For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
I will never forget being home one summer and helping my dad with a project around the house. Our faucet in the kitchen needed to be replaced and my dad had gotten the replacement parts and asked me to replace the parts in my spare time. Having never encountered a job like this before, I presumed it would be an easy task. I kept pretty obscure hours during my summers at home, and upon returning home around 11 PM that evening, decided I had plenty of time to replace the faucet and surprise my mom the next morning. It took about 30 minutes for me to realize I was in way over my head and I had no idea what I was doing. Not only did I not have the skills to complete the task, I did not even have the right tools for the job. Being a stubborn college student, I stayed up till about 1 AM attempting to find a way around my insufficiencies without success and left the sink in shambles and went to bed. As most of you can figure out, this was a horrible idea. I slept till 10 or 11 and woke up to an angry note from my mom about not being able to use the sink that morning and a stern message from my dad to fix my mistakes. I then had the wonderful opportunity to humbly offer that the job was over my head and after acquiring the proper tools for the job, my dad and I successfully replaced the faucet.
You may wonder why I share this story, and I am currently wondering the same thing and attempting to apply it to Ezekiel 18 in light of Mike and Michael’s sermons. In my battle with the sink, I needed to recognize my incompetence and throw myself on the mercy of the authority in my life. Despite my intentions of caring for my parents and fulfilling my duty as a son, I was incapable of doing so and I made things much worse in my attempts to control the situation. As Mike said yesterday, I needed a new heart because mine was filled with wickedness and blame shifting. Like Adam in the garden, my mind ran to all of the other parties who had made mistakes that caused my predicament. The manufacturer didn’t give me clear enough instructions and the house builder placed the cabinets in awkward positions in relation to the pipe. More importantly, my dad didn’t give me the proper tools or instructions and my mom kept way too many cleaning products in my newly designated “work space”. My rebellious attitude attacked completely unrelated parties and ultimately the authority in my life. In the same way, as Michael discussed, my real need was not tools or time or knowledge, but embracing time with my father who had all I needed to get the job done. We are studying Proverbs with our Middle School students on Wednesday evenings (shameless plug: we need volunteers) and it has been striking to study the demeanor of the wise throughout the book. Like Psalm 112, the righteous and the wise are unshaken by their circumstances because their hearts are firmly founded in the Creator and Sustainer of all things. Ezekiel’s picture of a righteous man does not eat at the mountain shrines or worship idols because he is nourished by the perfect provider and his heart is consumed with worshiping the King. He remains sexually pure because his life is not governed by his sexuality, but by the leadership of God. His money is merely a tool given to him by God to serve the poor and honor his community because his foundation is not built on his finances, but rather on the LORD. As you go about your week, think about the ways God has fulfilled you and the ways you seek fulfillment in other forms. Recognize that your Father longs to spend time with you and His love is not dependent on your productivity or presentation.