READ Ezekiel 15: 1--20:44
SITUATION God intended to destroy Jerusalem for its idolatry and rebellion. He compared the idol-worshiping city to a useless vine. God told Ezekiel that he would burn the city into a charred stalk.
OBSERVATION Lack of faith leads to disaster.
INSPIRATION During the reign of Oliver Cromwell, the British government began to run low on silver for coins. Lord Cromwell sent his men on an investigation of the local cathedrals to see if they could find any precious metal there. After investigating, they reported: The only silver we could find is in the statues of the saints standing in the corners.
To which the radical soldier and statesman of England replied: Good! We'll melt down the saints and put them into circulation!
Not bad theology for a proper, strait-laced, Lord Protector of the Isles, huh? In a few words the direct order states the essence...the kernel...the practical goal of authentic Christianity. Not rows of silver saints, highly polished, frequently dusted, crammed into the corners of elegant cathedrals. Not plaster people cloaked in thin layers of untarnished silver and topped with a metallic halo. But real persons. Melted saints circulating through the mainstream of humanity. Bringing worth and value down where life transpires in the raw...
It's easy to kid ourselves. So easy. The Christian must guard against self-deception. We can being to consider ourselves martyrs because we are in church twice on Sunday---really sacrificing by investing a few hours on the "day of rest." Listen, my friend, being among the saints is no sacrifice...it's a brief, choice privilege. The cost factor occurs on Monday or Tuesday....and during the rest of the week. That's when we're melted down and put into circulation." That's when they go for the jugular. And it is remarkable how that monotonous work-week test discolors many a silver saint. "Sunday religion" may seem sufficient, but is isn't...
Doing battle in the streaming jungle calls for shock troops in super shape. No rhinestone cowboys can cut it among the swamps and insects of the gross world system. Sunday-go-to-meetin' silver saints in shining armor are simply out of circulation if that's the limit of their faith. Waging wilderness warfare calls for sweat...energy...keen strategy...determination...a good supply of ammunition...willingness to fight....refusal to surrender, even with the elephants tromping on your airhose.
And that is why we must be melted! It's all part of being "in circulation." Those who successfully wage war with silent heroism under relentless secular pressure---ah, they are the saints who know what it means to be melted. (From Encourage Me by Charles Swindoll)
APPLICATION If you melted down to your essence, what impurities would you find? Think of one area of weakness and work this week to become faithful where once you were faithless. Trust God to supply your needs.
EXPLORATION Following Christ -- Mark 8:34-38; John 8:12; 10:27; Romans 15:5.
The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus - Max Lucado General editor; New Century Version, Thomas Nelson Bibles
By SIMPLY DIVINE LOVE on Thursday, August 14, 2008