God so appalled - He refuses to talk! Why and the consequences (chap. 20). But God is merciful (20:44). Rather have God or Babylon be your enemy (21:3)? A fork in the road. Babylon heads for Judah (21:118-23). The people openly sin with no shame (21:24).
But they rebelled against Me, and would not hearken unto Me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out My fury upon them, to accomplish My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt (Ezek. 20:8).
In Chapter 20 of the Book of Ezekiel, the Lord briefly recounts some of the history of the nation of Israel. The main theme in this historical retrospective is how God had repeatedly blessed Israel, but after the passing of a seemingly short span of time, Israel would once again be found turning away from the Lord to worship false gods.
The Lord begins here with the deliverance of the nation of Israel from their Egyptian slavery. There is great beauty in how God treated Israel. The Lord Himself uses the word chose. What could be better in life than to be chosen of God?
Not only did God deliver them out of bondage, the Word of God records that He had prepared a homeland for them. This land is described as flowing with milk and honey and as the glory of all lands in verse six of this chapter. The Lord had definitely prepared a beautiful home for Israel.
How did Israel respond? In what manner did she repay the Lord? How did the people show their appreciation for what the Lord had done?
Israel's response included falling into the very trap that the Lord had warned them against. The people held onto their idols from Egypt. They chose to look to false gods that they could see and touch. The Word of God is packed with warnings against the practice of idolatry. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience (Col. 3:5-6).
As can clearly be seen in the Word of God, punishment is to come upon those that are disobedient to God. At times, the Lord has sent judgment Israel's way. However, God has also extended much mercy in response to the rebellion of His people. God is usually found sending mercy before judgment. Both are meant to call the recipient back into a restored fellowship with our heavenly Father. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5).
It is always easy to look at a situation from the outside and pass judgment upon it. We may look at Israel and ask, "how in the world is this possible?" We may think we could never fall prey to turning to idolatry right after receiving a great blessing from the Lord. However, this happens more often than you might think in the life of the Believer. We must be on guard at all times as the devil is tricky. He creates these types of situations when we are the least on our guard. He draws many believers into this very trap.
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it (John 8:44).
Thought for Today:
Make sure when you share your witness that you speak the truth in love.
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).
Optional Reading: Revelation 11
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 145:1