Noah, Daniel & Job
Would you take your Bibles please and turn to Ezekiel 14:12-23...
This certainly is not the first time in the book of Ezekiel as we have been going through it on Sunday night...
That we have seen a passage of scripture dealing with the judgment of God.
As a matter of fact, there have been numerous passages of scripture so far in the book of Ezekiel...
Concerning the judgment of God.
But having said that, there is something that I find to be a little unique and different about this passage of scripture.
I believe that what Ezekiel is doing here under the inspiration of the voice of God...
Is answering the three major misconceptions concerning Godís judgment.
When you think about all youíve ever heard about the judgment of God...
And you think about what people have said about the judgment of God...
There basically are three primary false views of divine judgment.
And I want to share with you what those three views are...
And then share with you from the word of God how those views are not right but are wrong.
>First of all, there is a view that says God does not send judgment.
God does not send judgment.
Secondly, there is a view that says a person can be exempt from the judgment of God...
If he or she is in association with the right people.
And then the third false view is that the judgment of God represents something that is mean-spirited...
And unfair about the character of God.
Godís judgment is mean-spirited and unfair.
So I want to look at those three false views of the judgment of God based on this passage of scripture.
>First of all, there are some who say that God does not send judgment at all.
Now there are several reasons why people say that.
There are some who say that God does not send judgment because God does not exist.
This of course would be the answer of the atheist.
There is no God...God does not exist...there never has been a God.
God is nothing more than some kind of a figment dreamed up in the minds of the imagination of men.
God does not exist.
He is not real, and therefore, it is impossible for him to send judgment because he does not really exist.
Now most people have more sense than that.
The Bible says, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God".
And so the Bible does not have very many complimentary things to say about atheism.
>But not only are there some who say that God does not send judgment because he does not exist...
There are some who say that God does not send judgment today because God has grown indifferent to manís sin.
Now maybe itís because God has gotten older and wiser.
Or maybe itís because God has gotten older and Alzheimerís has set in.
Or maybe itís because the world is now so heavily populated that itís just too big for good old God to keep up with.
But for whatever reason you might want to lay out, there are some who say that God does not send judgment...
Because God is indifferent to manís sin.
>Now folks, I want to tell you, if you believe that God is indifferent to manís sins...
Then youíve missed all that the Bible says about the holiness and righteousness of God.
Thereís not anything that a person does that goes unnoticed by God.
Be careful little hands what you hold, for the Father up above is looking down in love. Be careful little feet where you go. The Father up above is looking down in love.
Be careful little eyes what you see, the Father up above is looking down in love...
Listen friends, in one of those doxologies in the book of Ephesians Paul says:
Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.
God not only knows what I do and where I go and what I say, God even knows what I think.
And friend, Iím telling you, there wonít be any computer crashes or viruses in heaven.
The records of heaven are kept pure and God knows everything about us.
And so too say there will be no divine judgment because God is indifferent to sin is just plain silly.
>And then there are some who say...
"Well God will never send judgment because God is just too loving a God to send judgment."
Have you ever heard that?
God is just too loving a God to send anybody to hell.
God is too loving a God to send any kind of judgment on anybody.
God is just a good old grandfather in the sky.
Heís kind and tender and heís loving and heís just too loving to send judgment.
Now may I say to you, God is kind and tender and loving...
But he does not let his kindness and his tenderness and loving nature...
Rule out the fact that he is a holy and righteous God.
None of those great characteristics that we like to talk about and sing about...
The loving kindness of God, the mercy of God, and the grace of God, all that is true.
But they do not eliminate the fact that God is holy and righteous and higher and separate from sinners.
All of that is equally just as true.
And so those who say that God doesnít send judgment because heís too loving or is indifferent or doesnít exist...
They are just mistaken, because you see, the Bible presents a terrifically different point of view.
>The Bible tells us in plain English that God does send judgment.
As a matter of fact, in this passage of scripture God takes an oath that he will send judgment...
And he takes that oath not upon something or someone else, but on his own life.
Look there in verse 16: "As surely as I live", declares the Sovereign LORD, "even if those three men were in it, they could not save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved but the land would be desolate."
Notice he says, "as surely as I live".
It is as though God is taking an oath, raising his hand and swearing, "As surely as I am a living God...
As surely as I am a living God, as I live I will send judgment."
>He says the same thing down in verse 18: "As surely as I live", declares the Sovereign LORD, "even if these three men were in it, they could not save their own sons and daughters. They alone would be saved.
