Sept. 10, 2009
Read Ezekiel 33
Highlights In Today's Reading:
Our responsibility and judgment as watchmen (33:8-17). What is self accountability (33:20)? The Good Shepherd (34:11-20). The Covenant of Peace (34:25-31). Don't slander Israel (chap. 35)! Although God disciplines us, He's our hope (36:9,22-30).
Ezekiel had been called to be a prophet of God (Ezek. 33:7; 3:17) in the . . . fifth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity (1:1-2). In the twelfth year of . . . captivity (33:21), he was again reminded of his calling as a watchman unto the house of Israel (33:1-7). The remaining Israelites in Jerusalem and Babylon refused to give up their idolatries and worship only the Lord God. To the very day of Jerusalem's destruction, except for a small minority, the Israelites believed they would always possess the City of God (Jer. 39:2; 52:6-7).
The Jews charged God with injustice, saying: The way of the Lord is not equal (fair or just), but His response was: When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. . . . I will judge you every one. . . . ye . . . lift up your eyes toward your idols . . . ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbour's wife . . . shall ye 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 (33:17-20,25-29). It all happened just as it had earlier been revealed to Ezekiel on the day of his wife's death (24:25-26).
Ezekiel's message proclaiming holiness as the Israelites' responsibility in their Covenant relationship with God was rejected by the popular religious crowd who were unwilling to forsake their sins. We too are to be holy (I Pet. 1:15-16; II Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:14; Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7). The Apostle John confirmed: We do know that we know Him, if we keep His Commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the Truth is not in him (I John 2:3-4).
Like the Israelites, many today dwell only on the love of God while ignoring His perfect justice. They assume they are still children of Abraham and "good enough" to go to Heaven without repenting of their sins and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. God will judge all who love the world . . . the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17).
Thought for Today:
Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart (Ps. 119:2).
As the Shepherd (Ezek. 34:23). Jesus said: I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep (John 10:14).
34:14 a fat = the best; 34:27 delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them = redeemed them from slavery; 36:3 an infamy of = slandered, ridiculed by.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Rick Hash • Staff: Tammy Davis • Government Officials: Rep. Cynthia Lummis (WY) and Rep. James Oberstar (MN) • Country: Cape Verde (405,000) 15 islands in the Atlantic Ocean, 390 miles off the coast of Africa • Major languages: Portuguese and Crioulo • Religious freedom • 91% Roman Catholic; 3% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Seek the guidance of God in meekness (Ps. 25:9).
Optional Reading: Revelation 15
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 11:29