So now the LORD God proclaims: I myself am now against you! I will impose the case law penalties on you in the sight of the nations.
Though he had called together a chosen people, and though he had made Jerusalem the place of his temple, and though he had promised to glorify this holy city, the Israelites, including those in Jerusalem, had steadfastly refused to honor the Lord. They rejected his laws and preferred to worship idols. Even though God reached out to them and urged them to change their ways, they repeatedly rejected him. So, finally, God changed sides, if you will. He had always been “for” his people, on their side. Now he was “against” them, their opponent. Now God would pour out the judgment on his people that he had promised would await if they were persistently unfaithful.
As we read through the rest of Ezekiel 5, as well as many chapters yet to come, we realize just how horrifying it is for God to be against us. As I suggested earlier, this is the worst news one could ever hear.
The more we reflect on what life would be like without God and his grace, the more we consider that we have made ourselves God’s enemies by our sin (Rom 5:10), the more we are prepared to hear the best news we could every hear. It comes in the eighth chapter of Romans, as the Apostle Paul unpacks the wonders of God’s grace: “So what are we going to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He didn’t spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. Won’t he also freely give us all things with him?” (Rom 8:31-32). Because we are sinners, God is against us. But because of his boundless grace, grace that is “greater than all our sin,” God offered his own Son to take upon himself all of our “againstness.” Through Christ, though God is against our sin, he is always for us, always on our side, always seeking our best.
How might you live differently today if you truly believed that God was for you?
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Indeed, how would you? Do you really believe that God wants the best for you? Why or why not?
PRAYER: Gracious God, in your holiness, you can have no part of sin. You are “against” sin. In your justice, you condemn all unrighteousness. You are “against” unrighteousness. Thus, as a sinner, I am in effect your enemy. Thus, you are “against” me.
But you did not leave me in my state of opposition to you. You did not abandon me in my sin. You did not make me bear the just penalty for my sin. Rather, by your grace, you took my sin upon yourself in Christ, who chose my “againstness” so that you might always be “for” me. How I thank you for the wonder of your grace, for the depth of your love.
O Lord, may I live today in light of the fact that you are for me. May I be for you in all that I do: in my decisions at work, in my daydreams, in my interactions with my family, in my choices about how to spend my time and money. May I be for you, Lord, in all things, at all times.
I pray through Christ my Lord, Amen.