Read Ezekiel 33
Our responsibility and judgment as watchmen (Ezek. 33:8-17). What is self accountability (33:20)? The Good Shepherd (34:11-20). The Covenant of Peace (34:25-31). Don't slander Israel (chap. 35)! Although God disciplines us, He's our hope (36:9,22-30).
After the death of his father Isaac, Esau had settled in Edom and conquered the rocky country in the vicinity of Mount Seir, known today as Petra. From strategic mountain heights overlooking the southern border of the Holy Land, the Edomites watched with obvious envy the growing power of Jacob's favored tribes.
Edom was not satisfied just to watch the invasion and destruction of Israel under the powerful Nebuchadnezzar. Forgetful of all ties of kinship, the Edomites sent troops to assist Nebuchadnezzar in his devastating war against Jerusalem! They were even more cruel than the Chaldeans and massacred the few Israelites who escaped. Then they ruthlessly boasted of their part in the terrible destruction of Jerusalem and eagerly took possession of some of the land. Therefore the Lord told Edom: I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the Lord (Ezek. 35:9).
Amidst destruction, it seems strange that the Lord was there (35:10). The sentence breaks in like a rainbow in the sky following a torrential downpour. Yes, the Lord was (and is always) there in the promised land. The people were conquered and carried away and the land was desolate, but neither was forsaken by Israel's God, for the Lord was there.
God expressed His anger against Israel's religious leaders who were more concerned with their own interests than about encouraging the people to turn from their evil ways. Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? . . . Therefore will I save My flock. . . . And I will set up one Shepherd over them (34:2,22-23).
Ezekiel foretold of a Shepherd who would truly love and care for His sheep. Jesus identified Himself as Israel's Shepherd who would lay down (give up) My (His) life for the (His) sheep (John 10:15). Our Savior did not give His life as a martyr for truth or as a moral example of self-sacrifice. He, of His own free will, sacrificed His life as the only acceptable sacrifice for lost, sinful people (10:11,15,18). Jesus Christ took our rightful punishment of eternal death and died on the cross for our sins, conquering death (Rev. 1:18), that whosoever believeth in Him should . . . have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Thought for Today:
For the Lord will not forsake His people for His great Name's sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you His people (I Sam. 12:22).
As the Shepherd (Ezek. 34:23). Jesus said: I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep (John 10:14).
34:14 a fat the best; 34:27 delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them breed them from slavery; 36:3 an infamy of slandered, ridiculed by.
Pray for Executive Director of the IBRA in our Washington DC Branch: Reverend Michael Hall • Government Officials: Rep. Cynthia Lummis (WY) and Rep. Ted Poe (TX) • Country: United States (270 million) in North America • Major languages: English and Spanish • Religious freedom • 55% Protestant; 28% Catholic; 1% Orthodox; 2% Mormon; 2% Jewish; 1% Muslim; 11% Other/None Prayer Suggestion: Your prayers should be lifted up with confidence in God (Ps. 56:9,11).
Memory Verse for the Week: