Highlights In Today's Reading:
God reveals the real reason why Israel lost their freedom (20:16) — and then, sadly, the reviews of the end of an era with a prophecy that the king of Babylon will remove the last king of the Davidic line until Messiah comes (chapters 20 & 21) and why (21:27).
On three occasions the elders went to Ezekiel to inquire of the Lord (8:1; 14:1; 20:1). On the first occasion, Ezekiel exposed their sins and foretold Jerusalem's destruction because of idolatry. At the second meeting, God revealed to Ezekiel that the elders were not sincere and had no desire to do His will. The third time, Ezekiel told them that the destruction of Jerusalem and the nation was certain.
Through the prophet Ezekiel, God declared that the real reason for the Israelites' failure was because they rebelled against Me: they walked not in My Statutes, neither kept My Judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted My Sabbaths (20:21; compare 20:11,18). Morally, they had sunk to the corrupt conduct of the heathen nations around them. Because they disregarded His Word and lived like the world, God could not bless or protect them. He cannot bless evil. There was no evidence of repentence nor any sincere attempt to turn the nation back to God. The elders came only because of their concern for their own welfare and safety. But, they ignored their real need: Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. But they rebelled against Me (20:7-8).
They were very much concerned over their earthly affairs but were indifferent to their guilt and unworthiness to worship only the One True God. Their hearts were set on worshipping idols. Every idol in Egypt was thought to be in control of one of their material needs. Consequently, the elders didn't want to offend their "gods." However, they also continued bringing gifts to the True God. While they did not deny Jehovah, they added a few more just to be safe. Their sin is pointed out: When ye offer your gifts . . . ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day (20:31). It was in the midst of this "rebellion against" God that He said: As I live . . . I will not be inquired of by you (20:3).
To inquire of the Lord without a sincere desire to put Him above all else in your life and to obey His Word is just as foolish for Christians today as it was for the Israelites then. However, God extends forgiving mercy to every sinner who sincerely repents and turns to Christ as Savior and the Lord of his life.
Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit (John 15:16).
Thought for Today:
Some of our "needs" are really "wants" that only serve to draw us away from God. Our loving God will not give us what will harm us.
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 divideth 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).
20:5 I lifted up mine hand =b> I bound myself by an oath; 21:2 drop thy (your) word toward =b> pour out your words against; 21:13 the sword contemn even the rod =b> there is a testing in store by the sword since you despised the rod (refused to be corrected).
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Rick Hash • Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Bill & Mary Farmer • Bible Pathway Printer: Ambrose Printing Staff, Nashville TN • Government Officials: Rep. Danny Davis (IL), Rep. John Kline (MN), Rep. Sander Levin (MI), Rep. Kendrick Meek (FL), and Gov. Bill Ritter (CO) • Country: Dominica (65,000) in the British West Indies • Major languages: English and French patois • Religious freedom • 75% Roman Catholic; 12% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Delight in the Word of God; prayerfully meditate upon it for daily guidance (Psa. 1:2).
Optional Reading: Revelation 11
Memory Verse for the Week: Philippians 1:29