How depressed Ezekiel must have been! God showed him the godless attitude that existed in Jerusalem. He writes, “certain of the elders of Israel came to see me” (14:1). The “word of the LORD” comes to him, “… these men have taken their idols into their hearts and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them?” (verse 3). The lesson is plain. It is folly to seek God and retain fleshly thoughts. Ezekiel is further told, “any one of the house of Israel … who separates himself from me, taking his idols into his heart … and yet comes to a prophet to consult me through him, I, the LORD will answer him myself. And I will set my face against that man …” (verses 7,8). Surely the same applies today to those who consult God through reading His word but have a wrong motive. Peter’s words come to mind about Paul’s writings, “There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures” (2 Peter 3:16).

In Luke there is some comparison with the attitude of the lawyer who asks, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself” (10:25-27).

Jesus says, “You have answered correctly: do this and you will live”. But the lawyer asks, “and who is my neighbour?” Jesus then tells the well-known account of the ‘Good Samaritan’ and asks the man, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbour to the man who fell among robbers?” (verse 36). He answers, “The one who showed mercy” and is told, “You go and do likewise”. Let us all love our Lord, with all our heart, our soul, our strength and our mind showing our love by our actions day after day. In some cases it may cause others to “do likewise” and take note of the message and meaning of God’s word.