"Then He cried out in my hearing with a loud voice saying, 'Draw near, O executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand.' Behold, six men came from the direction of the upper gate which faces north, each with his shattering weapon in his hand; and among them was a certain man clothed in linen with a writing case at his loins. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar.
"Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case. The LORD said to him, 'Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.'"
-Ezekiel 9:1-4 (NASB)
"Looks like you went to the football game," noted an office associate. The unsolicited observation instantly caused the accused to wonder how in the world his office associate had known. He was right, as the football fan had gone to the local junior varsity game the night before. But how in the world had his colleague known that he'd been at the game? "How did he know where I was last night without being told?" he thought.
Then the answer dawned on him when he noticed the letters "CHS" on the back of his left hand. His colleague was not clairvoyant, he was just observant. The truth of his whereabouts the night before were revealed to his colleague by the faint mark that had been stamped on his hand. And by this little mark, the colleague could assume things about the man's life, such as the fact that he liked football or knew someone playing on the field.
Whether it is just a simple mark with a Sharpie or a stamp on the hand, most of us have had this kind of experience. The intent of the mark is to identify that a person has paid admittance to an event, just in case they have to leave and wish to return. But what is amazing, is just how hard these marks can be to wash off. Sometimes is takes a day or two to wear off, thus identifying the person marked with this certain event. If one never tried to wash off the mark it might last several weeks.
In considering the text and all that is occurring, let's consider the mark and how we can apply it to our lives. Simply put, each of us should look on the back of our hands in a figurative way to consider what we are marked by based on how we live our lives. Just as the office colleague knew the whereabouts of his peer, so also will people know our whereabouts and priorities based on what "marks" our hands.
With this in mind, what marks your hand? What do people assume about you based on the "marks" that cover you? Be honest here. If someone was to look at your life, would they say that you are marked by the most important symbol of all: the cross of Christ? For we know that is the only mark that will matter in the long run.
1. What marks your life?
2. Do others associate you with the cross of Christ?
3. What do you need to change to better identify yourself with Jesus?
1 John 2:4-6
1 John 3:7-10