A Visionary Journey to Jerusalem
Open Your Bible
Ezekiel 8:1-18, Ezekiel 9:1-11, Isaiah 26:20-21, Revelation 7:1-3
BY Yana Conner
Today’s passage brings the nineties R&B hit, “Who Can I Run To?,” to mind in which the girl group quartet Xscape sang of longing for someone to meet their needs for love, acceptance, and security. However, it seems no one within their sight was capable or willing as they wailed over and over in the chorus, “Who can I run to?”.
Growing up in a home where listening to secular music was not allowed, I didn’t get to enjoy this number eight Billboard-charting hit until some youth leaders in my church developed a Christian version of it. Though their efforts to be hip and convince young people to run to God and not the club still makes me cringe, I am thankful for the intentional ways they sought to get it through my thick teenage skull that God was the one I could and should run to when I’m in need or trouble.
Yet, this is where the people of Judah found themselves. With Babylon physically present each passing day, they came to believe God did not see or care about their impending doom. They allowed their circumstances to deceive them into thinking He had abandoned them. Ironically, however, their circumstance—receiving the Lord’s judgment—was proof God saw them. He saw their idolatry and sent Ezekiel to give them a heads up that His judgment was on the horizon.
Instead of looking to the Lord who promised to forgive and heal their land if they humbled themselves and asked for help (2Chronicles 7:14), they turned their backs to Him and sought salvation from the sun as well as gods they could hold in their hands.
Sounds like nonsense, right? Put your trust in the sun or the One who made it? What’s the better option? But, truth be told, on the days when I’m anxious and unsure of how God will show up for me, I run to created things as my source of comfort and hope. Ezekiel reminds us that whether it be a smartphone, or a friend, book, or workout, when we’re in trouble we, like the people of Judah, can run to created things for peace, love, escape, and refuge.
When we believe God doesn’t see our hardship and has abandoned us, we will make an idol out of anything that makes itself available. When we allow our circumstances to dictate how we interpret God’s character, we, like Xscape and Judah, will be singing, “Who can I run to?”. In Christ, we can and should always run to Him as our first choice, not our last resort.