OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS!
The beginning of Isaiah Ch 45 is INCREDIBLE
At the end of Isaiah Ch 44 we hear this name, CYRUS
Isaiah 44:28, “...’He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’...”
AND THEN...OH MY GOSH!!
Isaiah 44:28, “...saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’”
Isaiah 45:1, “Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and uncover the loins of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed…”
ALL THESE THINGS!
Cyrus did not exist FOR A LONG TIME
The Lord PROPHESIED that King Cyrus of Persia WOULD COME ALONG
And that not only would he DEFEAT THE NATIONS
The Persians defeated the Babylonians who defeated the Assyrians
He would send the people of Israel BACK TO THE FUTURE!!! No...just kidding 🤪
He would send the people of Israel BACK TO JERUSALEM!!
Jerusalem shall be REBUILT
The Temple foundation shall laid and be REBUILT
THIS IS REALLY INCREDIBLE!
Here is someone, Cyrus, who DOES NOT KNOW THE LORD GOD
He follows HIS OWN gods
He follows HIS OWN THING
Here is God
CYRUS: GOD’S INSTRUMENT
We recognize that GOD CAN USE ALL
EVERYTHING in the world BELONGS TO GOD
EVEN IF PEOPLE DON’T KNOW IT!
EVERYTHING BELONGS TO GOD!!
So there are ways in which God can WRITE THIS STORY WITH CROOKED LINES
And God DOES THIS
GOD WRITES THIS STORY WITH CROOKED LINES
Cyrus is his ANOINTED
He is the one that God has in store to bring the people of Israel OUT OF EXILE and BACK HOME TO JERUSALEM
THIS IS JUST INCREDIBLE!
After this, God has a message to Isaiah about IDOLATRY
We already heard earlier
We keep hearing it A LOT
We go back to Isaiah Ch 44 THE FOLLY OF IDOL WORSHIP
It’s really interesting because Isaiah talks about a tree that grows
It might be an Oak or some other kind of tree
The person takes the trunk of the tree
Part of the trunk is used to cook meals
Part of the trunk is used to make fire so they can warm themselves
Part of the trunk is carved and fashion INTO THEIR OWN GOD
Isaiah basically asks, “Isn’t that just RIDICULOUS? Isn’t that just complete FOOLISHNESS?”
The same tree
The same wood
That is used to warm themselves and cook their food is of the same tree, of the same wood, that they now BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP
THIS IS SO INTERESTING!
All the different ways we can TURN TO IDOLATRY
Isaiah 45:9, “‘Woe to him who strives with his Maker, an earthen vessel with the potter! Does the clay say to him who fashions it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?”
I LOVE THAT IMAGE!
Does the clay say to the potter, “What are you making? Your work has no handles. Listen, it shouldn’t be like this. It should be DIFFERENT.”
THAT IS INCREDIBLE!
How often do we TELL GOD, “Here is how it SHOULD be. Here’s how things SHOULD BE GOING.”
Not only is there FOOLISHNESS about carving a “god” out of wood
But also the FOOLISHNESS like TREATING the TRUE GOD like He is our idol
These are the TWO EXTREMES of idolatry
MAKING A FALSE GOD
TAKING THE REAL GOD AND TREATING HIM LIKE AN IDOL
Like he is our TOY
Like he is our MAGIC WAND
Like he is our MAGIC CRYSTAL BALL
Basically, thinking that we can give God COUNSEL
Basically, thinking that we can CRITICIZE what God does
“What are you doing? Your work has no handles, it should be different.”
IT IS INCREDIBLE THAT WE ALL DO THIS!!
I’m so grateful to the Lord for Isaiah to ILLUMINATE THIS
TO REVEAL THAT THIS IS IN ALL OF OUR HEARTS!
Now on to Ezekiel
Keep in mind that Ezekiel is in the midst of the Exile
There are ways in which these people have suffered
THEY ARE SCATTERED
These images will come up AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN
These are the ways in which MANY people have experienced the CONSEQUENCES OF TURNING AWAY FROM THE LORD
The point of all of this is uttered SO MANY TIMES in Ezekiel Chs 6 and 7
What is it?
After all these things, then they will know that I am the Lord.
Ezekiel 7:27, “...they shall know that I am the Lord.”
God says this through Ezekiel SO MANY TIMES
After EVERYTHING that happens, they will KNOW
We are going to hear this AGAIN AND AGAIN
All of these things that you have ENDURED
All of these things that you have SUFFERED
They are a CONSEQUENCE of your decisions
They are NOT GOD ABANDONING YOU
This is so you will KNOW that GOD IS THE LORD
THE LORD HAS CLAIMED YOU!!
THE LORD WANTS YOU BACK!!
THAT IS SO INCREDIBLE!!
Even after God allows the desolation of the Temple
Ezekiel even talks about this
How people will come into the temple, these are the Babylonians, and they will DESECRATE the Temple
The Babylonians will even go into the secret places in the Temple aka The Holy of Holies
There are THREE PHASES of the Exile
Phase 1: Daniel
Phase 2: Ezekiel
Phase 3: The Babylonians take everyone to Babylon, except the blind, lame, diseased, anyone they didn’t want
That’s when Babylon utterly destroy the city and the Temple
Ezekiel is saying, “God is going to let that happen. God is going to let them desecrate the ACTUAL TEMPLE because YOU HAVE DESECRATED that actual Temple in not giving God the WORSHIP he deserves.”
Does that make sense? 🤔
Here is God who is going to ALLOW this HORRIBLE thing to happen, where his presence ABIDES
Because those who are in charge of taking care of the Temple HAVE NOT TAKEN CARE OF THE TEMPLE
They already DESECRATED it by their FALSE WORSHIP
Remember at the beginning of the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, he had this vision in his 30th year
Ezekiel was a LEVITICAL PRIEST
That means he would have spent his EARLY LIFE training to be a priest
In the very year that he would have SERVED in the Temple, he found himself in EXILE
So there is this horrible weight of grief upon him
At the same time, we heard that Ezekiel would carry the weight of the people
He would carry the sins of the people UPON HIMSELF
This is one of the reasons he is there lying on his side for 390 days PLUS 40
He is bearing the INIQUITY of the people
So here is Ezekiel who still gets to act as a priest
That’s one of the roles of the priest, right?
To deal with the sins of the people
To carry the weight of their iniquity upon himself
That is why JESUS IS THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST
Jesus TRULY and UTTERLY, and FULLY carries the weight of sinful humanity UPON HIMSELF
So Ezekiel gets to participate in this EVEN THOUGH he is not able to give TEMPLE WORSHIP
Ezekiel is able to participate in the ACTION OF THE TEMPLE
Which is that SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF
Which is that SACRIFICE OF ATONEMENT
Which is that SACRIFICE OF TAKING THE WEIGHT OF THE SINS OF THE PEOPLE UPON HIMSELF!
That’s an INCREDIBLE WAY in which God still does fulfill Ezekiel’s priesthood, even though he was not able to WORSHIP in the actual Temple as God had asked.
Ezekiel was able to do it AS HE WAS ABLE
That is a REMARKABLE THING for all of us to recognize
As we have been BAPTIZED, we are anointed PRIEST, PROPHET, and KING/QUEEN
God allows us to fulfill the role that he has set aside for us that he has commissioned us to fill
So if this is one of the WORST days or WORST seasons of your life, know that you are FULFILLING, you CAN FULFILL, you have the ABILITY TO FULFILL that call to be PRIEST, PROPHET, or KING/QUEEN every moment of every day of our lives
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE