Ezekiel 34:28-31“They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
Let me share with you part of a remarkable e-mail I once received: “My name is Mr. Abdul Wade, the Auditor General of Standard Chartered Bank and Security Company, Medina, Dakar, Senegal (West Africa). There is a consignment containing the sum of 12 million, five hundred thousand United States Dollars. The said box was deposited by Mr. Mark Francis Roderick, an American who died on Sept. 11, 2001 in a plane crash. Going by the usual rules governing our operation, the box shall be handed over to the relevant government authorities as an unclaimed deposit. Details shall be made available to you as soon as I hear from you. Please kindly send me (your contact information). At the conclusion of the transaction you will be given 25% of the total fund. I shall furnish you with all the necessary information you need in this transaction.”
Apparently if I had helped the man get the money into the hands of the proper authorities, I would pocket a little over 3 million dollars! All my money problems would have been solved!
But you already recognize that this is something known as a “Nigerian Bank Scam.” The only person who would make any money from this deal is Mr. Abdul Wade (if that is his real name). The offer is, as they say, “too good to be true.”
Do God’s promises ever seem that way to you–too good to be true? Through Ezekiel God promised Israel a very special relationship with him. They would be his people, his sheep. He would be their God, be with them, and care for them like a shepherd. They could be sure they would have enough to live on. They could live in safety, because he claimed them as his own.
Today you and I are his people, the people God claims as his own. Like Old Testament Israel, we can take this promise for ourselves. Do you see why that is so important for us, that he claims us so? In war, it may be good to have mercenary soldiers on your side because it adds to your troop strength. But mercenaries can present a problem. There is only so much one will do for pay. Mercenaries have been known to flee the field of battle because they are willing to fight for money, but they aren’t willing to die for it.
But when men are fighting to protect their own children, their own families, their own communities, their own people–there you have a soldier faithful to the very end. Our God is not a mercenary we have hired to protect us. We are his family. He claims us as his sheep, his children, even his bride. He joined our family as a real human being. He died to save our family and spare our lives. He lives to assure us we live in safety, and all the more so when we finally reach the family home.
If something looks too good to be true, it probably is–except for the promises of God. Because he claims us, we can be sure of his providence, protection, and care. We are his sheep, and we can live securely.