September 04

Read Ezekiel 14 -- 16

In Today's Reading:

Judgment pronounced on elders of Israel and Jerusalem; parables of the vine and the adulterous woman; promises of future blessings under the new Covenant.

Verses for Today:

Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations. . . . (Otherwise) I will set My face against that man (who does not repent) . . . and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. . . . That the House of Israel may go no more astray from Me . . . but that they may be My people, and I may be their God (14:6-8,11).

The Israelites were under the control of Nebuchadnezzar, who had taken thousands of them captive. Once again, certain of the elders of Israel (Ezekiel 14:1) came to consult Ezekiel, as if they desired to know the will of God. But the Lord revealed their hypocrisy to Ezekiel.

Although the Israelites made regular visits to the Temple to worship the One True God as a matter of tradition, they also worshiped the popular gods of other nations. The Israelites' supreme purpose for existence was to reveal to the world, through His Word, the One True God.

As an illustration of their one purpose as the people of God, the Lord presented the question to Ezekiel: What is the vine tree (the grapevine, which was often used by God to illustrate His people) more than any tree? . . . Shall wood be taken [from it] to do any work? or will men [make] a [peg] of it [on which] to hang any vessel thereon? (15:2-3; Genesis 49:22; Deuteronomy 32:32; Psalms 80:8-11; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1). Every Israelite knew that the grapevine was valued only for its fruit and was worthless for making lumber for houses, furniture, or even a peg to hang anything on, for the wood is twisted and gnarled.

Ezekiel spoke of the vine as representing Israel, chose of God to receive His eternal Word, an honor that no other nation on earth was given. They had the privilege and also the responsibility to let the world know there was only One True God, Who would bless all who honored him by keeping His Word. But the vine had failed to produce fruit. Consequently, the only alternative for it was to be uprooted and cast into the fire (Ezekiel 15:4-7).

The judgment of God upon those in Jerusalem had to be consistent with the great privileges they had willfully forsaken. The same is true today. No whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience (Ephesians 5:5-6).

Christ Revealed:

In the everlasting Covenant (Ezekiel 16:60). He is the Mediator of a better Covenant (Hebrews 8:6).

Word Studies:

16:8 I spread my skirt = I bound myself by oath; 16:25 opened thy feet = played the harlot; 16:30 imperious = shameless; 16:31 eminent place = mound or high place for pagan shrine; 16:43 fretted = provoked to anger.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Bob Filner (CA) and Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY) · Pray for your church · Country: Switzerland (7 million) in central Europe · Major languages: German and French · Religious freedo · 53% Roman Catholic; 41% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray and give thanks to the Lord for your brothers and sisters in Christ (Colossians 1:2-3).

Optional Reading: Revelation 9

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:28