not love and will not save his people, that He is a breaker of promises, and this is a lie. Despite making clearer covenant promises to them and giving them their blessing his blessings. Sometimes people say, look a God, where is he? And Israel often gave into that lie, and they pursued after worldly things to secure their safety, to secure their wealth. The chariots of Egypt help from Assyria various They looked very to various worldly things, and God says, you don't need to look to those things. The same is true of the Church today. Sometimes the Church is tempted to look to worldly institutions to find our safety, to find our protection. We think that the next election, if we just get it right, will save us and protect us. It won't. Even if all the right people get elected, whoever those are, it won't save us. Wealth won't save us. Um a power won't save us. In fluence won't save us. The only thing that saves us is God. And a lot of times God uses suffering to draw us close to him. We have to look to Him and This is in particularly important when the enemies of the church stand outside and mock and despise, and sometimes kill God's people. There are brothers and sisters in Christ in jails all around the world, people who have been stoned and beheaded for their faith. When the world, in all of its various forms, brings all of its power against the God's people, and God's people start dying, it can be very tempting to fear that. It can be very tempting to look to the world and all of that perceived strength for salvation. But we must not. We must remember passages like this and know that God will judge his enemies. In Revelation, we have a picture of the martyrs crying out to God, Lord, when will there be justice for the blood that has been shed? And he promises that there will be justice. God is not a blind God is not blind to the things that are happening. Yes, he will allow us to suffer sometimes, but He is powerful enough to use that suffering to bless us and advance us. And He is also powerful enough to end that suffering, as he one day promises to do the resurrection of the dead brothers and sisters, one day we will rise from our graves with bodies that cannot die, that no one will be able to harm or do anything, to a kingdom that is already ours, that cannot be shaken, despite what the world tries to do. It's already here. The resurrection has begun. We are standing in Christ on Mountain Zion, a heavenly city. We belong to the Lord. We don't need to be afraid. Even in times of great suffering. God does care. God is using it, and God will set all things right. And one way we see that care and that love is in his anger. As I said before, the scriptures teach us that there are times to be angry, be angry, and do not sin. God does not sin here. And God is angry. And why is he angry? Because he loves us, because he loves his promises, He loves his people, He loves justice. And he hates sin. He...

...hates what it does, he hates how it tears us apart. He hates its evil effects. Just anger and unjust anger are not the same thing. Righteous anger and unrighteous anger are not the same thing. Sinful anger wants what it shouldn't have. Sinful anger is quick, immoderate, cruel, excessive, and doesn't die down. That's not God's anger. God's anger here is slow, perfectly timed, perfectly just, and as he says and throughout the scriptures, quick to forgive. If you're like me, sometimes when you get real riled up, it's kind of hard to forgive quickly. I've said things like I want to, but I'm having a hard time. God's not like that. God doesn't have to cool down, doesn't have to get his heart right. He is quick to forgive. Consider, for example, what the king of Tarsias says, right, this is the king that Jonah goes to the city of Nineveh, this great capital of Assyria, this pagan kingdom. When Jonah goes and preaches, the king says, he prays to the Lord and says, oh, Lord, is this not what I said? Um or sorry? This is what Jonah says. Uh he Jonah says, a Lord, is this not what I said when I was yet in my country. That is why I made haste to flee to Tarsha's for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster. That's what we see and that whole story right. This is God's anger on display, God's steadfast love on his display, and his quick mercy, his relenting from disaster on display. This is who God is. God's anger, unlike unjust and sinful anger, has a good basis, and its basis here is to protect what he loves, and what he loves is us, his people. And what he loves is fairness and justice, and what he loves is forgiveness. Yes, God will come hard against fedom, but in protecting Israel in this way, he makes Israel a light to all the world. He is keeping even in this moment, his big, long term promises that Israel will be a blessing to all of the nations, even Edomites. God promises that through this people and his son that comes out of these people, Jesus, the True Israel, that everyone who turns to him we'll find salvation, will find forgiveness. In fact, Jesus John says, is a propitiation for our sins. He turns aside God's wrath by a sacrifice. God, in keeping his promises, provides himself out of his love so that when we look to him we can have both justice and mercy In the same place on the cross. On the cross, God looks at sin square in the eye and says, enough, it's over. It's done, and he puts to death his own son, who willingly goes out of love and out of obedience, to take on all of our sin and just deal with it once and for all, in such a way that the apostle Paul says to us, for those of us who are in Christ, for those of us who look to the cross, there is no condemnation. There's no condemnation and no punishment for sin, because it's all been taken care of. Justice has been done. Whatever happened to eat them here, in all of the desolation and waste and bloodshed, it doesn't even begin to compare what Jesus endured on the cross when he paid not just for one sin or...

...two sins, or a people sins, but the sins of all his people for all time. God was angry over sin, and God loved us, and that's why he came into the world, and that's why he died on the cross, and that's why we are saved from sin and know that we are protected from it as well as all of God's enemies and ours as will. If God were not angry about sin, we would not be saved. If God didn't do something about that problem. If God did not love us so much that he would send his son into the world to die for sin, to take on and endure wrath and punishment for sin. If God were not powerful enough to act, we would not be saved. We'd still be in our sins, evil people living under an evil king. But none of that happened in God's powerful justice, in his judgment, in his wrath. He poured out all of that on himself because he loved us. Why did he love us, I don't really know, but he did, and he loved us so much that he takes it, takes away that punishment so that we can look to him in every single moment of our lives. Even if we're in a moment where we be area where we are being put in jail or beheaded or burn or torn into or any of the number of things that have happened to the Lord's saints, we can put our faith in Him and know that we have life, eternal life in him, because he is powerful to judge, he is powerful to save, and he is our God who keeps his promises. Let's pray, Lord, God of heaven and Earth, we look to you and not to the hills. When we consider the stars and the sky, the the the great canyons of the earth. As we consider um, your marvelous providence and creation, we see you, We hear you. We see your fingerprints over everything. We hear your voice echoing and resounding through all that you have made. Teach us, then, Lord, not to trust and the things of this world, Not to love idols and foolish things. Not to look anywhere except to You and the cross of Jesus Christ, for the salvation of our souls, the tection and restoration of our bodies, in the building of a kingdom. They will not fall away, beaten up by moths, were lost, but a kingdom that is forever. Lord is citizens of that kingdom. We asked that you would give us confidence each and every day, and whether we find ourselves in a big, dramatic life moment in which we are called upon to testify to our belief even at the cost of our life, or whether we are in a little moment where we are trying to let go of sinful anger, when we are trying to not steal and take things that don't belong to us. When we are fighting our sins of pride and bloodshed. We asked that you would help us to look to you, and that you would be there in that moment, strengthening us, guiding and guiding us, and helping our faith to be strong in you. Lord, We thank you for all of your promises to us. We thank you that you are so much bigger than we could ever imagine, and that we can look to you for safety and protection in all things. And finally, Lord, we give you praise and we adore your name for the forgiveness we have. If it were not for your work for us, if it were not for Jesus's shed blood, we would still be in our sins and under your righteous wrath, your just punishment, not only in this life, but in the life to come and forever. You have saved us though, and you have given rest to our souls. We praise your name and give you thanks. Help us to share this word not only with ourselves...

...in our own hearts, but with all the world that many would see and know of your fast mercy and your abounding love. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

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