And then in verse 20 he says it again: "As surely as I live", declares the Sovereign LORD, "even if Noah, David and Job were in it"...
God says, "As I live, I will send judgment...
Just as surely as I am a living God, just as surely as I am a God who has eyes to see and ears to hear...
And a mouth to speak and hands that handle and feet that can move swiftly...
Just as sure as I am a living God, I will send judgment."
>But not only does the Bible tell us that God sends judgment...
The Bible tells us that God sends different kinds of judgment.
There are four of them that are listed here in this text.
In verses 13 and 14, he talks about famine.
Famine means lack of food.
The food supply is gone and people starve to death.
Now we can live for a short period of time without food.
Jesus lasted for 40 days and I know of some Christians who have fasted for 40 days.
And so we can live a while without food, some of us longer than others.
We can live a while without food.
But we cannot live forever without food.
There comes a time when our body cries out to be fed, and when that cry is ignored...
The body will cease to be able to function.
And when the body can no longer function, the body dies.
We have to eat...or die...
And famine means an absence of a supply of food.
>Now that can come as a result of a number of things.
There can be a drought and there be no rain.
And when the rain dries up there are not going to be any gardens or crops growing.
There will be no corn and peas and tomatoes or green beans.
All of that will be gone.
And so a drought can cause famine to come.
A plague of locusts can come through and cause a famine to come.
They will eat up all the crops, and there will be none to replace them.
There can be other kinds of storms that might come.
Or you might be in a walled city like many of the cities of the Bible...
And enemy troops will have you surrounded and no food supplies are able to come in to you.
As a result, you have a famine inside the walls of the city.
And so sometimes God says, "I send a judgment of famine."
>Secondly he says, there was a famine of wild beasts.
We read about those wild beast judgments of God in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy...
And we see a picture of it in the book of Numbers.
In Numbers 21, the Bible tells us that Moses was leading the children of Israel through the wilderness.
And they got out there and began to whine and bellyache on God.
Now sometimes folks say, "Bro. Joe, you should not use a word like bellyache in church."
But Iíve never found many Baptists who didnít know what bellyaching meant.
It means they were griping and murmuring and complaining on God.
And so the Bible says that he sent fiery serpents upon them.
And thatís just real fancy language for poisonous snakes.
And man when God sent those poisonous snakes on that bunch of bellyaching Jews...
Those snakes began to crawl and they were all venomous snakes.
I had a 10th grade biology teacher, Mr. Haynes, and he said...
"Now the way you tell that a snake is poisonous or nonpoisonous is to look in his eyes and see which way they are slanted."
Friend, Iím never gonna do that.
I mean, Iíll give a snake the benefit of a doubt.
Heís poisonous and I can...as Buddy says, "I can kill him with heel dust as Iím running away."
God sent fiery serpents.
Whatever way their eyes were supposed to go, they went that way and they began...
The Bible says, "They began to bite the children of Israel, and much people."
That means a lot of Ďem, "much people of Israel died."
I mean they just started falling over dead.
You know what they did?
They did what you should do.
They ran to the preacher.
They said, "Moses, weíve sinned..."
Moses said, "Yeah, I know you have."
And they said, "Well Moses, weíre sorry, and you tell God weíre not gonna do it anymore."
You see, that was a judgment of God, a judgment of wild beasts.
>But also in this passage of scripture, God sent not only a judgment of famine...
Or promised to send a judgment of famine and wild beasts...
God has the ability to send a judgment of a sword.
There in verses 16 and 17, he talks about the judgment of a sword.
God can raise up ungodly men and use them like he did the Philistines and others in the Bible...
Against the people of God.
God can use even the wicked as his tool of righteousness in executing judgment from heaven.
And sometimes God sends judgments of wild beasts.
Sometimes he sends judgment of famine.
Sometimes he sends judgments of war.
>And the fourth one mentioned here is a plague.
And that means some kind of a contagious disease.
Maybe something like tuberculosis.
Maybe something like AIDS.
Maybe something worse.
Maybe something not so bad.
But God can send some kind of a plague as a form of judgment.
The book of Revelation tells us that yonder in the days to come in the days of the tribulation...
That God is going to send a plague.
One of the bowls that is poured out by one of the judging angels of God...
Is a bowl of pestilential death.
You see God not only does send judgment...
God has numerous tools in his arsenal to judge with.
>But now letís think about that second error about the judgment of God.
Some say God doesnít send judgment.
Thatís false. Thatís wrong.
Then there are some who say, "Well God may send judgment, but you will be spared.
You will be exempt of that judgment if you know the right people."
