Biblegateway Verse of the Day

Divided Loyalties (Ezekiel 17)


By Benjamin H. Liles

          "More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of known Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ--the righteousness from God based on faith" (Philippians 3:8-9, Holman Christian Standard).
          If we consider in Ezekiel 17 that God is telling His people they will be under oath to one foreign king and they will seek protection from another means they will suffer a catastrophic defeat by the first foreign nation. That nation that invaded Israel due to her idolatrous ways of serving different idols (gods) is the nation of Babylon. God explains that Egypt is the other great eagle that will "attempt" to help, but even she will come under destruction.
          What will it take to show we have a need to serve only One? God's desire is for us to choose Him, to be faithful to Him. At the same time however, God cannot and will not be mocked in such a way that He is completely ignored. When His people continually do the wrong, or even evil things, God has a right to discipline those He loves; "For whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights" (Proverbs 3:12, New American Standard).



         A lot of us tend to think God hates the nation of Israel for its sinful ways against Him. But let me ask you honestly here: when you were disciplined for doing wrong was it to keep you from doing wrong again? This is what scripture says on the issue: "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly" (Proverbs 13:24, New King James). In other words if you choose not to take care of your child's discipline problem they run around on you, not caring for any of the values you stand for. However, a parent who rebukes their child in love, showing them their error has a greater chance of their child not falling by the wayside in life.
          According to fathers.com, which has looked into the effects of a family without a father in the mix, these things stand out: Children without a father have a huge chance of being impoverished, are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, suffer from physical and emotional health, don't tend to remain in school (the dropout rate is high), and can turn to a life in crime (The Consequences of Fatherlessness). Quite honestly, we can sit and claim God doesn't exist, and insist He cannot be known, but that is our choice to put Him off, deciding He knows nothing of us, could care less, or even desire to help us when we need it.



          Paul says this, "But when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world" (1 Corinthians 11:32, Berean Study). In other words, we need His correction to show we are His and belong to Him. He loves us too much to simply leave us alone. When we call on Him in our sinfulness, asking Him for His help, letting Him know we're tired of that state of helplessness He doesn't simply just stand by and say, "No, you did it this time; no way am I going to help."
          Rather God comes to our aid, much like He does the Prodigal in Luke 15. He calls us His. He clothes us in His righteousness that is found in Jesus Christ. When we come and call on Him to be ours and we put off the effects of sin and death for faith in the risen Christ, He clothes us )over time) with Him and His word. He commands us to love others as He first loved us. "Love each other as I have loved you" (John 15:12). And if we love Him then our loyalties aren't divided, but if we choose to love something other than Him we are very much divided, and He will do what He can to get your attention.
          Friend, I write this to you tonight to let you know the depth and richness of God's love for you. His desire isn't for you to leave this place without you knowing and claiming Him as yours. Just as He told Nicodemus, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16, New King James). In His love He gave His Son to take your place so you wouldn't have to be separated from the love of the Father ever again. Don't swear allegiance to anything else that could take your life; come to the Father through Jesus Christ and you will find life. "Anyone finding his life will lose it, and anyone losing his life because of Me will find it" (Matthew 10:39, Holman Christian Standard). i pray this over all who read this and come to Jesus Christ. In His name I pray. Amen.