Read Ezekiel 14
Judgment pronounced upon the elders of Israel and Jerusalem; parable of the vine tree; promises of future blessings under new Covenant.
Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? (Ezek. 15:2).
The vine tree was created for one purpose — to bear fruit. If it does not bear fruit, then it fails in the one purpose for which it was created (John 15:6). Its branches are soft and twisted, and cannot be made into boards. It burns so rapidly that it is of little value as fuel. It is useless even for pegs and pins. That is why the prophet said: Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon? (Ezek. 15:3).
This was also true of the nation of Israel — God's chosen people. He had prospered them above all nations. His blessing should have encouraged them to be holy and teach others to honor His Word and worship the One True God. But, because of their sinful ways, they no longer fulfilled their purpose as God's chosen people (Is. 5; Jer. 2:21; Hos. 10; Rev. 14:18). Therefore, God cast them into the fires of affliction that slowly, but surely, removed them from Jerusalem and the Temple. If we as Christians choose disobedience to God, we should fully expect there to be consequences for our actions. We can't expect God to overlook the wrong we are doing. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Rom. 6:1-2).
All who willfully continue in their sinful ways are deceiving themselves. Many people who call themselves Christians assume that, since they still seem to be receiving God's blessings, He will overlook their evil in the day of judgment. God has never overlooked any sin in any individual or nation. He will not start overlooking sin in us. Sin has a penalty. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:2-3). Unless they confess and forsake their sins, they will face eternal consequences. However, if they do confess and forsake their sins, just as the verse says, obedience is rewarded. So, let us turn from our sinful ways and enjoy the blessings of God not only in the world to come, but this world also.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Gal. 5:22-23).
Thought for Today:
Sin destroys spiritual discernment in our lives.
In the everlasting Covenant (Ezek. 16:60). He is the Mediator of a better Covenant (Agreement) (Heb. 8:6).
16:8 I spread My skirt over thee, symbolic of a covenant of marriage (Ruth 3:9; Deut. 22:30); 16:25 opened thy feet, offered yourself as a harlot; 16:30 imperious whorish woman, shameless prostitute; 16:31 eminent place, prominent public location; thou scornest hire, you refuse a fee; 16:43 fretted me, provoked me to anger.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Duane Estey • Staff: Dan Murton • Government Officials: Gov. Brian Shweitzer (MT) and Rep. Bob Filner (CA) • Country: St. Kitts-Nevis (42,000) in the Leeward Islands of the West Indies • Major language: English • Religious freedom • 74% Protestant; 7% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice in the Lord, for He is forgiving to those who call upon Him (Ps. 86:4-5).
Optional Reading: Revelation 9
Memory Verse for the Week: James 1:2-3