Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Little Bit of Bible Study

Artist's conception of Babylon in Biblical times.
Today my Bible reading was chapters 5, 6, and 7 of Ezekiel. Ezekiel wrote about his experiences and messages as a prophet of God while he was an exile in Babylon. Well, I must admit it was a bit of a downer. In fact, reading many of the prophetic books that were written as warnings to the people of Israel and Judah in the years before the destruction of their respective nations can be very difficult. When the sinful rebellion against God, and the violence, greed, and injustice of those nations is itemized, I keep thinking that it sounds like the things I hear on the news every day.

The human race has new technology, but sure has not evolved as to character and behavior. It seems, instead, that things are degenerating.

I have to remind myself that bad news is what makes the news. All the good things done every day do not make for the drama the newsfolk look for. I remember reading years ago a comment by Phil Donohue about the days when he did radio news. The motto was something like, "If it bled, it led."

When I worked for the Probation and Parole Department and then for the County Attorney's Office, every day's work dealt with terrible things people do to each other. What kept me from becoming totally depressed and cynical was the fact that through church, family, and friends I knew a lot of good, decent people. Not perfect people, but people who do their best to be what they should be. People who are loving and kind. People who have fun without destructiveness to their minds, bodies, or spirits. People who care about and help others. The salt of the earth.

I have to remind myself of that while reading the horrors the prophets sometimes speak of. And with Ezekiel I try to picture the things he describes, as God has him doing performance art to demonstrate his message to the people around him. Some of these action object lessons are so bizarre I can surely believe they attracted the attention of passersby and gave Ezekiel an audience for his message. These were not easy things for Ezekiel to do. He suffered to deliver the message. He had a degree of dedication and obedience that was truly exceptional.

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