>One day Shell and I went to visit a guy.
He is a very nice guy.
Just as friendly and hospitable as you could ask.
You know sometimes lost people are nicer to you than Christian people are.
And I mean he was just as nice, and finally Bro. Shell asked him, "Have you ever given your heart to Jesus?"
And he said, "No sir. Iíve never been saved."
And I asked him, "Well if you were to die today, where would you go?"
He said, "Iíd go to heaven."
Now thatís very interesting because most men that are honest enough to admit they are lost...
Are honest enough to admit they are going to hell when they die.
Now a lady will lie about that, but a man will usually tell you the truth.
If a men tells you heís lost, heíll usually tell you he is going to hell.
And I asked him, "Why do you believe you would go to heaven if you were to die if youíve never been saved?"
He said, "Because of my mother."
He said, "My mother was the greatest Christian woman that ever lived on the earth...
She always loved me and she always prayed for me Ė carried me to church...
Man, we never missed church.
I know that my mother who died some years ago is in heaven praying for me...
And God is going to let me come to heaven because of the prayers of my mother."
I said, "The Bible says that over yonder the former things are passed away...
Your mama hasnít even thought about you since sheís been in heaven...
And besides that, what if your mama had been a harlot, a prostitute, and had died and gone to hell...
Do you think it would be fair for God to send you to hell because of your mother?"
"Oh no, that wouldnít be fair."
"Well, if itís not fair for God to send you to hell because of your mother...
Itís not fair for him to send you to heaven because of her either."
He didnít get saved.
>In this passage of scripture that I read to you there are the names of three Bible men...
Mentioned at least two times and referred to at least two other times.
A man by the name of Noah.
A man by the name of Daniel.
And a man by the name of Job.
Now we know about Noah and Job.
They lived way, way, hundreds of years before Ezekiel.
But now Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel, and there are some Bible commentary writers...
That say this Daniel was not the Daniel of the Bible...
But it was another Daniel referred to in Ugaritic writings.
Now the problem with that is, the Daniel that is referred to in Ugaritic writings...
Is a man who did not worship Jehovah God.
He was an idolater, and I have real difficulty believing that God would take a man as an idolater...
Who didnít even worship God and use him to be an example of righteousness.
I have a little problem with that.
I believe this is the Daniel of the Bible.
I believe itís the same Daniel that was in the lionís den.
I believe itís the same Daniel that wrote the book of Daniel.
But he refers to Noah, he refers to Daniel, he refers to Job...
To set them up as three examples of righteous men.
These were righteous men.
These were godly men.
All the world was destroyed except Noah and his family because Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
Daniel was a man of righteousness.
Thatís why he experienced all of the hardship and difficulties he endured...
Not because heíd done something wrong, but because he had done something right.
Job was a righteous man of God.
Job did all he could to serve and honor and live for the Lord.
And so here are three men.
>Now what this is saying I believe simply is this.
There are some who believe that because they can have a righteous man somehow in their association...
That when the judgment of God comes they will be spared because of their connections with these three men.
Now Noah and Job were not even living at the time.
Theyíd already died hundreds of years before.
Daniel was alive, but Daniel was a man...
That even Daniel himself could not exempt anybody else from the judgment of God.
Thatís why God says four times concerning these three men...
"If this judgment comes, not even Noah and Daniel and Job could exempt even their sons and daughters."
Now when the flood came, Noah was a man of God.
His sons and their wives and his wife were exempt.
But in the judgment that God says is going to come...
Not even Noah or Job or Daniel can exempt anybody except Noah and Job and Daniel.
Nobody is going to escape the judgment of God just because they know somebody.
Nobody is going to escape the judgment of God just because they are friends with somebody.
But somehow people feel a little better when they know somebody that knows the Lord.
>You talk to some people about their relationship with God and theyíll say something like this...
"Oh well, my motherís first husbandís brother was a preacher."
That doesnít mean one thing.
The idea that we can be exempt from the judgment of God just because we know somebody.
Where did that idea come from?
Iím not sure...It may have come out of the book of Genesis.
>In Genesis 18 God said: "Iím going to send judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah."
And Abraham began to intercede for the cities and said...
"Now Lord, will you destroy the righteous with the unrighteous?
Lord, what if there are fifty righteous there in the cities? Will you send judgment?"
God said, "No. If you find fifty righteous I wonít send judgment."
Abraham goes out looking and he comes and says, "Lord, Iím having a little trouble finding fifty."
God said, "I figured you would."
"Well Lord, what if I can only find forty?"
