Summary: FAther's Day message.
"Where Are the Men?"
Ezekiel 22:30-31 And I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. 31 Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.
Introduction: Thank you for being here for this Father's Day service at First Church. Father's Day, like it's counterpart in May is a bittersweet time for many of us. If you are like me your father has passed away or your father may be in ill health like Sis. Judy or it may be just as simple as your father being separated from you by geography. I think it is safe to say that fathers are the most reviled and denigrated group in America. We are told we are not essential, that we are not necessary that we are part of a patriarchal system that enslaves women and children. Some of the criticism leveled at fathers is probably well deserved but much of it is a deliberate, systematic effort to emasculate fathers. What I'm about to say is my opinion but I believe I can document everything. Part of this effort is directed at men in general where we see the systematic effort to eliminate all the differences between the genders. Recently I read where there was this fellow who claimed he was neither male nor female but binary and he got a court to agree with him so now the state of Oregon is going to have to list this newly recognized gender in all their public documents! All the things that make a man a man are being degraded and devalued. We see it at every level of society. It's happening in all of our institutions, on every level of government, the military and in education. Even in our churches we are seeing the feminization of worship and music. Those who keep an eye on what is happening in our churches tell us that men have stopped singing and participating in worship. Our culture is now a place where boys are being feminized and girls are being masculinized. Go to a toy store and try to look for toys that would appeal to a boy or a girl and you will find that many have been removed in favor of toys that do not reinforce or stereotype gender roles. You just can't make this stuff up! Men, real men, men shaped and molded by the Word of god are getting harder and harder to find. Let's look at this text and see if there is anything we can learn from what God says: First:
I. The Sovereign's Indictment
a. The priests v. 26
It was the special office of the priests to make a difference between the holy and the unholy and between the clean and the unclean. Listen what the Lord told the very first priest, Aaron:
Leviticus 10:8 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, 9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: 10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;
Ezekiel 22:26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
b. The princes v. 27
Those whom God has entrusted with the care and protection of the people are preying upon the people. One thing they are doing is accusing individuals of treason so that they can confiscate their property and belongings.
Ezekiel 22:27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.
c. The prophets v. 28
These prophets use lies and falsehoods to appease the people and conciliate the King and princes. Ezekiel uses the metaphor of a man building a wall with mortar that has no straw or binder in it. It cannot stand and cannot stand
Ezekiel 22:28 And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.
d. The people v. 29
The corruption had spread downward and even the common people were guilty of "...robbery..." and "...oppressing the stranger..." which they were supposed to be a witness to!
Exodus 23:9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.