Righteousness and knowing God…

Ezekiel 14

I read some more in Ezekiel this morning. I like reading the minor prophets because even though a lot of it is judgment and warnings, it is all straight from the mouth of God.  It is listening to God speak. And even if His words were being spoken to a group of people who died thousands of years ago, God’s heart and mind and perspective still comes through. (And some of it applies to us anyway…probably more than we realize or want to admit.)

Ezekiel 14 contains warnings against the nation, and several times, He says that “even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in the city, their righteousness would not be enough to save any one else other than themselves.”

Several things about this statement struck me.

First, I’m encouraged by this that their righteousness would save them! God is just, and later in the chapter, He says there will be a remnant that is saved.

But I also found myself wondering… why those three?

If I were to ask who the greatest men in the Old Testament were, who comes to mind? List your own three if you want.

Many people would say Moses, David, and Elijah. The Bible talks over and over again about how great they were. Yet God didn’t mention any of them here! Instead he talked about Noah, Daniel, and Job…and He talked about their righteousness.

I’m wondering if…or rather what…is the difference in God’s eyes between righteousness and greatness?

It is true that the stories of these three men do talk about their righteousness…yet did they know God? I mean, Moses was the friend of God, whom the Lord spoke to face to face…yet God did not think of Him in His list of most righteous men. David was the man after God’s own heart, yet he obviously was not necessarily a righteous man. Both, in fact, were murderers.

I found myself praying.

Lord, this is a paradox! Why would he one whom You chose to call Your friend not be among the most righteous? What was it about Moses and David that brought them close to Your heart, since it evidently wasn’t their righteousness? Was it because You delight in lavishing grace and mercy on those who continuously seek after You?

Then I thought of my quest to know God’s voice and hear Him speak. 

What about Isaiah, Lord? What about the list of those who heard You so amazingly clearly? 

Isaiah heard You speak volumes of amazingly clear and specific prophecies, yet You haven’t really told us much about him otherwise. The only hints we have that I know if, is that he was fully aware of his own sin, yet he was willing to go when You asked for someone to send.

Then there’s Daniel who clearly heard from You, and he is listed among Your most righteous.

And then Moses, who filled books with what You told him…and David did, too, I suppose, for the Psalms are more prophetic than they seem. And they weren’t on Your list of most righteous men.

I remember, Lord, that Isaiah said he was willing when You asked. Daniel asked that You would give him the interpretation of the king’s dream (and the dream itself) and he believed You could/would do it, though there is no record of him ever hearing from You like that before. David and Moses both asked to know You. Elisha asked for Elijah’s anointing, though he may not have asked to be his apprentice in the beginning.

There’s no record of Ezekiel asking, though. Jeremiah didn’t either…You said You chose him to prophesy before he was conceived.

So Father, it is evident that when it comes to hearing from You, asking is not a necessary part…You can just chose someone and give them no choice. 

Yet there are several who were not righteous and who did ask…and You drew them to Your heart, and You spoke to them and showed them who You are.

I was going to ask if there are any stories of those who asked and You did not give it…but I wouldn’t find any, would I Father? For You said that those who seek You will find You. 

You might not choose to make everyone who seeks You a Moses or a David…at least with the position and attention and power…but does that really matter? Surely for those whom You show Yourself to, simply knowing You is the reward.

I want to know You, Father. I want to know You, know You. Really know You and Your heart…even though I’m not righteous. I throw myself upon Your grace and mercy, for that is the only way…

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