“THESE THREE MEN” Part One
Last days Fellowship Sunday June 24, 2018, 11 AM
Pastor Bob Kuebler www.youthwithapurpose.org firstname.lastname@example.org 716-830-8240
Our main “Focus Scripture” for this morning is Ezekiel 14:14 and the phrase that stopped me stone-cold in my reading tracks was:
Ezekiel 14:14 NKJV “Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord God.”
Ezekiel 14:14 The Message “even if Noah, Daniel, and Job—the Big Three—were alive at the time, it wouldn’t do the population any good. Their righteousness would only save their own lives.” Decree of God, the Master.”
“these three men.”
- Who were these three guys?
- Why were they special?
- Do they have something that I don’t have?
- What can I do to be more like them?
“Fathergiveness.” I couldn’t find that word anywhere but I was topped in m y tracks by the following verse and the footnotes below.
Luke 23:32-34 The Passion Translation “Two criminals were led away with Jesus, and all three were to be execut-ed together. 33 When they came to the place that is known as The Skull, the guards crucified Jesus, nailing him on the center cross between the two criminals. 34 While they were nailing Jesus to the cross, he prayed over and over, “Father, for-give them,[a] for they don’t know what they’re doing.”
Footnotes: Luke 23:34 The Greek text implies a repetitive action. He did not pray, “forgive me,” but “forgive them.” As the centurion crushed him to the ground and tied his arms to the crossbeam, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them.” When the spikes tore through each quivering palm, he prayed again, “Father, forgive them.” And when the soldiers parted his garments and gambled for the seamless robe, again Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them.” Only heaven knows how many times that prayer was spoken.
It appears that Jesus “double-downed” in forgiveness in the midst of being “double-downed” in rejection, abandonment, torture and death. (The word “Fathergiveness” came to me last week. The word “double-down” came to me this morning. This is an ex-ample of bones of my understanding receiving the flesh of God’s wisdom.) Double down – As I awoke this morning thinking about “these three men,” the word “double down” came to me as one of their powerful attributes. I later noticed that Jesus was a “double-downer” as well.
Definitions & Descriptions of Double Down
“doubling the original bid in blackjack in exchange for only one more card”
“becoming more tenacious, zealous, or resolute in a position or undertaking”
“as a general expression, “doubling down” means to increase your emphasis on a particular course of action - especially if it may be seen as questionable by some.”
“increase one's efforts or focus”
These Three Men - Part One
As we begin our study, Ezekiel is in the middle of a prophesy of doom. Folks are doing bad things and God will let them reap the bad consequences of ignoring Him. I was at a meeting in a Buffalo Charter School when I heard a young man say: “This is going to be a bad summer because the shootings have already started!” There have already been a few instances of young people shooting and gangsterizing neighborhoods. He thought of himself as a prophet of doom and gladly shared his message of gloom. Bad things happen when people turn away from God – history does repeat itself. God is our ever-loving Father who repeatedly doubles-down His grace and forgiveness.
While we examine “these three men,” it’s also important to take a look at the one man who thought it was so important to write about them – Ezekiel. Part One will cover Ezekiel, Noah and some of the attributes that all four of the men had as tendencies in their relationship with God and their character in relationship to man. Part Two at a later date will cover Daniel and Job in greater detail.
Who was Ezekiel and “These Three Men”: Noah, Daniel and Job? Two of them were dead old-heads with a humble history of being rock solid role models of integrity for God. One of them was a “still-alive young-head” who gives us cause to double-down on our efforts of duplicating their heroic lifestyles in today’s world.
1. Ezekiel – A Prophet of Doom & Hope
Ezekiel was an “Exilic Prophet” meaning that he was among those who were exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon around 597 BC. He prophesied as an exile in Babylon telling the people that Jerusalem would fall. It eventually did fall around 586 BC. Ezekiel’s message was plain: Be obedient to God in exile. He also prophesied about the redemption of the people and return to Jerusalem as God’s glory returns to fill the Temple.
Ezekiel did some odd things to symbolically prove the points that his prophesies were meant to portray. He has a vision of wheels in the first ever recorded “God-mobile.” He shaves with a sword, He lays on his left side for 390 days and then turns over to the right side for 40 days. He did ask God to be spare from cooking on human dung and used cow dung instead. His diet included eating scrolls of parchment. If you were the average exile in Babylon and you saw this crazy Prophet meandering down the street, you’d probably cross to the other side. He was dramatic, odd and obedient to God’s message. How would you react if you heard a voice that told you to lay on your side for 390 days and eat food cooked on dung? You might be tempted like me to tell satan to get out of your head!
The KJV translates Strong's H3168 in the following manner: Ezekiel (2x), Jehezekel (1x).
Outline of Biblical Usage: Ezekiel or Jehezekel = "God strengthens"
A. son of Buzi and a priest and prophet; author of the book by his name; taken captive with Jehoiachin and exiled in Babylon where he prophesied for the next 22 years
B. a priest in charge of the 20th course in the time of David
Strong’s Definitions: יְחֶזְקֵאל Yᵉchezqêʼl, yekh-ez-kale'; from H2388 and H410; God will strengthen; Jechezkel, the name of two Israelites:—Ezekiel, Jehezekel.
H2388 - Chazaq The KJV translates Strong's H2388 in the following manner: strong (48x), repair (47x), hold (37x), strengthened (28x), strengthen (14x), harden (13x), prevail (10x), encourage (9x), take (9x), courage (8x), caught (5x), stronger (5x), hold (5x), (You could probably add “double-down” to this list!)
