Ezek 20:21-26 Their children too rebelled against me. They refused to keep my decrees and follow my regulations, even though obedience would have given them life…. I swore I would scatter them among all the nations because they did not obey my regulations. They scorned my decrees by violating my Sabbath days and longing for the idols of their ancestors. I gave them over to worthless decrees and regulations that would not lead to life. I let them pollute themselves with the very gifts I had given them…
Ezek 20:29-44 As for you, O people of Israel, go right ahead and worship your idols, but sooner or later you will obey me and will stop bringing shame on my holy name by worshipping idols. …The people of Israel will someday worship me, and I will accept them. There I will require that you bring me all your offerings and choice gifts and sacrifices. When I bring you home from exile, you will be like a pleasing sacrifice t me. And I will display my holiness through you as all the nations watch. Then when I have brought you home… you will know that I am the Lord…. you will know that I am the Lord, O people of Israel, when I have honored my name by treating you mercifully in spite of your wickedness.”
Galatians 3:2-3 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?
Galatians 3:11-12 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.”
Galatians 3:23-29 Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law… the law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. All who have been united with Christ have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.
One of the best illustrations I know of for instructing parents of the importance of discipline and correction is what Ted Tripp, in his book, “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” calls the “Circle of Blessing.”
“In Ephesians 6:1–3, God has drawn a circle of great blessing. Children are to live within the circle of submission to parental authority.
Submission to parents means HONORING and OBEYING. Within that circle things will go well and they will enjoy long lives.
Things Go Well
It is imperative that children learn to honor and obey. It will go well with them. Their obedience is not secured so that you can be obeyed for your sake. You must be obeyed for their sakes! They are the direct beneficiaries of honoring and obeying Mom and Dad. The disobedient child has moved outside the circle of blessing. The parent must quickly restore the child to the proper relationship with God and the parent. As the child returns to the circle of blessing, things go well for him. He enjoys long life.
Safety Rather Than Danger
The circle of submission to parental authority is the place of safety. By implication, being outside that circle is a place of danger; it will not go well with him and he will not enjoy a long life.
Your child is in danger if he is rebellious and disobedient. You, therefore, must move swiftly to return him to the circle of protection and safety.
The Rescue Function
The function of the rod and communication is rescue. Correction and discipline moves your child from the peril of rebellion and disobedience back into the circle of safety. The child has not just disobeyed Mommy or Daddy. He has disobeyed God. He has made himself liable to the discipline and correction that God has appointed for disobedient children. The function of discipline is to restore him to the safety and protection of the circle.
I have drawn this circle for my children scores of times, intreating them to willing submission to authority, explaining that Dad was not mad at them, but rather Dad was on a rescue mission. I have asked them, “How could I see you in peril and not seek to rescue you?”
I think this is a good description of what we see in Ezek 20 and Galatians 3. In Ezekiel 20:21-26 we see God defining regulations that lead to life, and worthless decrees and following idols that DO NOT lead to life. Following God’s decrees keeps us in the circle of his blessing. Outside that circle, following our idols and our own desires, leads to natural consequences of which God says he “Let them pollute themselves with the very gifts I gave them.” That’s similar to what Paul describes in Romans 1:21-24.
For Israel, God says, “I am going to lead you back to me! You will one day worship me and I will accept you. I will display my holiness through you among the nations.” (Ezek 20:41-42) For us, in the New Testament, God gave us something even greater! “The way of faith.” We no longer need the law as our guardian. We have been united with Christ. We have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.” (Gal 3:25-27) Christ in all God’s fullness dwells in us! (Col 1:19,27) And just like God told Israel in Ezekiel 20:21 that if they stayed inside the circle it would have given them life, Galatians 3:11 tells us, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” ESV translates this phrase, “The righteous shall LIVE BY FAITH.”
For Israel God said that dwelling in the circle of blessing would lead them to knowing that He was their God, and that through them God’s holiness would be displayed to the World. For us, dwelling in the circle of blessing will do that same.
- Based on God’s indicatives (what he has indicated, or declared about you, In Christ), that you will continue to grow in living out his imperatives.
- May God reveal himself to you as you choose to live in his circle of blessing (His imperatives)
- For you to desire that his holiness be displayed through your life
- As you learn to parent, remember you are on a rescue mission, just like God is for us.