September 3

Read Ezekiel 10 -- 13

In Today's Reading:

Glory of the Lord leaving the Temple; judgment upon lying leaders; the promise of Israel's restoration and renewal; captivity near

Ezekiel's vision revealed the dispatching of seven men, one to spare the faithful minority and six to slay the idolatrous majority of Israelites. One man . . . clothed with linen marked the foreheads of all who remained faithful to the Lord (Ezekiel 9:2-7). Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims. And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth . . . and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD s house (10:18-19).

Ezekiel observed the leaders of Jerusalem who, it seemed, were being blessed and called upon to remain in charge as the favored people, while so many others had been taken captive. But, in reality, many of the deprived captives in Babylon eventually learned, through suffering, to repent of their pagan idolatry and trust in the Lord God of Israel. God promised a great future to those who were loyal to Him. As Ezekiel prepared to leave the Temple, he saw the Presence of the Lord, Which had rested just above the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies, slowly leaving the place where He had once chosen to dwell.

As the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city (11:23), it reluctantly left the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put His Name there (I Kings 14:21). It appears the Israelites were so involved in their religious activities they were not aware that God had forsaken them.

The Lord again gave Ezekiel a prophecy that reached far into the future: I will put a new Spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh: That they may walk in My statutes (decrees), and keep My ordinances, and do them: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God (Ezekiel 11:19-20; also 36:26-27). It is thrilling to know that Ezekiel was also speaking to all Christians. The Apostle Paul wrote to all of us: You are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints (believers), and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of . . . Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone (Ephesians 2:19-20).

Christ Revealed:

As the One Who gives a new Spirit (Ezekiel 11:19). This is the promise fulfilled when one accepts Jesus as Savior and Lord. God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts (Galatians 4:4-7).

Word Study:

12:3 stuff for removing = baggage for exile, belongings for captivity and exile; 12:23 effect = fulfillment; 13:9 upon = against; 13:18 women that sew pillows to all armholes = false prophetesses who sew magic charms on divining garments; 13:21 kerchiefs = veils; 13:23 divine divinations = practice witchcraft.

Prayer Needs:

BP Staff: Wanda Baker · Pray for Bible Pathway Distributors · the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Miss Ruth Hess · Government Officials: Rep. Joe Hoeffel (PA), Rep. John Olver (MA), and Rep. Thomas Reynolds (NY) · Country: Russia (150 million) northeastern Europe and northern Asia · Major language: Russian · Religious freedom · 55% Russian/Armenian/Georgian/Old Believers Orthodox; 9% Muslim; .8% Shamanist/animist; .7% Protestant; .6% Buddhist; .5% Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for your Christian friends (Philemon 1:4).

Optional Reading: Revelation 8

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:28