Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I Sat Where They Sat

"And I came to the exiles at Tel-abib, who were dwelling by the Chebar canal, and I sat where they were dwelling. And I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days. And at the end of seven days, the word of the LORD came to me: 'Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.' " - Ezekiel 3:15-17 ESV

Seven often speaks of completion in the scriptures. It is full cycle of days. It was the same time that took to create the world which is amazing to think about. I know people see creation as really being an extended time frame in that order.

"But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." - 2 Peter 3:8 ESV

Then the evolutionist rationalizes further and stretches the thousand into millions.

The bottom line to me is that the language in Genesis is literal. The bible uses figurative language elsewhere but if we translate literal language literally the scripture often turns from a two dimensional understanding into a three dimensional one.

'Sitting seven days' speaks of full identification because the writer has seen the process of life there in Chebar. He is no tourist. He has seen people work and rest. He has seen them for a week and let's face it... most weeks look like every other week for most people.

Notice God calls Ezekiel 'Son of Man' in these passages. Jesus took that title also.

"But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins - he then said to the paralytic - 'Rise, pick up your bed and go home.' And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men." - Matthew 9:6-8 ESV

Ezekiel sat by a river 7 days and God made him into watchman. Jesus stayed with us as a person for 30 years. Ezekiel sat for a full cycle with a people group and God gave him a commission to warn them. Jesus was with us for a lifetime and this singular fully divine man had the authority to forgive us. Part of His forgiveness was His full identification.

I think we are limited in our ability to forgive if we have not fully identified with a person. In our wrong perceptions we forgive imaginary crimes. Until we have walked in a person's shoes how can we possibly know how they live?

We spoke to a man on outreach this weekend. He had a large half empty bottle of vodka in his front pocket. At first glance you might think that the booze was his problem but we have spoken to him before and this week he really opened up to us. He told us his wife and daughter were driving in from Virginia that Saturday night. She wanted the 'to be family again'. We said, 'That is amazing. Why don't we pray and pour the rest of that bottle out in the gutter right here. This is a wonderful chance at restoration.' But he took a few steps back and tapped the bottle saying, 'I won't lie. I'm gonna drink the rest of this. Two of my friends died this week and I'm going to a wake this afternoon.' we said, 'One of our friends died also.'

We prayed with Him and the conversation ending with him wandering away and getting involved with a young strung out girl on the street who knew him and asked him for 2 dollars to buy a hair net for a job. He wasn't ready to give that bottle up yet. He wasn't ready to be a family again. Pouring that bottle out and driving back with them was to much for him to think about. My heart breaks for him and his wife and daughter. He isn't some drunk stumbling down the street to me anymore. He has a story and I learned just a bit of it when I sat with him for a few minutes one sunny day on Eastern Avenue in Baltimore.

Jesus came to forgive sins. The Son of Man has that power. We have been commissioned also. It is a commission that brings healing for those that will receive the gift. God sent His Son to identify and pay for sin. He send us to tell people that they are forgiven. We won't know the depths of that forgiveness unless we identify also.


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