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August 29 Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 30-32
“They shall tremble at every moment, every man for his own life.”
In these three chapters (Ezekiel 30-32), everything is judgment. The Lord God strengthened the arms of Babylon to destroy Egypt and Pharaoh. These days of judgment are called “the time of the heathen.” What more accurate name could be found to describe the day in which we live? Truly, this dark and cloudy day is “the time of the heathen”. — “Thus saith the Lord God; Howl ye, Woe worth the day!” (Ezekiel 30:2)
By everything done in time, in every dispensation of providence, the Lord God our God is accomplishing his sovereign, eternal purpose. That which he purposed he does. All that he spoke in his eternal decree he will do in time. When we see the Lord Jehovah going forth to punish the nations of the world by famine, disease, pestilence, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and wars, we should always look upon these things as very solemn declarations of both God’s justice and his sovereignty. In these chapters, the Lord God tells us that these judgments of providence fall upon the nations of the world because of their rebellion against God and their ill-treatment of his people.
By providential judgments, men are made to tremble; but believing men and women should bow and worship, not tremble. Oh, that God would teach me and give me grace more humbly to bow before the just and all-wise execution of his eternal purpose! It is God’s jealousy for his people that brings judgment upon the nations of the world. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” All God’s judgments upon the nations of the world (raising up one against another, strengthening Babylon to destroy Egypt, etc.) are performed for the everlasting good of his Israel, the “holy nation,” the church of God’s elect. Knowledge of this fact should be sufficient for us in all things to bow and worship with Eli of old, saying, “It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good.”
God’s church is well described as “the people (that) dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Numbers 23:9). We cannot read of God’s judgments upon the nations without being struck with astonishment at his tenderness to Israel. Israel, representing his elect, the Israel of God, we are repeatedly told, was as guilty as all the other nations. Yet, God spared Israel, protected Israel, preserved Israel, punished other nations for Israel, and saved Israel from the wrath of all nations. These things were done in history, and are recorded here in the Book of God to show us pictures of God’s distinguishing mercy and sovereign goodness toward and upon us in Christ. God’s Israel is a people who dwell alone, isolated by everlasting love and electing grace from all the nations of the earth in the eternal purpose of our God. We dwell alone, separated from all other people, being purchased out of every nation, kindred, tribe, and tongue, by the sin-atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. And we are a people who dwell alone, separated from the nations of the world by the grace and power of God the Holy Ghost in regeneration and effectual calling.
To you, our great God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, we bow this day and give you thanks. And we beg of you, give us grace to trust your wise, unerring providence at all times. Amen.