Hear the Word of the Lord


The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
Hear this, you elders,
And give ear, all you inhabitants of the land!
Has anything like this happened in your days,
Or even in the days of your fathers?
Tell your children about it,
Let your children tell their children,
And their children another generation.
— Joel 1:1-3.

Men, “the Word of the Lord” has come to Joel. Straight away, we should snap to alert attention. When the Lord of hosts speaks, it is no small matter regardless of who the servant is. Joel exclaims over the people of Judah, “hear this, you elders, and give ear, all you inhabitants of the land!” Joel wants everyone to hear and take note, but he tells the elders specifically to “hear this.” There is an added expectation upon the elders. Everyone needed to hear, but the elders needed to fully understand the message, what was happening, and what was yet coming, to lead the people in the repentance he would be calling them to.

The Lord has made attempt to get unrepentant Judah’s attention. Judah has been judged by their sin and has recently experienced a devastation that too few have interpreted as an alert from the Lord. Joel has to plainly ask his fellow man, “has anything like this happened in your days, or even in the days of your father?” We often read too fast over such a rhetorical question to see what the judgment of the Lord looked like, but let’s not miss the stunning rebuke here. Since Joel has to ask the people, we may deduce that no one has considered the singularity of this judgement event. No one has paused to question the source, the message, or the intent of the circumstances Judah now faces.

This rebuke is for us as well. We will soon find that the Word Joel speaks is also for our time, and our children’s time. When calamity strikes our personal lives, when our nation is in turmoil, while the world seems upended in confusion, corruption, conflict and more, at what point do you and I pause to humble ourselves before God and ask where we have sinned against Him? Like Israel, we are quick to point fingers and too blind to see our own sin as an ingredient in the collective circumstances.

Move forward men, pausing this day to ask the Lord “search me O God”, and evaluate our circumstances. Is the Lord not seeking our attention today? Will we hear Him?

Vance Durrance

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Final Warning

Final Warning

Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, write down the name of the day, this very day—the king of Babylon started his siege against Jerusalem this very day. And utter a parable to the rebellious house, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God:

“Put on a pot, set it on,
And also pour water into it.
Gather pieces of meat in it,
Every good piece,
The thigh and the shoulder.
Fill it with choice cuts;
Take the choice of the flock.
Also pile fuel bones under it,
Make it boil well,
And let the cuts simmer in it.”

‘Therefore thus says the Lord God:

“Woe to the bloody city,
To the pot whose scum is in it,
And whose scum is not gone from it!
Bring it out piece by piece,
On which no lot has fallen.
For her blood is in her midst;
She set it on top of a rock;
She did not pour it on the ground,
To cover it with dust.
That it may raise up fury and take vengeance,
I have set her blood on top of a rock,
That it may not be covered.”

‘Therefore thus says the Lord God:

“Woe to the bloody city!
I too will make the pyre great.
Heap on the wood,
Kindle the fire;
Cook the meat well,
Mix in the spices,
And let the cuts be burned up.

“Then set the pot empty on the coals,
That it may become hot and its bronze may burn,
That its filthiness may be melted in it,
That its scum may be consumed.
She has grown weary with lies,
And her great scum has not gone from her.
Let her scum be in the fire!
In your filthiness is lewdness.
Because I have cleansed you, and you were not cleansed,
You will not be cleansed of your filthiness anymore,
Till I have caused My fury to rest upon you.
I, the Lord, have spoken it;
It shall come to pass, and I will do it;
I will not hold back,
Nor will I spare,
Nor will I relent;
According to your ways
And according to your deeds
[e]They will judge you,”
Says the Lord God.’ ” — Ezekiel 24:1-14

Men, Ezekiel has been prophesying, and warning for over 2 years when the Lord says in December 589BC, “son of man, write down the name of this day, this very day- the king of Babylon began his siege against Jerusalem this very day.” Remember, Ezekiel is already in Babylon with the first group of captives from an earlier campaign.

Now the Lord wants Ezekiel to showcase to his fellow captives what is happening in Jerusalem. Ezekiel put a pot over a fire, adds water, and then begins filling it with meat. All the major and choice cuts of meat are added. Bones are added under the pot to the fire. The Lord tells him to “heap on the wood, kindle the fire, mix in spices, and let the cuts be burned up” v10. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are the cuts. Babylon is the fire of God’s fury, and the city is the pot.

When the cuts are burned up, the Lord says to set the empty pot back on the coals, so that it’s bronze would burn and all filthiness would be melted in it. Even the scum left over from cooking would be consumed.

