Read Ezekiel 17
Two eagles, symbolic of Babylon and Egypt, and three kings. The last two kings of Israel are replaced with the Lord Himself (Ezek. 17:22-24; see Is. 11:1). A just God deals with sinners (Ezek. 18:19-24). Turn and live (18:31-32; 19:14).
During the final days before the destruction of Jerusalem, the people of Judah endured much suffering before they were taken as slaves to Babylon, the spectacular capital of the most powerful nation of that day. Consequently, the Israelites were bitter and accused God of being unjust in allowing them to be disgraced and defeated by Nebuchadnezzar. Why didn't God come to their rescue?
Because the Israelites refused to turn from their sins, the Holy God of righteousness could not bless and protect them. Nebuchadnezzar became His instrument for executing judgment upon them. Then, later, as foretold by both Isaiah and Jeremiah, the judgment of God fell upon the powerful and wicked Babylonians and soon they ceased to exist (Is. 13:17-20; Jer. 50:1-3).
The Kingdom of Judah complained that the ways of God were not equal — not fair (Ezek. 18:25). But, they were fair and the national distress of Israel was the result of their sins. Therefore, Ezekiel declared the solemn fact of individual accountability: The soul that sinneth, it shall die (18:20).
God spoke this Truth to Adam in the garden: In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen. 2:17). It is this principle upon which every person will stand before God. If the ways of God appear unfair, the deceptive evils of sin have not been recognized.
Just as the Israelites should not have had idols in the Temple of God, sin must not be allowed to remain in the life of the Christian. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Rom. 6:2). He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the Truth is not in him (I John 2:4).
God often uses seemingly unfair trials and circumstances to test the reality of our faith in His Word. But, in perfect wisdom and perfect love, He has given us His Holy Spirit and greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world (4:4). We cannot willfully sin and expect to enjoy the blessings of God. Without reservation, by faith we know that all things work together for good, not necessarily for our own personal self-interest, but for His eternal purpose for our lives (Rom. 8:28). The highest calling of Christ is that we make Him known to others (Matt. 28:19-20).
The Lord is . . . not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Pet. 3:9).
Thought for Today:
If we walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin (I John 1:7).
As the One whose forgiveness provides life everlasting (Ezek. 18:20-22). God so loved (the people of) the world, that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
17:18 had given his hand had pledged his word; 18:8 not given forth upon usury . . . taken any increase loaned money at no interest; 18:25 not equal unfair.
Pray for International Broadcasts in honor of Joyce Rutherford's birthday • Staff: Bill Beach • Government Official: Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL) • Country: Tuvalu (11,000) nine islands in the southwestern Pacific • Major languages: Tuvaluan and English • Religious freedom • 92% Protestant; 5% Baha'i; 2% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Thank God for guiding you to sacrifice freely for what pleases Him (Ps. 54:6).
Memory Verse for the Week: