12The word of the Lord came to me: 13 “Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its people and their animals, 14even if these three men-Noah, Daniel and Job-were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord.” (Ezekiel 14:12-14)
Good morning Friends! I hope y’all had a great Labor Day weekend, resting and enjoying the extended holiday. I ‘labored’ all weekend, as I usually do. Spending the majority of my adult life working in the grocery retail industry, the Labor Day holiday was our last big holiday of the summer, so I always spent this long weekend at work. This year, like last, the work I have been doing is drastically different and much more rewarding. I did have most of Monday off, once I woke up from a short nap. The rest of the day was spent enjoying the company of my family, taking the kids to lunch at a park, playing on playgrounds, trying to work on their soccer skills, giving my wife and my vehicle a much needed bath, and ending the day with a traditional BBQ. It was a busy day, full of the right kind of business. We ended the day with a heartfelt, grateful prayer to God for all our blessings He has bestowed us with.
I know not everyone is as unfortunate as we are in this season of their life. There are many of us that work in low paying jobs in the retail and food industries that labored away this weekend, waiting and serving the more affluent in our society. I just hope that every walk of life in our social tiers acknowledges how blessed we are as Americans and praises God for all the blessings He shows the people of this nation, each and everyday.
You may have noticed I have been dropping a post almost everyday in September. This is due to us being in my favorite Old Testament book and coming across at least one verse every day when I sit down and dive into Ezekiel. In the two chapters of the Book of Ezekiel we read today, you will come across an interesting set of name drops in Chapter 14. The Prophet Ezekiel states that God describes His coming judgement on Jerusalem for their idolatry, and that even if “Noah, Daniel and Job” were living in Jerusalem, only those three men were righteous enough to be saved. I found this surprising for two reasons. First, God (according to Ezekiel) states Noah and Job are among the most righteous men of the Israel people. Not the father of the Jewish and Islamic faith (Abraham), not Moses, not the famed King David, or the wise King Solomon. So how did Noah and Job live differently to garner God’s attention as the most righteous men in Israel’s line? And who is this Daniel fellow?
I’ll start with Noah. We all know the story of Noah and the Ark. What is special about Noah is that he never second guessed God’s plan for Him or the instructions Noah knew were coming directly from God. So not only was Noah a righteous man, he was completely obedient to God’s plan for Him. Noah’s only slight against his character was he liked to get drunk and naked in his golden years. I can relate to this, so I get it, and it gives me hope for all the years I spent in a drunken, naked stupor. I am kidding. Somewhat. But, yeah, Noah was a pretty stand up guy. And then we have Job, who remained grateful and loyal to God, even when God allowed the devil to take everything Job had away from him. The story of Job is a reminder to us all that God will always reward us for our faithfulness, and to remain faithful through all of life’s turmoil. As I touched on earlier in the year when we read Job, I am not a big fan of that story because I know that God does not allow the devil to harm His beloved children just to test their faith. But finally, who is “Daniel?” Well, if you remember your Bible stories as a kid, you probably are familiar with the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. However, if this is your first time reading the Bible, we have not been introduced to Daniel yet, if this is the Daniel God is referring to, or even the correct spelling of the name Daniel. There appears to be some discussion and “controversy” over the name drop of Daniel here in Ezekiel. Some scholars argue over the spelling as Danel, who is a completely different man in world history. Click on the links above to read some of that. I am going to believe the NIV translation and that God is referring to Daniel, a prophet that is living in the time of Ezekiel, who we will learn about later in the month.
Bottom line is this: we should all “labor” to be considered as righteous as the three men God listed to Ezekiel, obedience of Noah and Daniel, and the unwavering faithfulness of Job. Or just follow the example of Jesus, because He is the ultimate example of the work we need to be doing in this life.
UPPERROOM released a beautiful new single on Friday titled “Give Me Jesus.” You can hear it by clicking below. I wish you all a blessed day and week. Also, click here to get in on Mrs. Z’s “Do Better” challenge for this week!
Reading plan: Philemon
Deeper reading plan: Ezekiel 13, 14