Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Spirit helps us

The OT reading for today was from Ezekiel 2:1-5. That is the call of Ezekiel to be a prophet of God to the people of Israel. Was amazing how that fit so well with the 4th of July weekend. Ezekiel was to go and preach to the people of Israel, a nation that was rebellious and stubborn. Sounds a lot like the people of America. We are people who know right from wrong and often chose wrong. We know how God would have us live and often, in our sinful stubbornness, we refuse to do what God tells us. We do that as individuals and we do that as a nation. Perhaps at another time, we can talk about it. Such things as same sex marriage, abortion, misuse of power, hatred, anger and a whole host of other sins we stubbornly hold onto in the face of what God says to us. Ezekiel is the prophet is Israel. God's Word and His men (called pastors) are the prophets to the US today. We must say, "Thus says the Lord" and focus on what the Lord has said in His Word.

But my thoughts are not about that aspect of what the reading from Ezekiel. Instead I was looking at Ezekiel 2:2 which talks about what happens for the son of man who is to be the mouthpiece of God to the people. The Lord tells him to stand upon his feet for He has something to say to him. The problem - Ezekiel was unable to do it. We are told that the Spirit lifted him to his feet and set him before the Lord.

I thought about it and it reminded me of something that Luther wrote. "I cannot by my own reason or strength, believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to Him. But the Holy Spirit has called me by the gospel..." Ezekiel is placed upon his feet by the Spirit. We, too, people who need to hear the Word of God, who need the power of the Lord in our lives, are unable to bring ourselves into that relationship with the Lord. We cannot stand upon our own feet. We cannot bring ourselves to listen to the Word of God or understand it. We name it and we cannot do it.

We need the Holy Spirit to bring us to the Lord. We need Him to set us on our feet. He does that through the Means of Grace (your remember them, don't you? Word and Sacraments). He opens our ears as we hear the Word read. Opens our eyes as we read it for ourselves. Opens our hearts that are hardened by sin. Like Ezekiel He prepares us to serve Him and guides us as He opens our lives to live for Him.

1 comment:

  1. My wife just showed me your blog. I (we) will continue to follow your writings. The patriotic service was outstanding, this morning!