Home > Miscellaneous > Believing What God Says and Believing What God Says

Believing What God Says and Believing What God Says

I know what you’re thinking, “Jeremiah, you’re being redundant again. Why don’t you just go make one of your extensive lists of nearly synonymous adjectives?” Well, first off, that’s a good idea because I really haven’t done it lately. And in my incapacity to describe the wondrous glory of the kingdom of God in a manner that even approximates it, lists of positive adjectives are the next best thing. However, I will not do that now. The difference between believing what God says and believing what God says is simply the way of thinking about a personal revelation from that sometimes discomforting old book called the B.I.B.L.E.

I believe what God says. Oh, You love me? Got it. Believe that. You died for my sins? Sure thing Jesus. You want me to live a good life marked by love for You and love for others? I trust that. That sounds good and I absolutely believe that is what you want and that is the best way to live. I believe You’re good. I believe that what You want for my life is what is best and I am determined to live accordingly. I believe You mean what You say and say what You mean and that doing what You ask of me is always good and it only makes sense to obey You.

Then Ezekiel comes along and reminds me of my unbelief. You know what God told that crazy son of a bitch to do?

“Now, son of man, take a clay tablet, put it in front of you, and draw the city of Jerusalem on it… Erect siege works against it… It will be under siege and you will lay siege to it… Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the house of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. I have assigned the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the house of Israel.

After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side and bear the sin of the house of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days… I will tie you up with ropes so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have finished the days of your siege…

Eat the food as you would a barley cake; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel* (Ezekiel 4:1-12).”

Really YHWH? Scratch a city on a rock, then build toy battering rams to simulate it being under siege? Okay. I understand that metaphor has some communicative power. Then lie on your side for a total of 430 days. Um. Isn’t that a little overboard? That can’t be healthy. Ever hear of bed sores? And You’re going to tie me up so I can’t even move if I want to? Eat food cooked in my own poop? Uh… this really doesn’t sound like the most effective way to exhort Israel to repentance. I caught myself reading this passage somewhat critically of God’s persuasive tactics and thinking, “I would never do something like this.” Uh oh.

Why was Ezekiel so quick to obey? I think the key is in something God said to him previously, “When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin and I will hold you accountable for his blood (Ezekiel 3:18).” Ezekiel actually believed what God said, that Zeke would be accountable for someone else’s death if he did not warn the person of its imminence. You know what? If I truly believed that I would be accountable for the consequences of someone else’s sin, I would lie on my side for that long too, bed sores, poor diet, and all.

What scares me is that I don’t know if I would believe God. I believe what God says, but when his words seem absurd and it requires I sacrifice so much and be so incredibly bored for so long, it seems like it would be much more convenient to pretend I was hearing things or going crazy or engaging in self-delusion. And what I feel in my soul when I think about these things is a deep conflict. I want to be a man who hears and obeys instantaneously; meanwhile I want to be a man who never lies on his side for 430 days or does anything like that. Dear Jesus please defeat in me any desire for anything but Your will done in me and through me, even to the point of eating shitty food whilst dealing with boredom and bed sores.

 
 

*Ezekiel ends up, on grounds of ritual cleanness, convincing God to let him use animal excrement instead. Still…

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Categories: Miscellaneous
  1. Joel Morgan
    October 18, 2010 at 7:57 am

    I hear you. The uncomfortable doesn’t always drive me to believe more.

    “Dear Jesus please defeat in me any desire for anything but Your will done in me and through me, even to the point of eating shitty food whilst dealing with boredom and bed sores.”

  2. October 18, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    That’s a crazy story.

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