Read Ezekiel 8
Focus on verse 3 and 10
Have you ever had one of those really vivid dreams where you wake up and as you attempt to recall the dream you realize that though it made sense while you were dreaming when you try to piece it together in daylight it just seems freaky and weird? There are times when I have had dreams like this that I have thought made enough sense to possibly mean something, there are other times when I’m fairly certain it is just the ham steak and cranberry sauce that I had for night lunch having trouble finding its way through my digestive system.
In today’s reading Ezekiel has a legitimate vision that actually does mean something, but it has all the qualities of a strange midsummer nightmare. It begins with a vision of what appears to be a human form but from the waist down it looks like fire, while above the waist the image gleams like molten metal. This human like figure then stretches out a hand and takes Ezekiel by the hair, transporting him to what appears to be the temple in Jerusalem. At the temple he is instructed to dig into the wall where he finds and entrance to an inner chamber. Then he writes, “So I went in and saw. An there, engraved on the wall all around, was every form of creeping things and loathsome beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel. And before them stood seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel.” (v. 10-11a) These elders were offering incense to these detestable beasts!
It is as though God is attempting to present His case to Ezekiel to justify the coming destruction of Israel. The chapter ends with a frightening declaration on the part of God when he says, “Therefore, I will act in wrath. My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. And though they cry in my ears with loud voice, I will not hear them.” (v. 18) This is frightening because it appears to indicate that God can be pushed to a point of no return. There are plenty of places in scripture that speak of God’s love and mercy, where His patience and grace is extended to include even the vilest offenders, yet here it seems as though these people have provoked Him to the point where even if they did cry out to him for forgiveness He would not listen.
If there is a point where God says to us “now it is too late” where is that line? How does one know if they have or have not crossed it?
I would propose that thorough study of New Testament scripture would indicate that for us now that line might be the end of our life on earth. As along we have life and breath we can call out to Jesus for forgiveness and God will hear and respond. If, however, we should happen to die shaking our fist at God, it would seem we would be required to bear the consequence of our rebellion just as the people of Israel did. I have met people who appear to be gambling on having time at some point in the misty future to “get right with God” before they die. This seems like a needless and careless gamble to me since we do not know what tomorrow will bring. By God’s grace it will bring another day of prosperity and blessing for each of us, but I have no guarantee that I will not die in my sleep tonight, in which case it would be too late for me to get right with God in the morning. It is for this reason that my sincere plea to anyone reading this who has not yet made that choice to repent and submit to God. Unless you seriously want to spend eternity experiencing something worse than the nightmare on Ezekiel Street in eternity, then the best time to make that choice is right now!