Outline of Biblical Usage
to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm, be resolute, be sore, to be strong, grow strong, to prevail, prevail upon
H410 - The KJV translates Strong's H410 in the following manner: God (213x), god (16x), power (4x), mighty (5x), goodly (1x), great (1x), idols (1x), Immanuel (with H6005) (2x), might (1x), strong (1x).
Outline of Biblical Usage:
god, god-like one, mighty one, mighty men, men of rank, mighty heroes, angels, god, false god, (demons, imaginations), God, the one true God, Jehovah, mighty things in nature, strength, power
Immanuel (with H6005) (2x) Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. H410 H6005 Isa 8:8 And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.
2. Noah – A Preacher of Righteousness
The KJV translates Strong's H5146 in the following manner: Noah (46x).
Noah = "rest" - son of Lamech, father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth; builder of the ark which saved his family from the destruction of the world which God sent on the world by the flood; became the new seminal head of mankind because his family were the only survivors of the flood
(Strong’s Definitions Legend) נֹחַ Nôach, no'-akh; the same as H5118; rest; Noach, the patriarch of the flood:—Noah.
2 Peter 2:5 Amplified Bible “and if He did not spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought [the judgment of] a flood upon the world of the ungodly;”
Noah remained a righteous man for over 900 years; we only have to do it for less than 1/9 of that time! Noah faced ridicule, tests of obedience, catastrophe and then experienced a revival as the flood waters receded and a world was reseeded and repopulated through his righteousness. Hebrews 11:7 Amplified Bible “By faith [with confidence in God and His word] Noah, being warned by God about events not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his family. By this [act of obedience] he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith.”
Noah did everything that God told him to do. Genesis 6:22 International Children’s Bible “Noah did everything that God commanded him.”
Noah was in the world, but he was also above the world. He was in the world, but not of the world.
1 John 2:15-17 (TPT) A Warning Not to Love the World
15 Don’t set the affections of your heart on this world[a] or in loving the things of the world. The love of the Father and the love of the world are incompatible.[b] 16 For all that the world can offer us—the gratification of our flesh, the allurement of the things of the world, and the obsession with status and importance[c]—none of these things come from the Father but from the world. 17 This world[d] and its desires are in the process of passing away, but those who love to[e] do the will of God live forever.[f]
a. 1 John 2:15 Or “Stop loving the world system” (the ways of the world).
b. 1 John 2:15 Or “If anyone persists in loving the world, there is no love for the Father in him.”
c. 1 John 2:16 These are the three areas of temptation that the serpent used with Adam and Eve in the garden to pull them away from the Father and what the devil used to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. He is an expert at using these cravings to dilute our love for the Father and cause us to turn our affections to the things of this life. See Gen. 3:6; Matt. 4:1-11. But the values of the kingdom of God are setting our affections on things above, living in the fruit of the Spirit (self-control), and humility, which always waits for God’s timing for promotion.
d. 1 John 2:17 That is, the world system and the desire to be in a world system that leaves God out of the picture are disappearing. Planet earth is not fading away here, but the systems, structure, and world order are.
e. 1 John 2:17 Implied in the Greek present-tense verb, which means “to continually [habitually] do the will of God.”
f. 1 John 2:17 There is an interesting word play in the Aramaic in this verse. The Aramaic word for “world” is alma, and the word for “forever” is alam.
Romans 12:2 The Passion Translation
“Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you,[a] but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.” Footnotes: Romans 12:2 Or “Don’t be squeezed into the mold of this present age.”
A word about “Systems” and “Whole System Planning” – A Dream.
I had a dream last week that I believe was God’s way of showing me the current system and culture in many churches. Here is my dream:
I was in a very old house with someone giving me a tour, much like the way a real estate agent would. The house was old and partially gutted. Walls were open, I could see old wall paper, plaster and lathe and old wiring. As I walked through the second floor, I found myself standing in what appeared to be a closet. The funny thing about this closet is it had a chandelier partially hanging out of the ceiling. It was like someone had tried to make a dining room out of a closet. The small closet had a blanket or sheet covering one wall and seemed to suggest that it had also been used a s a bedroom.
In the opened wall was a piece of cardboard. In the olden days, newspaper and cardboard were used as an added insulation or a means to cut down on wind drafts in the walls. The cardboard was from a box that a mattress or box-spring came in. Written on the cardboard were these words: “1965 – You can lose 450 calories by sleeping on this mattress!” End of dream.
Putting The Flesh of God's Wisdom On The Bones of My Dream
I’ve prayed and will continue to pray that God would put the flesh of His wisdom on the bones of my dream. What is becoming apparent to me is the “old way of doing church is the accepted normal of doing church, but it’s not God’s way of doing church.” I use the term “doing church” as a meaning in several ways including Sunday services and the structure of church systems. God doesn’t want us to eat the Bread of Life in a closet turned into a dining room. He is a God of intricate detail and structured excellence. Some folks are sleepwalking through a dinner meeting with the King. Snake oil salesmen sell fraudulent claims to gullible folks. Emotionalism, false preachers, profit preachers and false prophets all claim to hear from God. The Word of Truth is the greatest sword of protection that will divide deceit from accuracy.
All systems in a church are connected and affect each other. The outside of a building reflects the heart of the folks inside just like the actions of your mouth and hands reveal what’s in your heart. If God’s mercies are new each day, why do folks insist on maintaining and repeating yesterday? God is a God of order and unlimited opportunity to enlarge His kingdom. It’s time to double-down on repentance and intimacy with God. It’s the season to double-down on Love. It’s time to double-down on the efforts of whole-system planning for our churches. It’s time to double-down on Love and wash away the slovenliness and apathetic attitudes of a spiritually lukewarm “anything goes” generation.