God says, "You find forty and Iíll hold back my judgment."
Abraham comes back and says, "Lord, do you mind if we reduce that down to thirty?
Iím having a hard time in Sodom and Gomorrah."
God says, "If you find thirty"...
A little later he comes back and says, "Lord, what if I can only find twenty?"
"You find twenty and Iíll exempt the judgment."
Finally he comes back and says, "Lord, what if I can only find ten?"
God said, "You find ten and Iíll not send the judgment."
Well Abraham couldnít find ten...and the judgment came.
So maybe there are some who believe that because of that one seemingly illustration in the Bible...
Which did not work, by the way.
If Iím gonna find me a biblical illustration I want to find something that worked, amen?
This one didnít work.
Maybe thatís where the idea came from that when God sends his judgment...
"Iíll be okay because my brother is a preacher or my mamaís a SS teacher...
Or my daddy is a deacon, and Iíll just be covered by them."
But folks, I want to tell you, the judgment of God is very, very personal.
God will not send judgment and no one will be exempt because of some political influence of somebody else.
>And then finally, there are some who say that God never sends judgment.
There are some who say people can be spared the judgment of God if they know somebody and thatís wrong.
And then there are some who say, "Well, God does send judgment but itís because God is mean-spirited and unfair."
You see friends, there are some who believe that God just sits up in heaven arbitrarily deciding...
"Now this one is going to heaven and this one is going to hell to fry.
This one Iím going to love and this one Iím going to hate.
This one Iím going to bless and this one Iím going to curse."
And I want to tell you that I donít believe that.
I donít believe that God ever arbitrarily hated anybody.
I donít believe that God every arbitrarily consigned anybody to go to hell.
Godís judgment is not because God is mean and unfair.
>Look in verses 22 and 23.
In verses 22 and 23, there is a word if weíll understand what it means.
It lets us see that the judgment of God is not mean and it is not unfair.
Yet there will be some survivors, sons and daughters who will be brought out of it. They will come to you and when you see their conduct and their actions, you will be consoled regarding the disaster I have brought upon Jerusalem.
This word "consoled" here is a word that means they will change your mind.
It will change your mind.
God says, "Iím going to send judgment."
It may be a judgment of famine...
It may be a judgment of wild beasts...
It may be a judgment with the sword...
It may be another kind of judgment, plague or whatever.
But God says, "When I send judgment, there are going to be some that think I am mean and unkind and unfair.
There are going to b e some that think Iím just arbitrarily hateful and spiteful.
But Iím going to let some come out of that judgment."
God says, "and youíre going to see how wicked they are and how immoral they are and how ungodly they are...
And when you see them coming out of that judgment, youíre going to know...
Youíre going to have a change of mind, a change of heart, and youíre going to understand."
Look what he says there in verse 22, the second part:
You will be consoled regarding the disaster I have brought upon Jerusalem. Every disaster I have brought upon it.
Folks, I want to tell you, when God sends judgment he does not do it without cause.
He does it with plenty of cause.
God is patient and loving and longsuffering.
God is not willing that any should perish.
But there comes a day when the holiness of God has been so insulted and so offended that God says...
"All right, Iíve had it. Iím fed up. No more."
And when the judgment of God comes, it comes with plenty of cause, and that cause is the sinfulness of man.
God does send judgment...
And you cannot escape the judgment of God just because you are associated with somebody.
And Godís judgment is not unfair and itís not mean.
>Well let me just conclude by saying three simple little things.
#1 Ė sin demands the judgment of God.
Ruth Graham, the sweet Presbyterian wife of Billy Graham, says that if God doesnít judge America...
He will have to apologize to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Now personally I donít believe God is ever going to have to apologize to anybody...
But I do understand what she means by that because our sinfulness as a nation...
Surely is greater than the sinfulness of Sodom and Gomorrah.
If not in quality at least in quantity, there are a lot more of us than there were of them.
Sin does demand the judgment of God.
>Secondly, the judgment of God is very, very real.
And finally, God has in his grace made a provision whereby a person can be exempt from the judgment of God.
I said a moment ago something that was almost true but not quite.
I said a moment ago that no one will be exempt from the judgment of God because they know somebody.
Thatís almost true except for one person.
And I want to tell you, I know somebody and his name is Jesus.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus."
I may not sit on the platform with the presidents.
I may not run around with the governors.
I may not even get to spend much time with the mayors, but I know him who sits on the throne of heaven.
I know him who died on the cross and was buried in a tomb and raised from the dead.
And brother, because I know him and only him, I am exempt from the judgment of God.