KNOWING GOD IN HIS GLORY
You Deserved to be Judged
Jerry A Collins
P Why do we deserve to be judged by God?
P What is the nature of Godís judgment of His people?
P What is the purpose and outcome of Godís judgment?
There comes a time in our lives when judgment is inevitable. Ultimately that will either be the judgment seat of Christ for believers or the Great White Throne judgment for unbelievers where both parties will be judged according to their deeds. In the meantime that judgment often comes in the form of the consequences associated with unconfessed sin in our lives. This judgment is never undeserved. We earned it and it will certainly come as the day passes into night. We are accountable to God for transgressing His truth. Israel deserved to be judged by God because of her transgression of that truth and two parables in Ezekiel 15-16 show there was no possibility of deliverance from it for Israel.
1. WE CAN EXPECT JUDGMENT WHEN† WE MAKE OURSELVES USELESS FOR GOD† 15
Israel is compared to the uselessness of grapevine for anything but bearing fruit. (1) Compared to wood in a forest it is small, crooked, flimsy and stringy vs 2. (2) It is also useless as building material. Its twisting, gnarled branches cannot be fashioned into a stout peg for hanging things vs 3. (3) If the vine by itself is useless t is even more worthless as a charred branch blackened in a fire vs 4-5. (4) The fire here is a reference to Godís judgment of Israel as a fruitless vine vs 6-8. Israel is useless and worthless God says because of their unfaithfulness to Him vs 8. So God will bring Babylon back to finish the job they begun in 597BC.
††††† The vine is for bearing fruit. Without fruit the vine is useless. Itís wood is useless. The Israelites are like us today in that we tend to focus on who we are as vines not what fruit we can produce for God. Focusing on the vine is like our focusing on our athletic ability or money making ability or academic ability or persuasive ability or intimidating ability. We like to dress up the vine and improve our status or results or position rather than what fruit we can produce for God.† Itís like the parable of the man who keeps his talents instead of investing them or the 3 soils that were unable to reproduce like the 4th soil. For instance, the fruit we are to produce is the fruit of the spirit (Gal 5:22), bearing fruit in every good work (Col 1:10), that we might bear fruit for God (Rom 7:4). We are far too preoccupied with the vine, the way it looks, what it desires, the way it feels, where it wants to go just like Israel was. God says when you do that you will make yourself useless to Him and can only expect His judgment. It is a worthless pursuit anyway because it is only good for this side of the grave. It is pursuing my best interests instead of Gods. We cross over into maturity when we pursue our well-being through the interests of God not just getting our own way by scheming about what is best for the vine. Maturity is not giving up on pursuing whatís in our own best interests but pursuing our own best interests through the interests of God instead of independent from God like getting divorced, borrowing money, cheating, seeking revenge, pursuing mystical type solutions rather than trusting Gods Word, gossiping, materialism, living in luxury, trying to get rich or pursue other short-term, earthly, dead-end goals. This only makes us useless for God and invites His judgment. We must bear fruit not dress the vine! Today, the Great Commission is what God is doing. Putting the Word of God into the souls of people. That is the process by which fruit develops in a persons life. This is the only thing on earth God is doing today and all other things should never be viewed as an end in themselves but only as they are preparing Gods people to bear fruit by means of discipleship. If we are doing anything else we are not participating with God in what it is He is doing. There is no fruit-bearing there and God says that is what is valuable to Him.
2. WE CAN EXPECT GODS JUDGMENT WHEN WE ARE UNFAITHFUL TO GOD† 16
Here Israel is compared to an unfaithfulness of an adulterous wife. By the way, God is not a she. There are two analogies in this parable the first in vs 1-43†† of† theunfaithful wife. (1) To begin with Jerusalemís ancestry is tied to the gentile, despised people, Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites as a Canaanite city descended from Ham vs 2-4. (2) They were like an unwanted child cast out into the field at birth left to die as was the cruel practice of infanticide then vs 5. (3) God noticed this infant kicking helplessly, life hanging in the balance and ordained her survival watching her grow up in Egypt for 430 yrs. Yet she was still naked and bare vs 6-7. (4) God noticed she was now old enough to love and he married her and pledged His fidelity with the giving of the Law at Sanai vs 8. (5) Then God bathed her, clothed her, adorned her as a queen through the conquest of the land of Canaan and the wealth of the kings of Israel. The fame spread everywhere as in the time of Solomonís reign in Israel vs 9-14.
††††† First, notice that all of this was initiated by God. It had nothing to do with the attractiveness of the one loved. There was no attractiveness there. Grace is unmerited favor. What God does was unearned. The grace of God is like that. But grace is a work of God not an attribute of God. God does not have to be gracious and He does not violate His character when he is not. He chooses to give grace and when He does it has no rationale. We cannot try to explain it or figure out why it is given. The ultimate expression of His grace is in our salvation for it is by grace that you are saved through faith that not of yourselves it is a gift of God not of works lest any man should boast (Eph 2:8-9). Second, notice that everything we have must be seen as a gift from God. God told them I spread my skirt over you, I swore to you, I bathed you, I adorned you because of my splendor which I bestowed on you. Everything you have personally, intellectually, time, materially, family, financially, opportunity is from God. God determines all of that and then expects us to take charge of all of it as good stewards. Our problem comes when we begin to view these as something we have earned. Pride says its mine and I can have it. Humility says its Gods and Her gave it. Pride says I can use it for my own pleasure. Humility says I can use it to bring glory to God.
††††† The rest of the chapter unfolds the unfaithfulness of the nation in spite of Gods faithful choice of these as His partner. It could have been a lovely rags-to-riches love story had it ended here. Three times God mentions you did not rememmber the days of your youth (22, 43, 60). The point being they forgot their origin from obscruity and in Egypt and the Exodus when God delivered them as He had promised. It all begin to unravel when in vs 15 you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame. They pursued other lovers Egypt vs 26, Assyria vs 28, Babylon vs 29, all your lovers vs 37. Gods judgment will be giving Israel into the hands of these lovers who will not only take them but all that they have only to leave Jerusalem exposed, naked, exploited and ashamed. Today the churches lovers are the feminists, the homosexuals, the adulterers, the market analyzers, the psychologists, the tolerance of a godless society that controls our churches and influences the people who lead them and attend them. Like Israel, we are no different from the godless culture around us and we multiply our sin before God vs 44-52. Israel did not warrant Gods commitment to her. You do not either. You are the object of His grace.