Elder's Prayer - July 14, 2019
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday.
Ezekiel was a prophet living in exile in Babylon who had a vision of Jerusalem (ch 8). In the vision, Ezekiel saw 70 leaders of Israel worshipping false gods in secret within the temple. He saw women, also in the temple, participating in a festival honoring a false god of fertility. And he saw 25 men in the inner court of the temple, with their backs to God, facing east and worshipping the sun.
Because of this sin, God is going to destroy the temple and Jerusalem and Judah.
Then 6 executioners are called forth along with a man clothed in linen with a writing case in his hand. The Lord speaks to this man.
Ezekiel 9:4-5: pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it. (to the others God said) pass through the city after him, and strike…Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark.
Even when he brings judgment because of sin, God remembers those who sigh and groan because of the sin around them. He remembers and preserves those who long for righteousness and holiness, those who hearts are devoted to him.
God’s people have always struggled with the sin around them; sin can always be a discouragement and a distraction for God’s people.
Don’t let the sin around you discourage you, as if God doesn’t notice – remember that God remembers those who sigh and groan because of the sin around them.
Don’t let the sin around you distract you from what God has promised – God will judge that sin around you but will also remember those who long for him to come, who look forward to the day when they can be with him forever.
O Lord God of Hosts, you alone save. You alone are holy and worthy of our praise. You alone preserve a people for yourself, for the glory of your name.
The world is full of sin. Our hearts are full of sin. We know that you will punish sin, that one day you will return and judge sin; you will destroy the earth and all who do not believe because of your wrath against sin.
But we know that even in judgment, you offer forgiveness. When you declare that judgment is coming, you show your mercy in giving men and women the opportunity to repent and be saved.
Encourage us when the sin around us threatens our joy in you and your word and your promises. Remind us that regardless of our sin, you never change – your mercies new every day, your grace always overflowing toward us, your love for your people never ceasing.
Give us hearts that long for the day when we will no longer sin, when we will worship you in purity and holiness and will sin against you no longer.
You are our king and our shepherd, our hope and our reward.