READING: Ezekiel 20-21, James 5
“But I acted because of My name, so that it would not be profaned in the eyes of the nations they were living among. . .”
I don’t understand God’s patience. I might teach and preach about it, but I still don’t fully understand it. If I were God, for example, I probably would have wiped out the Hebrews after they had rejected my leadership and love as many times as the Hebrews did. For example, God had demanded that they get rid of their idols from Egypt, but they would not listen: “they rebelled against Me and were unwilling to listen to Me” (Ezek. 20:8). The people kept their idols, rebelled against God, rejected His standards, and refused to follow His teachings.
God, though, did not take His hand off them. He loved them despite their idolatry, preserved them despite their rebellion, and “spared them from destruction” (Ezek. 20:17) despite their rejection. Their recurrent stories of turning from God make it clear that His preserving them as His people had nothing to do with them; they simply had nothing to offer Him in their blasphemies and defilements.
Rather, God kept them as His people in His desire to guard His name among the nations. When He could have turned His back on the Hebrews and judged them, he instead “withheld My hand and acted because of My name, so that it would not be profaned in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I brought them out” (Ezek. 20:22). God’s name—representing His character and His reputation—mattered to Him, and He kept His hand on His people rather than give the other nations reason to question His power. The enemy nations would have no reason to mock Israel’s God for not taking care of His people.
This word today is a reminder to us that we are, and remain, God’s children not because of who we are, but because of who He is. Every reason for our pride is stripped away when we remember that truth.
- Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Thank God for His grace and patience.
- Remembering that we are who we are because of Him, recommit your life to Him today.
PRAYER: “Thank You, Father, for Your patience with me. Thank You for making my salvation dependent on You, not on me.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Ezekiel 22-23, 1 Peter 1