Would My Name Be Included?
“Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its people and their animals, even if these three men – Noah, Daniel and Job – were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord.” Ezekiel 14:13-14 (NIV)
List-Posting Day at school – anticipated by students and dreaded by parents. As hopeful eyes scan the paper taped hurriedly to the glass trophy case in the crowded hallway, I hold my breath. In a matter of minutes, one friend will leap out of the school building in a victory dance while another friend will cry tears of defeat, inconsolable because her name isn’t on the list. The volleyball team, cheerleading, or the school play, choosing one over another is the inevitable, heart-wrenching dilemma faced by coaches and teachers every year.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all make the list?
The above passage from chapter 14 is a word from the Lord given to Ezekiel to illustrate how important it is for us to keep God first in our lives. God wanted his statement told to the elders of Israel, so they would know not to have “idols in their hearts” (v.3). In other words, keeping God where He belongs, ahead of everything else, would surround them in His protection and blessing.
Interesting, though, how God points out Noah, Daniel, and Job – setting them apart from all others. From this statement we can conclude these men had a certain uniqueness that God wants us to recognize.
“Even if these three men – Noah, Daniel, and Job - were in it…” (v.14).
God desired to “recapture the hearts” of His people (v.5). Without their repentance, not even the character of the men on this list could help them all. But I have to wonder, “Would God include me on this list?”
Sure seems like a lofty standard. I mean, if ever there were three men worthy of a place at the top of the list, it’s Noah, Daniel, and Job! Is it realistic for me to believe God would associate me with the likes of these notable men? In order to answer that question, let’s look at some things they had in common:
- They knew to PRAY, because their own strength would not suffice. “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daniel 6:10 (NIV)
- They resolved to STAY, though overwhelmed with the task they’d been given. “Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” Genesis 6:22 (NIV)
- They chose to OBEY, even when the outcome looked bleak. “So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head… His wife said to him, ‘Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!’ He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’” Job 2:7, 9-10 (NIV)
When faced with insurmountable challenges and unfathomable loss, these Godly heroes followed the greatest commandment of them all – they put God first.
And when we put God first in our own lives, we have the assurance that we are on that list, too. Not a list giving accolades, or displaying us as more important than others, but the one carefully penned by God. Yes, we carry a unique sense of peace and gratitude in knowing we will never be left out when God is our leading Coach and Teacher.
Joyfully linking up at the following uplifting sites: Intentional Tuesdays, RaRa Linkup, Women2Women Wednesday, LiveFree Thursday, Tell His Story, & DanceWithJesus Friday. Click the links to the right for more encouragement!