Read Ezekiel 33 -- 36
Ezekiel was called a watchman (prophet) unto the House of Israel; (and God said to Him) you shall hear My Word . . . and warn them (Ezekiel 33:7). The Israelites remaining in Jerusalem, as well as the captives in Babylon disregarded Ezekiel's warnings that they would be destroyed if they refused to renounce their sinful ways and return to worshiping the Lord God.
In the twelfth year of our captivity (in Babylon) . . . one who had escaped out of Jerusalem came . . . saying, The city (Jerusalem) is smitten (33:21). Even after Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed, the people still insisted that Abraham was one (man), and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land is given us for (an) inheritance (33:24). To the very day of Jerusalem's destruction, the Israelites fully believed that, regardless of their sinful conduct, they were eternally secure and would always possess the City of God (see Jeremiah 39:2; 52:6-7). Like the Israelites, some today ignore the fact that their Covenant relationship with God contains conditions for which they are accountable.
The majority of the Jews in Babylon complained that the horrifying death of their kindred in Jerusalem and the destruction of their homeland were inconsistent with the promises of God's protection. They charged God with injustice, saying: The way of the Lord is not equal (fair or even just) (Ezekiel 33:17). The Lord responded: When the righteous turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, he shall even die because of it. But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and does what is lawful and right, he shall live (33:18-19).
Finally, as foretold by Ezekiel, the inevitable judgment had taken place. And, in sorrow we read: Thus says the Lord . . . Lift up your eyes toward your idols. . . . you work abomination, and every one defiles his neighbor's wife . . . shall you possess the land? . . . Then shall they know that I am the Lord, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed (33:25-29). This all happened just as it had been revealed to Ezekiel on the day of his wife's death (24:18,25-26).
Ezekiel's message proclaimed holiness as the Israelites' responsibility in their Covenant relationship with God. This did not meet with acceptance by the popular religious crowd whose hearts were unwilling to forsake their sins. Living a godly life is equally unpopular today. God will judge all who love the world -- the lust of the flesh (physical gratification), and the lust of the eyes (covetousness), and the pride of life (prestigious worldly goals that have priority in one's life) (I John 2:15-17).
Like the Israelites, many people today dwell only on the love of God, while ignoring His perfect holiness, righteousness, and justice.
Paul warned: Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
Christ Revealed: As the Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:23). Jesus said: I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep (John 10:14).
Word Studies: 34:14 fat means rich, the best; 34:27 served themselves of them means enslaved them; 36:3 an infamy of means slandered by.
Government Officials: Rep. Stephanie Jones (OH), Rep. James Oberstar (MN), Rep. John Sununu (NH), and Rep. Albert Wynn (MD) · BPM Staff: Rick Hash · Pray for Edith Bennett and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WOMI-AM, Owensboro, KY · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in honor of Dr. John Hash and family · Country: Zaire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (38 million) in south-central Africa · Major languages: French and Lingala · Limited religious freedom · 42% Roman Catholic; 28% Protestant; 12% magical practices, ancestor worship, and witchcraft; 1% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25).
Optional Reading: Revelation 15
Memory Verse for the Week: II Thessalonians 1:8,10