Read Ezekiel 5 -- 9
In Today's Reading:
Famine, pestilence, and sword; remnant to be spared; vision of the glory of God; vision of slaying in Jerusalem
Fourteen years after Nebuchadnezzar's initial conquest of the kingdom of Judah, life in Jerusalem seemed to have returned to normal. Consequently, the people would not believe Ezekiel, who was in Babylon, when he prophesied concerning Jerusalem: Your altars shall be desolate. . . . the cities shall be laid waste (Ezekiel 6:4-6). Even the Israelites who were captive in Babylon were sure that God would protect Jerusalem and the only Temple on earth where His Presence dwelt.
But Ezekiel continued to warn: He that is in the field shall die with the sword; and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him (7:15). What a horrifying prophecy!
Fourteen months after his first vision (1:1-2), Ezekiel reported: The Spirit lifted me up . . . and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem (8:1-5).
The prophet then saw in his vision the great abominations (detestable things) that the house of Israel commits here. . . . wicked abominations. . . . there sat women weeping for Tammuz (the Babylonian god of fertility). . . . men, with their backs toward the Temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun (8:6,9-14,16). As a result of their disobedience to the Word of God, the Israelites had filled the land with violence (8:17). The people also would not believe his second vision that showed the reason for the coming horrifying judgment upon Judah and Jerusalem.
When Ezekiel had first prophesied destruction, the Lord declared: Their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD (7:19). The same applies today in our own generation with its overemphasis on material success, and its refusal to read the Word of God and learn how He expects us to live and what He expects us to do.
Wealth was never meant to be selfishly accumulated or to be lavished on ourselves. God entrusts people with wealth, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work (II Corinthians 9:8). The attitude of the heart is all important since both rich and poor can lust after more possessions.
The Holy Spirit warns: They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare (trap), and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition (damnation) (I Timothy 6:9).
The man clothed in linen (Ezekiel 9:2-11) represents Christ as High Priest, marking His people to be spared from the flaming sword of vengeance. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast (firmly) our profession (confession) (Hebrews 4:14; see also Revelation 7:2-3).
5:16 staff = supply; 6:4 images = idols; 7:26 ancients = religious elders, supposed spiritual leaders; 8:12 chambers of his imagery = the walls painted with figures of idols, own idol.
BP Staff: Dr. John A. Hash · Pray for the Bible Pathway Internet Outreach and the Bible Pathway devotions in Arabic, English, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish that are now on-line on our website. Let friends and missionaries overseas know that the devotional commentary is now available in these languages · Government Officials: Rep. Jim DeMint (SC) and Rep. Earl Pomeroy (ND) · Country: Romania (22 million) in southeastern Europe · Major languages: Rumanian and Hungarian · Freedom of worship · 70% Eastern Orthodox; 7% Protestant; 6% Roman Catholic; 1% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Intercede in prayer for those who forsake or disappoint you (II Timothy 4:16).
Optional Reading: Revelation 7
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:28