Read Ezekiel 20
Jehovah vindicated in chastening Israel; parable of the sighing prophet and Sword of the Lord; no king for Israel until the Messiah comes to reign.
But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness: they walked not in My statutes, and they despised My judgments (Ezek. 20:13).
The prophet declared that the real reason for Israel's failure was because they walked not in My (God's) statutes, and they despised My judgments (compare 20:11,19,21). Morally, they had sunk to the level of the vilest heathens around them. God withdrew His blessings from them because they disregarded his Word and did as they pleased. It is unreasonable to expect God to continue to place His blessings on us if we are living in disobedience to His Word. However, we can be so blinded by the enemy to the things around us that we are surprised by our separation from God. Oh, that Christians would realize how important it is to read and obey the Word of God. But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves (James 1:22).
On three occasions the elders went to Ezekiel to inquire of the Lord presumably to seek God's will (Ezek. 8:1; 14:1; 20:1). On the first occasion, the prophet revealed their sins and foretold Jerusalem's doom because of idolatry. At the second meeting, God revealed to the prophet that the elders had no desire to do the will of God. The third time, Ezekiel told them that the destruction of Jerusalem and the nation was imminent.
It is an insult to God for anyone to inquire of the Lord without having a sincere desire to obey His revealed will. It is exceedingly important in our prayers to always yield our will to the will of God. This makes it easier to receive instructions from heaven and change the direction we are walking. When we come to God determined to follow our own way, we are bound to be disappointed. Instead, we should repent and turn our faces towards God. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Itself maketh intercession for us . . . because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Rom. 8:26-27). God is indeed long-suffering to extend His mercy to every sinner who will acknowledge Christ as Savior and Lord. He desires to offer mercy and grace to all mankind. We are promised that: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy Word (Ps. 119:67).
Thought for Today:
God often chastens His people to restore them to fellowship with Him.
As the One who will gather His people from all nations and will purge out the false from the true (Ezek. 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 (Matt. 25:31-46; also 3:12).
20:5 I lifted up mine hand = I bound myself by an oath; 21:2 drop thy (your) word toward = pour out your words against; 21:13 the sword contemn even the rod = there is a testing in store by the sword since you despised the rod (refused to be corrected).
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Rev. Gladys Davis • Staff: Beth Carlton • Government Officials: Gov. Chris Christie (NJ), Rep. Danny K. Davis (IL), Rep. William R. Keating (MA), Rep. Sandy M. Levin (MI), and Rep. John P. Kline, Jr. (MN) • Country: Suriname (431,000) on the northeastern coast of South America • Major languages: Dutch and English • Very limited religious freedom • 27% Hindu; 22% Roman Catholic; 20% Protestant; 20% Muslim; 6% witchcraft and spirit worship • Prayer Suggestion: Begin every day with prayer (Ps. 88:13).
Optional Reading: Revelation 11
Memory Verse for the Week: James 1:2-3