Hello friends! Today we continue our time with Ezekiel and this time Ezekiel points his attention and wrath mostly to the city of Tyre. Tyre has been mentioned a few times before this, namely in Joshua, but it is also later mentioned and visited by Jesus and Paul as well after it has been claimed by Rome following the destruction that Ezekiel talks about. Tyre is part of modern day Lebanon and was famous for it's naval prowess and abundant trade. You'll get a taste for how impressive its trade was in today and tomorrow's reading. With that said, things are less "Ezekiel" that normal, which is a nice change of pace.
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this teach me about God?
What does this reading reveal the people were struggling with at the time? In other words, what things in the "news" is this reading in response to? (Best guess)
What about this reading, if anything, feels applicable and helpful for today? As an individual, church, and world?
- My Thoughts -
Tyre almost sounds like an Atlantis myth in the way it is described sinking to the bottom of the sea and described as this ornate and beautiful place. But, alas we know that this is metaphorical as Tyre still exists today, and Jesus visited it after Rome took over. So this is not Altantis (sad face). While I was reading this I was led to the ever so popular question that church growth consultants like use when challenging their clients. "If your church were to close tomorrow, who from outside the church would even notice, or miss you when you were gone?" It's a hyper aggressive to make churches look in the mirror and ask themselves how much of a genuine impact they are making in their community. Tyre sounds like a place that was super effective for the world at the time. Ezekiel describes it almost in golden age American terminology with people from all over the world flocking to it to contribute to it's ships and it's trade. The epicenter of the world for trade and global economy. The land of oppurtunity. I really like readings like this because it causes me to both appreciate our country, but also reminds me that it's not bulletproof or impervious, and that like Rome and Tyre before us, any great empire can fall when it's taken for granted.
The media is a doing a really good job at stoking those fears to incite the belief that we are right at the edge and that America is at risk any day of falling like Rome. President Trump's campaign was to "Save America" and much of the conspiracy shared by Q Anon and the like is spreading that unless something is changed we are doomed to fail. I've noticed a large number of my friends on FB sharing that they've never "been so afraid for our country before". As I read about Tyre sinking into the ocean as a melting pot of people wail and lament it's loss, I can't help but imagine if the people of Tyre shared similar sentiments on "TyreBook" (haha)
But the Psalm really speaks to that fear, doesn't it? David, like the people of Tyre, and the US, mention that they are in fear and are seeking from God to remember them. David writes "I am on the verge of collapse, facing constant pain. But I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done." (Psalm 38: 17-18) Each of us has given into the sin of nationalism to some degree. We've all had more faith in the strength and prosperity of the US than in God. We've all participated and benefited from the global stock market and have often used those gains to make more gains. We've participated in the American dream, but is the kingdom of God synonymous with that dream or a different one entirely? So, let us shed our sins and fears associated with the future of this country and put our trust in a God who assures us time and time again that we will be cared for, provided for, and made anew. Instead of looking to "Tyre" and mourning for what it could be, let us look to God as David concludes Psalm 38 by saying "Do not abandon me, O Lord. Do not stand at a distance, my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord my savior." (Ps 38: 21-22)
Our prayer for today is inspired by hymn 193 in our United Methodist Hymnal - Jesus! The Name High Over All. (A good ole Charles Wesley hymn!) I invite you to simply listen to the hymn and meditate in quiet praise to God, or hum, sing, or recite the words aloud as you make these words your own. May your soul be well till we meet tomorrow.
1. Jesus! the name high over all, in hell or earth or sky; angels and mortals prostrate fall, and devils fear and fly.
2. Jesus! the name to sinners dear, the name to sinners given; it scatters all their guilty fear, it turns their hell to heaven.
3. O that the world might taste and see the riches of his grace! The arms of love that compass me would all the world embrace.
4. Thee I shall constantly proclaim, though earth and hell oppose; bold to confess thy glorious name before a world of foes.
5. His only righteousness I show, his saving truth proclaim; 'tis all my business here below to cry, "Behold the Lamb!"
6. Happy, if with my latest breath I may but gasp his name, preach him to all and cry in death, "Behold, behold the Lamb!"