Check out my first ever recorded sermon! I hope you get something out of it. Enjoy the vid!
Thought Complexity (Ezekiel 22)
Ezekiel 22:30 Turn your mind into a shield – How to think for yourself – prophetofwar.com
Talking about Ezekiel chapter 22 and specifically verse 30, Ezekiel talks about making a stand. Typically, people think you can just stand for what you believe and everything will be ok, and if people don’t want to comply that’s their own deal, everyone can do their own thing. Now, this is a nice idea in concept, but not applicable in practice. Another way people try to deal with conflict is to force their own way onto other people. Neither of these are good choices. Let’s talk about a mature and useful choice.
In Ezekiel 22 God says to Ezekiel2 “Are you going to judge this city of bloodshed? Then explain what they are doing wrong.” God then explains the situation of the city;
“. . . there is a conspiracy of her princes in the land; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things, they claim there is no difference between the clean and the unclean. Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations, they say this is what the sovereign Lord has spoken when the Lord has not spoken. The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner denying them justice.”
This chapter clearly details cause-and-effect, and how people make choices that negatively impact them and their entire society, successfully dangling their culture over a precipice and opening their defenses to invasion.
Cause-and-effect works like this; the moment you begin to force your opinions on someone else, you start a long contracted series of cause and effect that ultimately results in a violent conflict where lives, health, and stability will be lost. Murder, theft, deception and emotional manipulation are forms of forcing yourself onto others. Forcing your way on someone else is not ok, but standing in the gap on behalf of the people is what God is looking for.
“I looked for one among them to build up the wall and stand in the gap on behalf of the people but I found none.”
The wall represents the defenses of the people against sheer and utter destructive chaos brought on them by the reactions of their actions. God doesn’t qualify the man who stands in the gap, not holy or a nobleman or well-trained. He is looking for anyone to stand in the gap. But God doesn’t find anyone and he tells Ezekiel that he will no longer hold back the tide of cause and effect. This to me is staggering when you consider how God interacts with those that don’t give him a second thought. While the entire city was hell-bent on self-destruction, God was looking for an excuse to keep protecting them. This is a cry out to all the people of the land. If you have any motivation inside you whatsoever, learn how to improvise, adapt, and overcome. Stand in the gap. If you can’t stand in the gap, try to defeat your compulsions of self-destructiveness and be a useful member of society.
How to think for yourself:4
Never assume your answers are the only answers.
Identify your ignorance. “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” – Socrates.
Identify your biases “Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.” – Albert Einstein.
Target the source: Why do you think that way? Where did you learn it? Are there more ways to look at it?
Expand your data with research and discovery.
Think about it
Compartmentalize: divide your knowledge into useful brackets and be able to separate concepts based on topic and audience.
Engage: talk to people.
Wait for it. Patience is a key to understanding.
Before you know it, you have arrived at your own thought.
It’s not simply standing, but standing for a purpose. What is the purpose of your stance? are you simply standing for your own opinion? are you standing for the opinions of other men that you agree with just because it seems to work for you at this time?
God says stand in the gap, what is the gap? The gap is the eternal precipice or the pit of despair where everything begins to unravel. the gap is what keeps society from a situation of peace and security where all men can live together. It is a breach in the wall of the city. So someone needs to stand in that gap and represent something, what is that something? God says it is to provide the people with a shield.
You have seen in my intro video, “your mind your weapon.” Your mind is your shield (a shield is a weapon). You have developed your mind since you were formed in the womb and had a conscious element activated in your brain. you have developed your mind over time based on experience and learning. It is a composite of your life. It responds to who you are, who you believe you are, and who you want others to believe you are. Your mind is a battlefield, a mess of unclear thoughts and the assaults from other minds. You are assassinated with distractions on a moment by moment basis. If someone stands in the gap for us, their mind become a shield for us. They are sharing information with us so that we can convert our own minds from chaotic warzones into shields. It is up to us to pay attention to them.
So the man who judges the city of bloodshed (in this case Ezekiel the prophet) is not judging them because he’s better, he’s wanting them to be better so he can also enjoy the societal benefits. There is no self-righteousness involved here. This attitude needs to make an appearance when we talk with others.
When you have discussions with people that you disagree with, don’t argue violently. Argue intelligently. You can still think what you want to think, no matter what someone else tries to sell you. Just share information, hone each other, turn your minds from battlefields to weapons. This is not so complex. It is so simple, yet what we have all over the world is people forming little political groups and they refuse to listen to any other point of view.
And if they do listen, it is only to ridicule. I don’t know how this is considered helpful at all.
Part 1 of standing in the gap is to learn to communicate. You don’t have to accept other opinions, but it is best for you to listen to them and make every attempt to understand them. Use the info to build your own opinions better and stronger. After you build yours better, find new ways to make them more useful, find new ways to grow them. Keep moving forward. Change and adapt, keep moving forward. Don’t grow stagnant thinking you’ve already found the ultimate answer to everyone’s problems because you haven’t. Learn how to learn and learn how to think. the most important advice I could give right now is to understand that you’re probably wrong. That’s how I start my thought processes, I’m probably wrong, and then I go from there. why do I think the way I think? What about my life has led me to that conclusion? Does my conclusion need to adapt? It is impossible to find conclusions for every situation that can come at you in life, but you can find solid general overview conclusions that will assist in you in nearly every arena of life.
Begin with what you know. Enter it with “why do I know that?” Then continue with “why do I actually believe it?” Go forward from there, find root elements by dissecting your thoughts. Then go find others to gain root elements from to build your own opinions better. Compare, contrast, analyze and turn your opinions into useful thoughts that other people can benefit from. And then when you have done all, stand.
Published Feb 21 2018
Nick A. Michael
I also have the sermon hosted at Sermon Central https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/thought-complexity-ezekiel-22-michael-sermon-on-nick–228568