"And the word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord,‘ say: ‘A sword, a sword is sharpened and also polished, sharpened for slaughter, polished to flash like lightning!‘ (Or shall we rejoice? You have despised the rod, My son, with everything of wood.) So the sword is given to be polished, that it may be grasped in the hand. It is sharpened and polished to be given into the hand of the slayer. Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is against My people.'" - Ezekiel 21:8-12
God had given Judah every opportunity to repent, called the people to repentance in every possible way, and even applied every imaginable means of disciplinary correction (the “rod and everything of wood”) but they hadn’t listened. Fortified by false prophets, they hardened their hearts, ignored His Word, and persisted in their pursuit of sinful pleasure. Now, instead of a rod of correction the sword of destruction would come.
In I Corinthians 10 the Apostle Paul reminds us, “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.” (1 Corinthians 10:6). And the Lord Jesus warned the Church, “I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:5) In our country today, we are just beginning to see the phase of disciplinary correction. Many Christians and entire churches have abandoned the Word of God and instead listened to false prophets who use human reasoning in its place to excuse and promote sinful behavior. God’s call to repentance and faith is going unheeded and the rod of correction will follow. We see the looming threat of anti-Christian legislation and society’s attempt to cancel and silence anyone who dares to cling to biblical values as persecution, but it’s really the beginning of God’s loving discipline. The rod of correction is meant to drive us to seek God in sincere repentance and faith. At what point do we transition from the rod of correction to the sword of destruction? Only God knows the answer to that. But in these last days, the time is short and we should prepare for the future, whatever that brings, by responding quickly to God’s call now. Keep short accounts with God. Don’t let your heart dabble in sin. Keep your walk with Him clear. Fill your heart with His Word, and determine now to live close to Jesus, whatever comes. Lord, only You know the future, and in your living mercy You have shown us all we need to know to carry us through. Keep us close to You. Show me what needs correction in my life and give me a heart that responds to Your grace. Let Your forgiveness be the identifying mark of my life, in Jesus’ name. Amen. Pastor Dan Giles