Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2020-23&version=NLT;NIV
I know….long read today but as God opens my eyes to HIS Word….the time seems to fly by as I try to take it all in. Does that happen to you as well?
CHAPTER 20 — God retold His story(drop an “s” and you get History… (I KNOW….pretty KEWL right??) What God was revealing through Ezekiel was the story of HIS people from the Beginning to “Now.” (Now=this time in our reading of history.) Chapter 20 is filled with God’s character…HIS Love, Mercy, Chances, Forgiveness…over and over and over. YET…each paragraph began with The people Rebelled….
So, WHY was all this happening and WHY was God bringing down Judgment?? Plain and simple….the people…HIS people…REBELLED! HIS people KNEW HIM, they KNEW HIS laws, and yet they REFUSED to LISTEN to HIM. It is so important that we also KNOW that our GOD never changes so if this was happening 2500 years ago, this can happen TODAY. Does that make sense?
If the version of the Bible you are reading does not have a verse 29, check the versions I gave you because they do. The word “Bamah” is in this verse and is means “high places.” The high places mentioned here are the FAKE ALTARS and WRONG places of worship to false gods that served as substitutes for real altars and real worship to the ONE TRUE GOD. NEVER a good thing to have a substitute for GOD.
As much as I hate to admit it…..it is so EASY to place our TRUST in wrong things TODAY and build substitutions. I mean look at our politicians today. And I am not talking about my personal voting choices or yours, nor am I talking about democrats, republicans, independents, conservatives, liberals, or libertarians….or any other words that may be associated with political parties. I am specifically speaking about how easily we begin to pledge our loyalty to ONE person. People will ALWAYS disappoint us…people are people and we can not expect them to “save” us. However, many people lift our politicians up on pedestals and begin to idolized them even calling some of the “their next great redeemer.” The problem is that just as God did NOT like idols “back in the day;” HE still does not like for HIS people to have idols TODAY. IF we are not trusting the ONE and ONLY GOD for our EVERY need…..our nature is no different than the people Ezekiel (Jeremiah and Daniel) were speaking to. Our leaders are not meant to be worshiped nor can they save us….or even fix all the problems of our world. We begin to make idols for ourselves either with other people or other things in our lives, setting ourselves up for a fall. God tells us that we are in a battle…a BIG one and because of the battle we are in HIS Word is to be our LIFE BLOOD and we are to guard our hearts. God wants us to know what we are up against which is one reason HE gives us soooooo many examples. Remember Ephesians 6:12 says “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” And 2 Corinthians 10:4 “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” I placed these scriptures here to serve as reminders that without God’s Word, the knowledge and belief of Jesus Christ, and listening to God in our lives based on HIS Word ….we too can fall into the same situation these people were in 2500 years ago if we TRUST ANYone or ANY thing other than our Almighty God.
What are the 3 sins this book (and most of the OT) continue repeating??
Idolatry and Worshiping other gods (ANY one or ANY thing we put before God…where do you turn when life is REALLY hard….job losses, financial challenges, death of a loved one, bad reports from the doctor, etc.???? I put Idolatry and worshiping other gods together for the purpose of the blog because they go hand in hand. If we are worshiping other gods….chances are they have already become idols in our lives..make sense?
False Prophets — someone, anyone claiming authority in a Spiritual/spiritual nature…they easily take things out of context in the Bible..add to it or take from it…and we KNOW God does not like that.
WHooooo knew the Bible would deal SO much with these three topics??? Ummmm….MUST be something The Lord wants us to take note of. Bottom line is that Did you ever think that MOST of the Bible would talk soooooo much about these 3 things??? Well…..The LORD despises them…past, present, and future!
In the last paragraph of this chapter, Ezekiel was announcing immediate judgment to Jerusalem and Judah. HE is a PROPHET. They KNOW HE is a PROPHET and YET the people were saying something to the effect of: “ummmmm.dude….. he’s just telling parables…maybe he’s been smoking something or drinking tooooooo much!!!!” THINK about this for a minute in “real time.” Have you ever asked a simple question in a group of people that may or may not be Christians…about the Apocalypse….end times….what do they think about the Bible? Let’s just say that VERY few people respond with “OH YES>>IT IS REAL>>AND IT COULD HAPPEN IN THE NEXT FIVE MINUTES!!” More often than not, the response you will witness is: “Oh those are just stories.” or “HOW could the book of Revelation be REAL…I mean…LOOK at ALL the symbolism.” or “Yes, I believe it will happen but not the way it is described….God will not send people to hell.” And you KNOW I could come up with a million of those responses (I’ve heard them and at one point I said some of them which comes easy when you or I don’t read God’s Word regularly/daily.) Are some of the stories parables? ABSOLUTELY!! BUT….the closer we grow to God and the more we read HIS Word…the MORE sense they make. Just think about HOW MUCH is going on in the entire world today….faster…more…worse…in so many areas…financial not just in our personal lives but to nations also around the globe…..earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, natural fires, dust storms, hurricanes, new diseases forming at great speeds, old diseases returning with a vengeance back, too much rain, not enough rain, spiritual (the fastest growing religion in the world is Islam), not enough food, not enough water, all the wars and threat of wars across the globe, the rate of abortions, the casualness of the topic of sex, and sooooo much more….but think about it. Things are happening faster than I have ever seen and if you read people like Joel Rosenberg or David Jeremiah’s books about the future based on current situations….eyes will definitely be opened.
