Sept. 4, 2009
Read Ezekiel 14
Highlights In Today's Reading:
Each person clearly accountable for their own choice to be saved (14:12-23). A breathtaking, tragic account of the love and faithfulness of God to Judah and her inconsiderate attitude (chap. 16). We must guard against spiritual adultery.
Once again, certain elders of Israel (14:1) came to consult with Ezekiel as if they desired to know the will of God. But God revealed their hypocrisy: Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols (14:3-4,6-8).
As an illustration of Israel's one purpose as the people of God, Ezekiel then presented the question: What (how) is the vine tree (representing Israel) more than any tree? . . . Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon? (15:2-4; Gen. 49:22; Deut. 32:32; Ps. 80:8-11; Is. 5:1-7; Jer. 2:21; Hos. 10:1).
Nothing was more familiar to the Israelite than the grapevine. Every Israelite knew that it was worthless to make furniture, houses, or other useful items. No one would use a vine to make even a pin (peg) to hang his hat on. If it bears no fruit, it is uprooted and cast into the fire (Ezek. 15:4,7; John 15:1-6).
The Lord looked for obedience in Israel, but there was only rebellion. He looked for spirituality, but found only formality and hypocrisy. He looked for sincere, heartfelt devotion and worship, but there was only idolatry and immorality. The long-suffering of God had not caused the Israelites to love Him, nor to bear the fruit of righteousness, nor to repent of their sins.
Northern Israel had already been cast into the fire by the Assyrian invasion. Most of Judah would be destroyed by the Babylonians' coming destruction of Jerusalem fulfilling the Word of God (Lev. 26:27-35,43; Deut. 29:15-28).
God's purpose in judgment is to reclaim the hearts of His people who have wandered away to idols, the pursuit of pleasure, the race for riches, the struggle for power, the toil for knowledge, and greed for possessions.
God is unchanging in His character and He will not bless people who assume He will overlook their sinful lives because their good religious works are highly praised by others. Jesus said: I am the vine, ye are the branches. . . . If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch . . . and . . . burned. . . . If ye keep My Commandments, ye shall abide in My love. . . . Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you (John 15:5-6,10,14).
Thought for Today:
Blessed is the man whom Thou chasteneth, O Lord, and teachest him out of Thy Law (Ps. 94:12).
In the everlasting Covenant (Ezek. 16:60). He is the Mediator of a better Covenant (Agreement) (Heb. 8:6).
16:8 I spread My skirt over thee = symbolic of a covenant of marriage (Ruth 3:9; Deut. 22:30); 16:25 opened thy feet = offered yourself as a harlot; 16:30 imperious whorish woman = shameless prostitute; 16:31 eminent place = prominent public location; thou scornest hire = you refused a fee; 16:43 fretted me = provoked me to anger.
Pray for English International Shorwave Broadcasts sponsored by Bett Brown • Staff: Al Joslyn • Government Officials: Rep. Bob Filner (CA), Gov. Brian Schweitzer (MT), and Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY) • Country: Bulgaria (8.2 million) in southeastern Europe • Major languages: Bulgarian and ethnic languages • Newly opened to evangelism • 85% Eastern Orthodox; 12% Muslim Sunni; 1% Shi'a Muslim; .6% Catholic; .27% Protestant; .1% Armenian Gregorian; .03% Jewish; 1% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to show you any sins that you are not aware of and to cleanse you of them (Ps. 19:12).
Optional Reading: Revelation 9
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 11:28