The Lord is with us - 23 June 2020

By Ben Fourie

The Book of Ezekiel ends with these dramatic words. Yahweh Shammah, the Lord is here. I have never seen so many entries on social media and the like as in the past month or two. Video clips, voicemail, WhatsApp messages and pictures of ministers and singers bringing messages of hope abounded in these dark times. One is glad that there are still so many believers. On the other hand, there were and still are those who ask the age-old question: Where is God in a time like this? A question like this demands an answer from every one of us, not only as an answer to those asking the question, but also as an answer to ourselves.

The time of Ezekiel’s ministry had been just before, and also during, the exile. The greater part of God’s people were in exile far from their country and the minority who was left in Judah lived in desperate circumstances. Jerusalem was demolished, her strong walls broken down, and worst of all, the temple was razed to the ground. All the things that made them feel secure were gone.

For the Jews, Jerusalem and the temple were central to their being. Suddenly, there was nothing left. So they asked the question: Where is God? The prophet provided the answer. God was already present and busy putting everything in place for their return from exile to their country and to Jerusalem. The temple would be built up again, sacrifices would be made to the Lord as in days gone by, everything would be normal again and God would be there.

We are so vulnerable when the walls that we see as protection suddenly vanish. Terminal illness, losing one’s job, divorce, the death of a loved one, financial loss or coronavirus: it does not matter which. The things that I cannot control make me anxious, make me feel as though I am caught in a desert of exile. When we feel that we are alone, anxious, without control – remember what Ezekiel said to the people in exile: The LORD is here.

Prayer: Lord, I want to confess today that so many things that seem to give me security are nothing more than a handful of sand. Thank you that the security that You offer me reaches into eternity, because You are here with me now and forever. Amen

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