Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 275: Ezekiel 13-14; Psalm 76; II John 1

Ezekiel is continuing to make people uncomfortable. This time, those who face indictment are the prophets (and prophetesses) themselves, those who choose to prophecy by their own will and to their own choice over and against God's will. They choose that which is not truth, either by an intuitive or technical effort and thus lead the people of God away from God and toward all that is not-God. The intuitives? Those who express dreams or visions (as Ezekiel himself is doing), and yet instead of giving the people the Word, they choose a word that suits their purpose. The technicals? Those who interpret dreams, or practice augury and necromancy, choosing to placate and reassure rather than warn and challenge. Men and women, both, are called to account. One of the few times that groups of female as well as male professional prophets are identified in the Bible....and all face indictment.

The charge? Choosing, when given clear direction from God, to indulge the human appetites and desires of Israel and Judah with reassurances that "everything will be OK," or that "there is not problem" when there really is a problem. The legitimacy of the institutionalized religion is peeling away to reveal the truth, that life apart from God is just a thin husk of assumption cloaking a deep brokenness. Ezekiel isn't pronouncing impending judgment, he is explaining to the exiles the "why" of their current state and is attempting to be a conduit of God's continual invitations to get back on the right track.

What do we need to do to get back to that place, you might ask? What technique do we need to practice, to become proficient at in order to reset our intimacy with God?

Simple enough, it turns out: Love one another, loving God. John's letter to the elder lady and her household points to that practice, and to eschewing the cajoling and seductive intimations of the anti-Christs who would draw us away from God and each other by preaching the obverse. Love one another; Love God. Practice and repeat. The rest-if it takes us away from God in Christ is distraction, at best.

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