September 6

Read Ezekiel 20 -- 21

In Today's Reading:

God's refusal to be consulted by the elders; history of rebellious Israel; its defeat by Babylon and scattering among the heathen

The king and the religious leaders of Judah had expressed growing hatred for the prophet Jeremiah because of his messages of judgment against them. The revelations and visions given by God to Ezekiel, who was living in Babylon, were also ignored. There comes a time when God says: They shall call upon Me, but I will not answer (Proverbs 1:28). It was now too late to pray for God to spare Jerusalem from destruction. However, Ezekiel records: Certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire (ask for guidance) of the LORD, and sat before me (Ezekiel 20:1).

Then God gave Ezekiel the following message for the elders: I will not be inquired of by you . . . . I chose Israel. . . . But they rebelled against Me. . . . they despised My judgments . . . for their heart went after their idols (20:3,5,8,16). Following this, Ezekiel received a horrifying message from the Lord for Israel: I am against you, and will draw forth My sword. . . . to give it into the hand of the slayer (21:3,11).

Ezekiel's prophecy of the sharpened sword was a message of impending destruction. King Zedekiah, the profane wicked prince of Israel (21:25), and the people would soon be captured. Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, who, no doubt, congratulated himself on his splendid triumph in Judah when, in fact, he was only serving the King of kings. He was unknowingly being used to fulfill God's judgment upon His rebellious people.

This is a reminder from the Lord that the lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD (Proverbs 16:33).

No other king has been anointed to sit on the throne of David in Israel for the past 2500 years. As Ezekiel foretold: Thus says the Lord God; Remove the diadem (turban), and take off the crown. . . . I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until He come Whose right it is; and I will give it (to) Him (Ezekiel 21:26-27). In the time of Jesus, an Edomite named Herod was merely a puppet king appointed by Rome to govern only the Jews of Judea. The promised land will continue to exist without a king until the return of Jesus Christ as King of kings, and Lord of lords (I Timothy 6:15).

Christ Revealed:

As the One Who will gather His people from all nations and will purge out the false from the true (Ezekiel 20:34-38). When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. . . . And these (goats) shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (Matthew 25:31-46; also 3:12).

Word Studies:

20:5 lifted up mine hand = promised, vowed; 21:2 drop thy word toward = speak out against; 21:13 the sword contemn even the rod = there is a testing in store by the sword since you despised the rod (refused to be corrected).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Universal Printing, printers of Bible Pathway in the U.S. · Government Officials: Rep. Danny Davis (IL), Rep. John Kline (MN), Rep. Sander Levin (MI), and Rep. Kendrick Meek (FL) · Country: San Marino (25,000) inside north-central Italy · Major language: Italian · Religious freedom · 95% Roman Catholic; 5% atheist · Prayer Suggestion: Go to God in prayer with boldness and seek His grace and mercy (Hebrews 4:16).

Optional Reading: Revelation 11

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:28