5 Cush and Libya, Lydia and all Arabia, Kub and the people of the covenant land will fall by the sword along with Egypt.
11 I gave it into the hands of the ruler of the nations, for him to deal with according to its wickedness. I cast it aside,
8 All the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you; I will bring darkness over your land, declares the Sovereign Lord. 9 I will trouble the hearts of many peoples when I bring about your destruction among the nations, among lands you have not known.
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Today’s New Testament reading is subtitled “Living For God” in my NIV bible. It seems ironic that it is paired with three chapters of Ezekiel with subtitles like “A Lament Over Egypt,” “Pharaoh’s Arms Are Broken,” “Pharaoh as a Felled Cedar of Lebanon,” “A Lament Over Pharaoh,” and “Egypt’s Descent Into the Realm of the Dead.” It is clear that God has lost all patience with Pharaoh and the People of Egypt. He is describing some pretty drastic corrections to a nation that has definitely not been “Living for God.”
The real question for me is “how do I live for God?” Peter says that I must live in a way that encourages prayer. He also says I must love my neighbors, watch what I say and how I say it, and put other people’s needs above my own. It seems like every lesson on living for God comes down to the same three things. Love God, love your neighbor, and die to self. It seems like I’ve heard those words before. Jesus taught the same thing when asked what the greatest commandment was. It must be important! I guess I will keep working on this. I don’t want to be found wanting as the Egyptians were in these chapters of Ezekiel.
Father God, help me to die to myself and surrender all to You. Help me to love my neighbor and to seek You with all my heart. I want desperately to live my life for You. Open my eyes so that I may see Your truth. Guide my steps so that I won’t be found wanting on the great day of judgment. Grant me strength so that I may stand strong in my faith when failure looms before me.