CHAPTER 21 — There is a WHOLE lot here and much of it went over my head. I had to fall back on what my mentor found from last year. Glean what you can and the more each of us read….the more The Lord will peal the onion away for each of us. HE knows our hearts and what we are ready for. Ask HIM for what HE would have you know in this chapter. The first part of the chapter is regarding the 3 judgements that will fall on Jerusalem, the sword of the Lord, the sharpened sword and the sword of Nebuchadnezzar. By verse 18 we see that Ammon (remember Ammon…one of the sons of Lot through incest.) rebelled against Babylon the same time king Zedekiah did. Remember when Judah was aligning themselves with foreign nations to gain strength, even though the Lord said through Jeremiah…”DON’T”! Well they did not listen to Jeremiah, did they own thing, SO Babylon besieged them both.
CHAPTER 22 — This chapter is divided into three parts.
First, it explains that judgement would come and why. Wayyyyyy back in the days of Moses God gave him the 10 commandments, the Levitical law, and standards of HOW to live a life devoted to God. A few things like no gods before me, don’t sacrifice your children, sex is to be between husband and wife, don’t lust or covet what your neighbor has, don’t molest your animals, etc. Well, God had also told HIS people to DESTROY some peoples COMPLETELY because they worshiped their gods in all the ways our GOD did NOT want HIS people to be a part of. BUT..the Israelites didn’t do as God required. So…. in our reading today these “old” laws were not acknowledged by HIS people at all. Their pagan lifestyles had become common acts. Up until Babylon’s capture….Judah thought they were doing really well..they were wealthy, they knew it all (or thought they did), so with such a good life… why live for this GOD who wants to “remove all the fun?” Ummmmmmm……not working for them “now” and yet they still don’t want to believe Jeremiah, Ezekial, or Daniel.
The Lord gives them a picture (I love word pictures because they can bring such deep understanding.) God describes to HIS people what is going to happen to them. God’s people are BOTH the beautiful metal that lies beneath the dross AND the dross. God described the dross (the waste) that melts off metal as the metal is being purified. The waste can ONLY be removed by holding ALL of the metal in extremely HIGH temperatures before the dross, the impurities, will let go so the true beauty of what lies hidden within can be seen…the shining, highly coveted silver or gold or even other metals. God was going to put them through some very hard challenges. They would be going through the fire so the impurities would come out. We all go through our own “fires.” It is those very hot, challenging fires that Purifies us….just like fire does to metal. How do you know when the metal is purified??? It is done when the creator looks in to it and sees HIS image shining back at HIM. All I can say is —- God you have PROMISED to NEVER NEVER NEVER no NOT EVER…leave me or forsake me so I’m holding on with all I have to YOU and YOUR ways based on YOUR promises.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 6)
Nothing we can EVER do, have, say, own, read, think, in and of ourselves can make us righteous. Righteous is being in right standing WITH God and there is ONLY ONE way we can be RIGHTEOUS and that is by believing Jesus Christ is LORD, that HE died and rose for US, confessing our sin to HIM, repenting, and following HIM by faith. And once we are in right standing with HIM…HE PROMISES us soooooo many wonderful things for this life and for all eternity.
CHAPTER 23 — Two Adulterous Sisters— OH MAN– I read this in the NIV, NLT, the Message, and a couple of others — there were some things in there I either forgot or never knew were in there that certainly got my attention!! This is a parable describing the two Hebrew Nations. Oholah is the Northern Kingdom of Israel whose capital was Samaria. Oholibah is the Southern Kingdom of Judah whose capital was Jerusalem. In verse 11, Jerusalem had already witnessed the judgement that fell upon Samaria….and it was NOT pretty. However, Jerusalem seemed to be able to ignore what happened to them. Over 100 years later….. Judah STILL had not turned from her ways and grew even FURTHER AWAY from God. Each verse actually represents an exact time in history. HE refers to His people as HIS wife in the parables in the OT. AND then in the NT WE (you and I) ARE the bride to Jesus. So do we act like the bride of our King? Do we believe in each of HIS Words? Is HE a priority on our calendars so we spend time with HIM daily…worship…praise…and reading HIS Word. Do we stop and simply LISTEN to HIM? Do we DO HIS will? Do we help the needy and the poor? Do I chase after things of this world or chase after HIM? You get the point…..ASK HIM what HE would have you KNOW from this. ASK HIM what HE would have you do for HIM.
Ask and you shall receive…..
Sharing HIS love,