The Lord had brought Babylon upon Jerusalem before in efforts to clean the city, but the current inhabitants of Jerusalem refuse to repent and be cleansed. This time, the Lord would “cleanse” the city completely. The Lord says in v14, “I will not spare, nor will I relent.”

This must have been a hard message to deliver. The exiles had families in Jerusalem. Today, we too may have family and friends who refuse to repent, refuse to accept the free gift of salvation, and refuse to hear a message of coming end and judgment. We aren’t the first to worry over unrepentant loved ones.

Still, we must move forward men, sounding the alarm, speak the warnings, deliver signs to our people as the Lord directs, pray for your loved ones and petition the Lord on their behalf. For over 2 years the warnings have come by Ezekiel, and suddenly, it begins. For over 2k years the warnings have been in place, and suddenly the end will be upon us as well. Make ready.

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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Harlotry Condemned


“Behold, therefore, I stretched out My hand against you, diminished your allotment, and gave you up to the will of those who hate you, the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your lewd behavior. You also played the harlot with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable; indeed you played the harlot with them and still were not satisfied. Moreover you multiplied your acts of harlotry as far as the land of the trader, Chaldea; and even then you were not satisfied.

“How degenerate is your heart!” says the Lord God, “seeing you do all these things, the deeds of a brazen harlot.

“You erected your shrine at the head of every road, and built your high place in every street. Yet you were not like a harlot, because you scorned payment. You are an adulterous wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband. Men make payment to all harlots, but you made your payments to all your lovers, and [c]hired them to come to you from all around for your harlotry. You are the opposite of other women in your harlotry, because no one solicited you to be a harlot. In that you gave payment but no payment was given you, therefore you are the opposite.” — Ezekiel 16:27-34

Men, shrines and “high places” of worship had been erected to various false deities all over Jerusalem. The Lord has called Israel “harlot” and testifies against them. Israel has taken on the deities of the Egyptians, Philistines, Assyrians, and even pursued as far as the Chaldeans, and was still unsatisfied.

The Lord goes on further, saying, Israel was not like other harlots. Other harlots expected something for their services. Israel has given herself away and paid handsomely to be taken advantage of. They will be handed over in part, to the Philistines, who were disturbed at how lewd Israel had become.

Time, and time again, God had delivered Israel from the hand of the neighboring nations that the current generation of this time had simply given herself over to. Israel’s ancestors fought to keep herself pure from these false religions, but now, they chase other gods.

America once fought a world empire for religious freedom, to worship the 1 true God without interference from the state. Today, any religion is accepted except worship of the Lord God. In our appetite for distractions, comforts, tolerance and our piece of the pie, America has forsaken God except for a token of appreciation on Sunday by a remnant.

We too are harlots. We were given a land, and we’ve handed it over to China for cheap gadgets, the Arabs for cheap oil, and Hollywood for our insatiable request for unGodliness. We have given away personal freedom to other nations and lay as harlots on a bed of debt. Convenience and ease has become our god, and the trap has been sprung.

Move forward, men. America has committed sins, and is being called to repentance. What will you do? Who will rescue us from ourselves but the Lord our God through repentance and personal responsibility.

Vance Durrance

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Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.” — Matthew 11:20-24 NKJV

Men, Jesus closes vs19 saying “wisdom is justified by her children”. Another translation says “wisdom is vindicated by her deeds”. In other words, the wise have not refused John or Jesus, but have come to repentance. From there, Jesus rebukes the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. He tells the multitude that it will be better for the towns of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom which were known as wicked places that had been judged by God. Each of these towns and the deeds done in them routinely could warrant a deeper look.

In general, Jesus has performed a number of miracles in the rebuked towns, but He was not acknowledged and the people did not repent. Jesus says that if those same deeds had been done in those cities which had long ago been judged they would’ve repented in sackcloth. Not so for the cities Jesus has personally visited and Jesus is disgusted with their hardness. Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom had all disobeyed God’s law and Word and they were punished. These current 3 cities have witnessed the Word made flesh, dwelling among them and have refused all opportunities to be made right.

When Jesus said “Woe to you (the rebuked cities) He was declaring a warning to them. These cities have had greater opportunity to come to salvation but refused. How much opportunity have our cities and nation had? If we are judged incrementally by the opportunities granted, how bad will it be for our cities and people? What judgment awaits our own lands? Move forward men, acknowledge the truth granted to us and believe Him. Don’t miss an opportunity to repent and turn even the smallest, most private things over to His hand. The evidence is sufficient for our acceptance of His Word.

How will we be known, to history and to heaven? Decide well.

Vance Durrance

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