Ezekiel 36:16-38; James 1:9-18; Psalms 115:1-10; Proverbs 24:21-22
OT: ““Therefore, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord God says: It is not for your sake that I will act, house of Israel, but for my holy name, which you profaned among the nations where you went. I will honor the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations — the name you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am the Lord — this is the declaration of the Lord God — when I demonstrate my holiness through you in their sight. “‘For I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances. You will live in the land that I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ezekiel 36:22-28 CSB)
Over the years, the nation of Israel turned away from trusting the Lord God to trusting in just about everything but God. They placed their trust in idols, they placed their trust in other nations. Their rejection of God defiled the land and profaned the name of the Lord. As a result, God brought judgement on the nation and the people of Israel were carried off into exile. Even in exile, the people of Israel did not turn from their sin and continued to profane God’s name in the nations where they were held captive. The Hebrew word for profane means to dishonor, treat as common, defile and desecrate. Israel’s call was to honor the name of the Lord throughout the earth and bring the nations to Him. They were doing the exact opposite. Despite Israel’s failure and seeming inability to honor God, God would see to it that His name be honored among the nations.
Usually, when someone wants glory, they earn it through defeating those who demean them… by showing their overwhelming destructive power. Even now, nations hold military parades to boast of their power to destroy and annihilate anyone who stands in their way. God, however, said that He would bring honor to His name, not by destroying, but by showing mercy and grace – not by annihilating, but by redeeming and restoring. God would bring glory to His name and display His holiness to the nations by bringing a desecrated, defiled, and otherwise dead people back to life. He would completely cleanse them, give them a new heart and spirit, fill them with His life, and give them the ability to follow His statutes, observe His ordinances and live the life He had called them to live. Then, as His redeemed people lived impossible lives of holiness by His grace, He would be glorified and honored throughout the world.
NT: “Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God,” since God is not tempted by evil, and he himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. By his own choice, he gave us birth by the word of truth so that we would be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:12-18 CSB)
The crown of life is given to those who come to faith in Christ and remain faithful to Christ until the end. Along the way, there will be trials that will test your faith and tempt you to trust anyone and anything but God. It is those who endure in faith that will be blessed. That being said, it is important to understand that God is not trying to cause people to fall out of faith. God is not the one sending temptations. God desires to keep us in Him and see us remain faithful to the end. The enemy of our soul is the one who wants to see us fail. He is the one who places temptations in our way. The devil knows our weaknesses and does all to draw us away by our desires – away from trust and obedience in God and into sin, which eventually leads to death. God is not the author of temptation. God is the source of grace. God is not the lord of darkness. God is the Father of Lights. God does not create evil. God only gives what is good. As the source of all good things, it was God who gave us new birth… who gave us salvation and redemption from sin… who made a way for us to be made righteous through faith in His Son… who graces us with every good spiritual gift so that we can withstand every temptation and endure every trial to the end. Our failures do not bring God glory. It is as we walk in the salvation that He provided and in the grace that He supplies by faith that His name is glorified in the earth. Let us then fully receive all that He has for us and submit to His ways which lead us out of temptation and into life.
Psalms: “Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory because of your faithful love, because of your truth. Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in heaven and does whatever he pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. They have hands but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk. They cannot make a sound with their throats. Those who make them are just like them, as are all who trust in them. Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and shield. House of Aaron, trust in the Lord! He is their help and shield.” (Psalms 115:1-10 CSB)
As we refuse to place our trust in idols (whatever or whomever those idols may be) and place the fullness of our trust in the Lord God and His Son Jesus Christ, we bring honor and glory to His name among all the nations of the earth. Why should the unbelieving peoples of the world doubt the existence of God due to our lack of faith? Instead, let us as the redeemed people of God, place the fullness of our faith in Him and cause His name to be glorified throughout the world once again.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You bring glory to Your name, not through destruction, but through everlasting life and light. Thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You and is available in You by faith. Help me to walk, not in my own way and according to my desires, but in the fullness of the grace and life You provide to me, that above all, Your name would be glorified and praised. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
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