September 07

Read Ezekiel 22 -- 24

In Today's Reading:

Sins of Israel enumerated and judgment foretold; abominations of two sisters; parable of the boiling pot; death of Ezekial's wife.

Verses for Today:

Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will profane (destroy) My Sanctuary . . . and your sons and your daughters whom ye have left (in Jerusalem) shall fall by the sword. . . . and when this (the news of the destruction of the Temple) cometh, ye shall know (be convinced) that I am the Lord God (24:21-24).

On the very day that God revealed to Ezekiel that his precious wife, the desire of [your] eyes (Ezekiel 24:16), was to die, God also said: Neither shall you mourn nor weep, neither shall your tears run down. Ezekiel was told by the Lord that, after his wife's death, he was to refrain from all the conventional signs of mourning: weeping, covering his head with ashes, going barefoot, covering his lip, and eating bread or the food that was commonly brought to a bereaved family after a funeral (Leviticus 13:45; 2 Samuel 15:30-32; Isaiah 15:3; 20:2; Joel 1:8; Micah 3:7). It was not that he was to be insensitive to the death of his wife, but, his own sorrow over her death was to give way to the far greater sorrow over the death of his nation and the destruction of the Temple which took place the same day his wife died. Thus saith the Lord God; I will bring up a company (Nebuchadnezzar's army). . . . they shall slay their sons and their daughters. . . . [you] shall bear the sins of your idols: and [you] shall know that I am the Lord God (Ezekiel 23:46-47).

News of Ezekiel's unusual reaction to his wife's death must have spread quickly among the exiles along the River Chebar, for the people gathered around him asking: Tell us what these things [mean] to us (24:19)? Then came the heartbreaking news from Ezekiel that the Temple of God had been destroyed.

Eventually, a messenger who had escaped the devastation of Jerusalem arrived in Babylon to report the city's destruction (33:21). Not until then did the people realize they had been deceived by their false prophets, who had foretold a quick return to Jerusalem. Just as they had been forewarned by Jeremiah in Jerusalem and by Ezekiel in Babylonia, the Israelites' acceptance of false gods and their indifference to their sins against the One True God had brought about the grievous slaughter of their sons and daughters.

Often we see worldly-minded people grieving over material losses which are totally irrelevant to their eternal welfare. Others express no real concern over their loved ones' indifference to doing the will of God and wasting their lives on worldly pursuits.

Jesus said that we are not to be preoccupied with earthly concerns, even our daily needs: But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).

Christ Revealed:

In the denunciation of Israel's false prophets (Ezekiel 22:25-28). Compare them with those Christ spoke against the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:13-36).

Word Studies:

22:7 set light = made light; 22:12 gifts = bribes; 23:16 doted upon = infatuated, lusted after; 23:20 paramours = illicit lovers; 24:17 tire = turban.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Ed Bryant (TN), Sen. Daniel Inouye (HI), and Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (CA) · Pray for your Sunday School teacher · Country: St. Lucia (154,000) in the eastern Caribbean · Major languages:English and French patois · Religious freedom · 83% Roman Catholic; 13% Protestant; 2% spirit worship · Prayer Suggestion: Continue to watch and pray with thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2).

Optional Reading: Revelation 12

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:28