From the OT lesson for Tuesday in the week of Easter 7
15 The sword is outside, pestilence and famine are inside; those in the field die by the sword; those in the city – famine and pestilence devour them.
Ezekiel’s prophecy of the day of doom and violence is disturbing. It should certainly have been disturbing for those to whom it was first spoken, and it should be disturbing for us. I find it personally disturbing because, I confess, I want it to apply to our present times. When he predicts disaster upon those who oppress the poor, upon a ruling class which hoards and squanders resources on their own pleasure to the detriment of others, upon sellers who for their iniquity are doomed . . . . when he predicts that their abundance and their wealth and their pre-eminence will vanish and never return . . . . I want that to apply to our present times! I understand the temptation of the armageddonists who want to read in Scripture a prophecy of retribution soon to be fulfilled – of course, they and I differ on exactly who should receive that retribution, but I can understand why they look at the Bible and read into it the troubles of our own times however wrongly they may perceive them. That’s what disturbs me, my own temptation to use Holy Writ for my own political agenda, to pull Ezeziel’s prophecy out of context and shout, “Look! My politics is God’s politics!” ‘Taint so . . . . My politics, I hope, is rationally and faithfully grounded in my faith, but I must always be careful to remind myself that “Gott [ist nicht] mit uns” when we misuse the Bible in that way.