I am delighted to have Dr. Howard Eyrich, my dear brother in Christ, friend, counselor, and mentor as my guest blogger. It has been my honor to minister alongside him in various capacities for several years
Read Ezekiel 17.
How do we apply this passage?
Why do we in the New Testament church think that God will not discipline us in the manner he did Israel—pestilence, storms, disease, and wicked people?
God loved Israel. God took Israel to wife. He chose her. He purposed her. He sent prophet after prophet to teach and to confront her. He called her to repentance that he might bless her. When she would repent, He would forgive and restore her. When under attack He defended her unless He was using the attacker to chastise her and even then, limited the impact.
So, Jesus loved us. He chose us in eternity past. He calls us in due time. He translates us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. He sends us preacher after preacher to teach us and to call us to repentance. He teaches us that as a Father He will discipline us.
Yet we preach, we insist on preaching in today’s evangelical church, a God Whose love does not harm us. We preach a God of grace that tolerates us to the point of never being mad at us. We shudder when someone suggests that natural disasters may be the hand of God to awaken us. We, by implication, insist that being not under law but under grace we can give ourselves license to live as we please and not incur the wrath of God?
Why do we do this? Is not Yahweh the Father of Jesus—the only begotten Son Who is one with the Father? Do we not see in Jesus the personalized relationship dimensions of the Father as He relates to individuals while walking the face of the earth?
Is not the life of King David a prime example of a God/man relationship? God called him “A man after my own heart” (I Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:2). God choose him. God purposed him. God sent prophets to him. Yet we see David living a life of sin, discipline (God was angry with him), repentance, and restoration, experienced with the consequence of his sin.
Is it not possible that we have perverted grace in the name of grace? Is it not possible that we have diminished biblical anthropology by a misapprehension New Testament theology and fallen prey to the mal-formed liberal theology of the 20th Century that saw Yahweh as the bully-God of the Old Testament, and Jesus as the love-God of the New Testament.
It seems to me that Ezekiel 17 calls us to reconsider our 21st Century theology of grace. Should we not see grace as the shield that holds back the full throat of the wrath of God rather than a wholesale prevention of the wrath of God? Should we not see grace as the love of the Father that disciplines us to bring us, when He is angry with us for our insistent sin, to repentance and restoration of fellowship with Him? Does he not desire to be a Faithful Just Father Who will forgive our sins upon confession of our sin (I John 1:9)?
MY GUEST BLOGGER:
Dr. Howard Eyrich, after a long ministerial journey of more than 60 years, retired as the Pastor of Counseling Ministries at Briarwood Presbyterian Church. Over his career, he served several successful youth ministries, as Dean of Men in a Bible College, as a church planter, a senior pastor, a seminary president, and a Biblical Counseling professor at the graduate and lay levels for more than 40 years.
He has served on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Birmingham Theological Seminary, Trinity Seminary, and the Biblical Counseling Coalition, to name the major efforts.
His publishing efforts include: two books as solo author, three books with a co-author, and numerous chapters in significant volumes in the biblical counseling field, as well as articles for the Journal of Biblical Counseling and several other magazines.
Dr. Eyrich and his wife Pamela have two grown children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Retirement for Dr. Eyrich is a time for ministry. He writes, teaches, preaches, and travels for the Kingdom. He also enjoys the hobbies of model railroading, hunting, and shooting.