Circumcision of the Heart

Circumsion of the Heart

17 It came to pass also in the twelfth year, on the fifteenth day of the month, that the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

18 “Son of man, wail over the multitude of Egypt,
And cast them down to the depths of the earth,
Her and the daughters of the famous nations,
With those who go down to the Pit:
19 ‘Whom do you surpass in beauty?
Go down, be placed with the uncircumcised.’

20 “They shall fall in the midst of those slain by the sword;
She is delivered to the sword,
Drawing her and all her multitudes.
21 The strong among the mighty
Shall speak to him out of the midst of hell
With those who help him:
‘They have gone down,
They lie with the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.’

22 “Assyria is there, and all her company,
With their graves all around her,
All of them slain, fallen by the sword.
23 Her graves are set in the recesses of the Pit,
And her company is all around her grave,
All of them slain, fallen by the sword,
Who caused terror in the land of the living.

24 “There is Elam and all her multitude,
All around her grave,
All of them slain, fallen by the sword,
Who have gone down uncircumcised to the lower parts of the earth,
Who caused their terror in the land of the living;
Now they bear their shame with those who go down to the Pit.
25 They have set her bed in the midst of the slain,
With all her multitude,
With her graves all around it,
All of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword;
Though their terror was caused
In the land of the living,
Yet they bear their shame
With those who go down to the Pit;
It was put in the midst of the slain.

26 “There are Meshech and Tubal and all their multitudes,
With all their graves around it,
All of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword,
Though they caused their terror in the land of the living.
27 They do not lie with the mighty
Who are fallen of the uncircumcised,
Who have gone down to hell with their weapons of war;
They have laid their swords under their heads,
But their iniquities will be on their bones,
Because of the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.
28 Yes, you shall be broken in the midst of the uncircumcised,
And lie with those slain by the sword.

29 “There is Edom,
Her kings and all her princes,
Who despite their might
Are laid beside those slain by the sword;
They shall lie with the uncircumcised,
And with those who go down to the Pit.
30 There are the princes of the north,
All of them, and all the Sidonians,
Who have gone down with the slain
In shame at the terror which they caused by their might;
They lie uncircumcised with those slain by the sword,
And bear their shame with those who go down to the Pit.

31 “Pharaoh will see them
And be comforted over all his multitude,
Pharaoh and all his army,
Slain by the sword,”
Says the Lord God.

32 “For I have caused My terror in the land of the living;
And he shall be placed in the midst of the uncircumcised
With those slain by the sword,
Pharaoh and all his multitude,”
Says the Lord God.
— Ezekiel 32:17-32.

Men, Ezekiel continues the lament for Egypt now with the cadence of song. In this song their are similarities drawn between many nations surrounding Egypt including Assyria, Elam, Meshech, Tubal and the Sidonians.

Each of these nations had a strong military, great wealth, vast influence, and regional authority. Each of these “uncircumcised” nations had been viewed with shock by the remaining people seeing their defeat, with the dead littering the ground or in mass open graves. Egypt was a nation that practiced circumcision like Israel, but even so, they had stirred up the Lord’s anger such that they too would share the same shame as the defeated nations that Egypt despised.

The lucky few of v27 who are buried with respect to their warrior customs still bear the shame of their own iniquities. None of the national customs or the customs among warriors of battle will guard against the judgment of the Lord God. Romans 2:25 tells us clearly, “but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.” Egypt, though circumcised, did not follow the ways of the Lord but exalted their Pharaoh as god, along with the many idols of that land.

We too will face either judgment or a time of accountability. There are no customs of men that may ease the weight and tension of our common fate except that which is provided through the Lord Jesus our Christ and Defender. From Romans 2:27-29, We are a “Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter.”

Move forward, men, circumcised in our hearts and Spirit. May the old heart be cut out and a new holy heart, given by God, be placed within, that overflows with the goodness of the Lord our God.

Vance Durrance

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Call to the Wall

The Wall

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, say to her: ‘You are a land that is not cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation.’ The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken. The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God. — Ezekiel 22:23-31

Men, again the Lord spoke to Ezekiel. The Lord says that Israel is a land that is not cleansed. The false prophets conspire together. Their conspiracies tear apart the people of Israel like a lion. False priests have violated the Lord’s Law, and profane His Holy things. The people don’t distinguish between Holy or unholy, clean or unclean, and they no longer regard the Sabbaths. Israel’s leaders are like wolves tearing prey, destroying people, pursuing dishonest gain. The prophets see false visions and speak divining lies as though the word had come from the Lord when it hadn’t. The people oppress and rob the poor.

Then the Lord said, “So I sought for a man who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”

This is among the saddest passages of scripture. The Lord God surveys the landscape of His creation and there remained no one with enough influence to lead Israel to repentance. There was no one who would intercede on behalf of Israel as Abraham had done for Sodom. There is no one who would wall themselves off from corruption, who would then change the direction of Israel’s people. The people as a whole were in such opposition to God, that there was no means to lead Israel into repentance but to judge them harshly and allow their deeds to fall back upon themselves.

Like Sodom, the Lord pronounces He has “consumed them with the fire of My wrath.” Notice the past tense nature of the Lord’s pronouncement. It is spoken with a certainty equal to though it had already taken place.

The leaders of all nations have become corrupt in our time. We still have influence in pockets of resistance, so the Lord is patient. There are too few who will stand in the gap in our time to trust the task to another.

Move forward men, standing in the gap, and let your neighbors see it. May the Lord strengthen you and join you with others. The Lord may well be counting who among us are His, even now.

Vance Durrance

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Golden Rule

goldenrule

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. — Matthew 7:11-12. NKJV

Men, Jesus moves into the “Golden Rule” saying “whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them…” But this is coupled into the finish of “ask, seek, and knock”. Jesus tells us, “if we being evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him”. How does this fit together?

Our clue is in the way Jesus closes the golden rule “…for this is the Law and the Prophets”. Weren’t we told to love our neighbor as ourselves? Jesus is telling us to “ask, seek, and knock” on each other’s behalf. Remember back in 7:1 we began unraveling the “do not judge” passage. We are absolutely called to judge. We are called to judge when our brother or neighbor is in need of prayer, a touch of heaven, for doors and understanding to be opened on their behalf, etc. We are to intercede for each other.

The depth I have found in Christ Jesus did NOT come by accident. It didn’t even come through discipline. It came by the love of Jesus to pursue my sick heart, and the prayers of others who recognized my need for Him and His truths. We are necessary to and indebted to each other for prayer. Jesus is telling us to pray for others as we would want others to pray for us.

We who have come alive to the open access of His Spirit within have a deep expectation from Jesus to pray for each other’s needs. In battle terms, we who have “the radio” and can reach “headquarters” should be asking for airstrikes of truth, understanding, healing, brokenness, humility, new life, new focus and more for our neighbors’ sake. We should be able to judge our brothers’ needs, and call in requests for them. Will Jesus not answer us? As His children, will the Father not grant us what we seek?

As we knock on doors to open for our brother, will The Lord refuse to open for us the door? Move forward men. Find someone to pray for. Everyday should bring volumes of mail into the Father’s courts. He gave us the model prayer in ch. 6. Pray!

Vance Durrance

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