Sunday, July 3, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - Let Freedom Ring!




This was the painful state of affairs for the Israelites. Overcome by the Babylonians, they had been led away from their precious land, and into virtual slavery under a foreign and oppressive ruler, Nebuchadnezzar (the Biblical account can be found in 2 Kings 24:8-25:30).

Their story isn't one of conquering freedom, or resounding independence.

It's just the opposite.

And yet, into this despairing and seemingly hopeless situation, God raised up a messenger – his chosen prophet, Ezekiel.

Ezekiel gave God's message of judgment on Israel and other nations to the captives in Babylon. And yet, he also brought God's message of hope, salvation, and future restoration. Ezekiel painted a vivid picture of the unchangeable holiness of God.

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is an excerpt of that uplifting message:

"This is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'The people of Israel will again live in their own land, the land I gave my servant Jacob. For I will gather them from the distant lands where I have scattered them. I will reveal to the nations of the world my holiness among my people. They will live safely…they will know that I am the LORD their God.'" (Ezekiel 28:25-26)

There was partial fulfillment of this promise when many Israelites were allowed to return from exile under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. And then, in 1948, the political nation of Israel was re-established as they gained their independence.

However, this promise will have its ultimate fulfillment when Jesus Christ returns to set up His eternal Kingdom. Then, all people who have been faithful to God will dwell together in harmony and complete safety.

These passages brought many thoughts to ponder on the eve of America's Independence Day.

What is the state of our nation?

Are we individually, and as a country, being faithful to God? Are we trusting Him to lead us, to be our moral and spiritual compass?

Are we truly a people, a nation UNDER GOD?

Sometimes we take our freedom for granted. We forget that it was purchased at a great price. Many people have sacrificed their very lives for the privilege of living in a country that declares itself the "land of the free and the home of the brave."

Are we in danger of being blind like the Israelites?

I asked before – what is the state of our nation? But, the more important question is this –

What is the state of our hearts?

Our personal, spiritual, soul salvation was purchased at a great price. There is One who sacrificed His very life for us – to give us the privilege of living in a state of freedom from the slavery to sin.

Are we excusing ourselves from our responsibilities before God? Are we being accountable to God for our choices?

Are we being faithful to the Faithful One?

All of God's promises will be ultimately fulfilled under the rule of the Messiah. He will reveal Himself to the nations of the world. He will gather His faithful ones, the ones He has redeemed, from distant lands. And we will live safely in His glorious presence forever restored to perfect fellowship with Him.

And every knee shall bow, every tongue confess – He is the LORD, the Almighty God.

Let us never take our freedom for granted – and may we take the occasion of Independence Day to once again focus on the values that make America a country that honors "liberty and justice for all."

But let's also examine our hearts – and single-mindedly pursue the One who possesses unchangeable holiness.

Let us re-gain a vision of His glory, a fresh sense of His greatness, and a renewed spirit of devotion and love for Him.

"For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again…Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away…And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart, and give you a tender, responsive heart." (Ezekiel 36:24-26)

(You might also enjoy last year's post - Independence Day!)

"When in doubt, search God out!"


  1. An inspiring Word this morning. Thanks for the topical look at this passage in relation to our weekend festivities. I love remembering that no matter what the price IS paid and I am free under the banner - not of stars and stripes - but of Christ.

    Also - Love your Quote for the Day!

    Have a safe and blessed weekend!

  2. I am so thankful and grateful for our country and I am so fortunate being born here - in this time. But I have to tell you that the state of affairs is one thing I worry and pray about.

    Happy 4th.

  3. I think we definitely do not act like a nation under God. I think we (me) need to pray more for it and need to really take 2 Chronicles 7:14 seriously. Having said that, I know Jesus is working in his perfect timing to redeem back the earth so that we will one day be entirely completely free with him and that will be a joyous day and time! In the meantime, we need to cherish that he has placed us in a land that is free and pray for others persecuted and keep getting his message out!!

    I hope you have a nice Fourth of July Sharon and that it is a restful one!


  4. I am certainly not happy about the state of affairs of our country. I may live in Canada but my heart lies with the USA. I only pray that we can continue to let God lead us as a nation. Have a wonderful 4th of July.

  5. I may leave in Canada, but my heart will alway be with my country of birth. The good old USA. I am not happy of the state of affairs there. I only pray that God will lead it again as it once was. Hope you have a happy 4th of July.

  6. Kathy - What a great honor it is to live under the banner of Christ! His stripes bought us our true freedom!

    Sandie - I think you have summed up my feelings exactly - the mixed feeling of gratefulness to be living in America, and yet the worry of where we're headed. Praying for our country, our leaders, and the hearts of our people.

    Betty - A really insightful comment. The Bible is full of promises for nations that return to faith in God. It's never too late. And yes, I know that God is working ALL things together for His eternal purpose of redeeming the earth. May we continue to put ourselves under His control - individually, and as a country.

    Carrie - The "state of the union" concerns me, too. We must pray, and do what we can as believers to uphold the moral character of our nation.

    I had a nice relaxing 4th of July. I hope that all of you had a great one, too!



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)