Week 25 Friday

An Absent God

Today’s scripture selection: Ezekiel 7-12

Key verse: Ezekiel 10:18

Prophets rarely had easy messages for their audience.

But surely one of the most difficult to deliver was how at one point in their history the “glory of the Lord departed” from the temple – and their presence. Idolatry had struck its final blow – God had left. Not because he was defeated or chased out by lesser gods. But because he allowed the people to choose the gods they would – and suffer the consequences of that choice.

It’s the same for us.

We can choose “lesser gods” – and lose God’s loving, guiding, presence in our lives. Or we can choose Him.

It’s not about God being fickle. It’s about His being faithful to the way He has ordered the universe. And that means holiness simply will not, cannot, co-exist peacefully with un-holiness and evil.

Our choices have great consequences – for us and for our world. And so we must always make them carefully, and prayerfully.

The good news is that, in time, the glory of the Lord returned. God does not forget His people or His covenant with them.

But it did take repentance, a good old fashioned word for “turning back” toward the one, true God.

God isn’t a cosmic video machine, at our disposal.

God isn’t just sitting around in heaven waiting for us to call and say, “Here’s what I want today.”

God is the holy, righteous, ruler of the universe.

Lucky for us, He is also patient, loving, kind, and forgiving.

So, choose God. Seek His presence. Seek His love.

He’ll be happy to answer the call.

Prayer: Lord, when the temptation comes to follow lesser gods, may I avoid it and follow you. May I never be far from your holy, loving, protecting, presence. AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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