Chapters six and seven of Ezekiel are detailed warnings to the Israelites. It lays out very specifically what will happen to them because of their sins against God. Seven times in these two chapters, the description of destruction is followed with the phrase (or something similar), “then they will know I am God.” The Israelites had lost sight of who God is because of their focus on money and idols. They gave all their attention to these things and forgot the true God. As God shared the prophesy with Ezekiel, we see that the root of the Israelites’ problem is that they no longer know God and need a reminder of who he is. God had a very drastic reminder ready for them: surely, death and destruction would remind them of God’s power and judgement — then they will know he is God.
When we examine our lives today, what evidence is there that we know God. When an outsider looks at the way we live our lives, will he or she see something different? Or will they see just another member of society; another image of the typical: someone who works hard to make money to support a family, someone who jumps through the hoops of the world to be accepted by friends, neighbors, co-workers; someone who falls prey to “worshipping” the idols of the world (wealth and fame); someone who has conformed to the world. If that is what an outsider sees, that’s what God sees in our hearts as well. What if he feels the need to remind us exactly who God is? Like the Israelites, we are deserving of those harsh reminders of who God really is. Thankfully, though, God reminds us who he is by turning us to the cross. As we gaze upon the wooden cross, we understand who God is: an angry and jealous God who wants all of us, a God who is angered by our sins and desires to punish us for them. We also see a God who willingly watched his son suffer and die on that cross so that we may be forgiven and know that he is God.
Titus 2:11-12 states, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” When we know who God is and accept his gift of salvation, we will live in a different way. Outsiders will notice our unworldly behavior and think, “She must know God.” The rebellious Israelites needed a reminder of who God is. Our rebellious nation needs the same reminder. The grace of the cross reminds us who God is and urges us to live our lives in service to him. When we say “‘No’ to ungodliness and earthly passions,” others in this rebellious nation may notice; we can be the reminders of who God is: a just God who punished sin by punishing his own son that we might live eternally with him.
Thank you Lord for the cross. Thank you for the sacrifice that reminds us that you are God. Though we are deserving of the harsh reminders given to the Israelites, you have chosen to forgive us for straying from you and our foolish ways. Lord, help me be reminded by the cross that you are God and help me to look only to you for the truth. Please use my life to show others that you are God and point them towards you.