Ezekiel 34 and the Church Today

Standard

I’ve read Ezekiel 34 earlier this week…

I can’t help but in this chapter, I see a clear similarity between the writings of this chapter and what is happening in most churches today… The writer speaks of the shepherds of Israel who are taking care of themselves only and seeking their own personal gain while forsaking the needs of the “sheep”.  I want to reference Isaiah 53, verse 6 (All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way…) – the writer of Ezekiel also speaks of sheep wandering through the mountains, scattered…. “no one was seeking or searching for them.” The Lord is pleading to the shepherds to hear the voice/word of the Lord…because of the wrong doings of the shepherds, the Lord is against them.  God says that He will search for His sheep; He will seek them out; among other things. He will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but He will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment. You are my flock, the flock of my pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord God.

I guess what I’m reading in this chapter (Ezekiel 34) is that even though they have it “all” now, even though they are “fat” now, even though they seek after their own personal gain now and even though they are forsaking the flock now; God will deal with them for all their wrong dealings. They will stand in judgment one day.

Ezekiel 34

Eze 34:1  And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

Eze 34:2  “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

Eze 34:3  You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock.

Eze 34:4  The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.

Eze 34:5  So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered.

Eze 34:6  My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”

Eze 34:7  ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:

Eze 34:8  “as I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”–

Eze 34:9  therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord!

Eze 34:10  Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”

Eze 34:11  ‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.

Eze 34:12  As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.

Eze 34:13  And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country.

Eze 34:14  I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.

Eze 34:15  I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God.

Eze 34:16  I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”

Eze 34:17  ‘And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats.

Eze 34:18  Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture–and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet?

Eze 34:19  And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet.”

Eze 34:20  ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God to them: “Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep.

Eze 34:21  Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad,

Eze 34:22  therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.

Eze 34:23  I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them–My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd.

Eze 34:24  And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.

Eze 34:25  “I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.

Eze 34:26  I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing.

Eze 34:27  Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.

Eze 34:28  And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid.

Eze 34:29  I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore.

Eze 34:30  Thus they shall know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord God.’ “

Eze 34:31  You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord God.

 

Tithing

Standard

Tithing?

The misconception around the topic of tithing starts when people turn to one scripture (Malachi 3:10) for an answer, little do they know that a doctrine is or never was introduced based on just one scripture. The doctrine of tithing is based on an Old Testament law, where it was commanded to the Levites to bring the full tithes of all their flock, fruit, etc to the place of offering. This was a law just as circumcision was a law, just as all the other Old Testament laws.

The word tithes were given to a certain percentage of all the upbrings that the levites had throughout the year, and this percentage normally was ten percent. Tithing was part of the law of old days, but was also done before the law by Abraham and Jacob, but were performed by freewill (Abraham/Jacob) A tithe was never measured in monetary value; it would always be in the upbrings of seed, wines, corn, etc. Please read the following verses from the bible.

(Nehemiah 13:12) Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries.

Abraham had done it only once in his lifetime and not weekly, monthly, annually. (Gen 14:20; Acts 17: 11)

(Numbers 18:25-28) And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe. And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshing floor, and as the fullness of the winepress. Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD’S heave offering to Aaron the priest.

(Deuteronomy 14:22) Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, which the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.

(Hebrews 7:5) And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

Today’s people and tithing

In the church of today, we still see that tithes are being taken up and brought forth to the pulpit, in most cases they base this purely on the following verse (Malachi 3:8 – 10) Mal 3:8 – 10  “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

For many this is what they believe to be the right thing to do, but in the same time, they are holding on to the law and the Word of God forbids holding onto the law. The Bible teaches that if holding on to the law, we are denying that Christ came to free us from the bondage of the law (Galatians 5:1), this merely states that we have no regards for the painful death that He had to go through on the cross on Calvary. The Bible says that if holding on, it is as if Christ had died (and sacrificed himself) in vain, before we decide do give our tithe again, rather think and decide if Christ died in vain or did He die for you and for me?

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with giving – don’t look at it as tithing, why should it be ten percent, why should it be to a specific church, what about hungry people close to you, what about giving food to shelters who are feeding hungry people, what about reaching out to those in need of help. In many instances, “pastors” live lavish lifestyles while their congregation had given the last of their last and have the bare minimum to live from. Also note that when you do give, whoever you give it to,  it should be of free will and not because the law or the pastor or the leader or the priest or whoever tell you to do it. If you decide to give, it needs to be out of freewill.

 (Matthew 22:15) Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teach the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regard not the person of men. Tell us therefore, what thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he said unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left him, and went their way. Read Rom 13

What is the law?

The bible declares that the law is only a guide to become “perfect”. The law in the old days refers to the curse that was upon the people of old. When perfection comes, the law is no longer required, let’s use tithing as an example, this was a law, to give ten percent of your upbrings, but Christ is the perfection which has arrived and tithing is no longer required. The law does not set us free, but Christ does. It`s not by the law that we are set free, but by the law we were guided, we were set free by the grace of God. Another interesting thing that I have noticed is that the scripture says that if you uphold one part of the law, it is your duty to uphold the full law, i.e burned offers, sacrifices, etc.

