DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2020-10-10
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL
BIBLE REFERENCE: Ezekiel 18:5–9
TRANSLATION: Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
BIBLE TEXT: 5 But if a man is [uncompromisingly] righteous (upright and in right standing with God) and does what is lawful and right, 6 And has not eaten [at the idol shrines] upon the mountains nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, has not defiled his neighbor’s wife nor come near to a woman in her time of impurity, 7 And has not wronged anyone but has restored to the debtor his pledge, has taken nothing by robbery but has given his bread to the hungry and has covered the naked with a garment, 8 Who does not charge interest or percentage of increase on what he lends [in compassion], who withholds his hand from iniquity, who executes true justice between man and man, 9 Who has walked in My statutes and kept My ordinances, to deal justly; [then] he is [truly] righteous; he shall surely live, says the Lord God.[Ezek. 20:11; Amos 5:4.]
OBSERVATION: I know that New Testament believers will try to rightfully steer us towards aligning ourselves with the New Covenant, Jesus Christ, but after reading this Scripture in Ezekiel, I still asked myself the question: But what is it that constitutes a righteous man? Well, it still all boils down to being the man who is faithfully obedient to the Word of God and who follows the practice and commands of Jesus Christ. Let’s look closer at this today, and ask God to direct our paths so that others may see the righteousness of our Lord and Savior in us.
APPLICATION: God gave the writers of the Bible His Godly influence, and He ordained them to pen the Words that God wanted His people to understand and follow until the day He calls us home to glory. So although I know that these words were written for the Israelites at a time that it was difficult to discern a righteous person whom the unsaved might relate to a life after God’s own heart, yet I also believe that these words by the prophet Ezekiel were penned with us in mind as well. For those who have been active in church life, you have probably seen just as I have, where people who struggle with a bad period in their life, might enter the back doors of the church, walk forward for salvation, and possibly even baptism, only to disappear from the church scene within a very short time, never to be heard of again. Were they saved? Only God knows that for sure. But are they living a righteous life that will influence an unbeliever? Not very lightly. There is a simple analogy given about people that follow this pattern: A pastor went to visit one such parishioner who had not attended church in a while. They sat down by the fire and the conversation was very strained. The pastor eased up by the fire and moved a vital piece of charcoal away from the fire and placed it aside. Soon the glow diminished in that piece of charcoal, and eventually it went cold. The unfaithful parishioner had no reason to question the pastor why he did such a thing, because the Holy Spirit immediately helped the man to understand that the analogy precisely patterned his life, for his spiritual fire had gone out. So he promised the pastor that he would see him at the next Sunday service! Friends, that part of the story is very revealing, but don’t you also know that the glow in several of the remaining chunks of charcoal also dimmed, because they lacked the warmth and encouragement of the missing piece? We who are called by His name, are vitally connected to others who are also called by His name. When our glow diminishes, not only are the unbelievers affected because they see no righteous men among the church, but we also leave a dampness on the remaining believers that we were helping. When we accept Jesus as Lord, it’s because we want to have Him change us from the inside out, so that we might look, sound and imitate Him in this dark and sinful world. You see, our reward is Heaven. While still here on earth, we serve a vital and important role – to convince those in our circle of influence that they also need Jesus, so that together we may walk through heaven’s portals one day and live forever with the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. So let me encourage you to help me live righteously while still here on earth, while I try and do the same for you, God being our Helper, Guide and Deliverer until He is ready to have us join Him in glory!
PRAYER: Faithful Father, Jesus my Lord, thank You for showing Yourself righteous and being an example for us to follow. Thank You for the saints You sent on ahead to teach us Your values and show us Your ways. If we are truly Your children, then we must be righteous just like You are. Thank You for this Scripture today that gives us great truth into the values that make a man look righteous. Please fill us with so much of Yourself, that these values will bubble forth from us each and every day. May the righteous be encouraged and warmed by our righteousness, and may the unsaved be convinced by seeing You lived out in us. Please touch the lives of those who will read this devotional today, oh Lord. May we all strive for Your control to bring forth righteousness in us. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!