Ezekiel As the Lord’s Messenger
Open Your Bible
Ezekiel 33:1-33, Romans 5:1-5, Ephesians 4:11-16
BY Patti Sauls
On the side of our refrigerator you’ll find a handy magnetic notepad. Getting low on milk? Need some apples? Out of toilet paper? Put them on the list. College students coming home for the weekend? Put all the things on the list. Taking inventory is essential when it comes to figuring out what we have and what we’re missing. It may take some time, but it’s time well spent.
Lent invites us to take spiritual inventory. It invites us to ask God to reveal what we have and what we’re missing. Am I regularly experiencing God’s guidance, strength, and comfort, or do I feel like I’m running on empty? How is God shaping my worldview, relationships, work, and habits? Where am I missing Him? Maybe we need to admit where we’ve wandered. Maybe we need to pause and listen to His call to return.
In Ezekiel we see God’s people disoriented by disobedience. Their forced exile from home echoed their own willful exit from God and His ways. They had wandered far. In their anguish they cried, “Our transgressions and our sins are heavy on us, and we are wasting away because of them! How can we survive?” (Ezekiel 33:10). In desperation, they took inventory, confessed their sin, and cried out to the Lord.
We have an opportunity right now to take inventory, to confess our wandering, and express our desire to return home. Maybe we’ll find ourselves crying out with the ancient exiles, “Oh God, my sin and unbelief are wearing me out. I’m lost and hopeless apart from you! How can I survive?”
God takes no pleasure in our pain, and He does not abandon us. Instead, He makes a way for us to turn away from our wanderings and return to Him. God takes “no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked person should turn from his way and live. Repent, repent of your evil ways!” (v.11).
God gives what He commands: a way of repentance. How do we pivot toward this path of return? We begin by taking an honest inventory that includes resisting denial and recognizing where we’ve strayed. Then, we can confess our sin and our need for Jesus who paid the price for our unfaithfulness. We must take care not to turn in on ourselves, attempting to beat ourselves up or shape ourselves up. Instead, we rely on God’s provision of His Son, so that we can “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
Will we accept this invitation to take spiritual inventory this Lenten season? If we do, we’ll find that it’s time well spent.
Jesus, I confess that I stray every day in my thoughts, words, and actions. I’m prone to wander. In Your mercy, stop me in my tracks and show me where I’m missing You in my life and in the world. Thank you for reminding me of all that I have in You, including Your guidance, strength, and comfort on the path back home.