We therefore cannot uphold the law of tithing; we are commanded to uphold all the laws of the Old Testament, which once again will proof that we saying that Christ needed not to lay down His life for us!

Please read the following verses from the bible

(Galatians 3:10)

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

(Galatians 3:24) Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

What does Jesus say about tithing?

When you as born again Christian chose Jesus as your master, you were no longer a slave, but you became children of God. When Peter asked Jesus about tithing, he countered with a question: do the kings collect taxes from their own children or from others, ending in him saying that the children that are then free. He said in this same verse that it is fine to give an offer. If we consider ourselves children of God, should we be free from doing this as well or should we still be engaged in paying tithes?

Please read the following verses from the bible

(Matthew 17:24-27) And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, what thinkest thou, Simon? Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, and then are the children free? Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

(Galatians 3:26) For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Jesus and the law

The bible says that Christ has set us free from the curse of old, Christ has set us free from the law of old, by becoming a curse himself. It was never in God’s plan for us as the church to give tithes, the Bible teaches us that we should give from the spirit of god and not because we are obliged to do so. Jesus has set us free. We do not have to be under the bondage of the old law. Christ is not our redeemer for nothing, the Bible says that if you hold onto the law, Christ is of no effect to you, why shall we remain in the law if Christ has redeemed us?

Please read the following verses from the bible

(Galatians 3:13, 14) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hanged on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith

(Galatians 4:1-9)Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, different nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law. To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. How be it then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

(Galatians 5:1)Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

(Galatians 5:13) For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

GALATIANS 4 V 4&5

BUT WHEN THE FULNESS OF THE TIME WAS COME, GOD SENT FORTH HIS SON, MADE OF A WOMAN, MADE UNDER THE LAW, TO REDEEM THEM THAT WERE UNDER THE LAW, THAT WE MIGHT RECEIVE THE ADOPTION OF SONS.

FREED BY HIS AMAZING LOVE

BY LAW, BY GRACE

I WANT TO COMPLETE THE AMAZING RACE

WITH THE COMMAND FROM ABOVE,

ARE WE FREED BY HIS LOVE.

SHOULD WE GIVE BY GRACE,

WE SHOULD GIVE BY CHOICE.

DID THE SCRIBES NOT SEE

WHAT WAS MEANT FOR YOU AND ME?

WE SHOULD NOT GIVE BY WILL OF LAW

JESUS SHOWED US MUCH, MUCH MORE

IF YOU’RE A CHILD OF HIM,

YOU ARE FREED FROM TITHING

PASTORS, LEADERS, SHOULD TEACH THE TRUTH,

JESUS CAME AND FREED US FOR GOOD.

WE SHOULD NOT CLING TO THE LAWS OF THE BOOK.

HE SET US FREE, NOW WE’RE OFF THE HOOK !

DON’T QUIT by Frank Collins – 1952

Standard

Rest if you must, but don't you quit!

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit!

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,

When the funds are low, and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit!

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As everyone of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure has turned about,

When they might have won had they stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,

You may succeed with another blow!

Often the goal is nearer than

It seems to a faint and faltering one,

Often the struggler has given up

When they might have captured the victor’s cup.

And they learned too late, when the night slipped down,

How close they were to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out,

The silver tint to the clouds of doubt.

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far.

So stick to the task when you’re hardest hit,

It’s when things seem the worst, that you must not quit!

~ Frank Collins – 1952

Slow Down Fast

Standard

Let’s slow down for a while,
Get out the car and walk the mile.
For some this means erasing that smile, 
And just the thought of this could turn them vile.

Do we even cry out enough 
Or have this world become so tough,
We often forget we have to show love 
Or even that we need strength from up above

Sometimes we go way to fast 
But just how long will our strength last
Do we ever learn from our past,

Slow down…

It’s time we stop and break down our gasps

 

Slow down and rest you must 
Slow down you’ve been going too fast 
Slow down now won’t you at last 
Slow down and learn from the past

Humility

Standard

Do I possess enough meekness?

What separates my humility from a weakness?

Where do I draw the line,

Or do I just say it is fine?

To be is an instruction from the divine.

 

Should I allow them to walk,

Over me?

Do I join them in the talks?

Which makes “free?”

Be I a hawk,

Or a bumble bee?

 

Do they see Jesus when looking at me?

No one reaches out to touch,

As I pass them by.

When I do pass, do they even see?

Or are they always in a rush,

And later they lie?

 

Sometimes you’ll be the invisible man

And not a popular among the fans.

 

What we want

Standard

Some things we get easy,

And others we have to fight for,

If the latter we appreciate it more.

 

We can’t always get what we want,

We might think we deserve to,

But we can’t always get the bigger part.

 

Just hang in there, just hold on tight,

Not always easy, don’t give up the fight,

Fight for what’s right and with all might,

Just hang in there, the end is in sight.

 

Nobody said the road will be easy,

Nobody promised it to be the best,

And what if it was,

Where would be the test?

 

Tests and Trials are there for us to bear,

And bear in mind,

Nobody said it would be fair. 

 

Just hang in, just hold on and just trust in His time.