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Bible Pathways 09/04/2003

September 4

Read Ezekiel 14 -- 16

In Today's Reading:

Judgment pronounced upon elders of Israel and Jerusalem; parable of the vine; promises of future blessings under new Covenant

Although the Israelites regularly offered sacrifices to God, they also worshiped the popular idols of other nations. Consequently, the Israelites were brought under the control of Nebuchadnezzar, who had taken thousands of them captive. Once again, certain elders of Israel (Ezekiel 14:1) came to consult Ezekiel, as if they desired to know the will of God. But the Lord revealed their hypocrisy to Ezekiel, saying: These men have set up their idols in their heart. . . . Thus says the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations (detestable practices). . . . that the House of Israel . . . may be My people, and I may be their God (14:3,6,11).

To illustrate their one purpose as the people of God, the Lord presented a parable to Ezekiel: What (How) is the vine tree (the grapevine which was often used by God to illustrate the Israelites) more than any tree . . . of the forest? Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin (stake) of it to hang any vessel thereon? Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel (15:2-4; see also Genesis 49:22; Deuteronomy 32:32; Psalm 80:8-11; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1). Every Israelite knew that the grapevine was valued only for its fruit and was worthless for making anything useful or of lasting value.

Ezekiel spoke of the vine as representing Israel, chosen of God to let the world know there was only One True God, Who would bless all who honored Him by keeping His Word. But the vine had failed to produce fruit; consequently, the only alternative was for it to be uprooted and cast into the fire (Ezekiel 15:4,7). This illustrated the Israelites being uprooted from the promised land and forced to live in Babylon.

The righteous judgment of God upon those in Jerusalem had to be consistent with the great privileges they had willfully forsaken. But the principles of God's Word are still true today. No whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain (empty) words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience (Ephesians 5:5-6).

Christ Revealed:

In the everlasting Covenant (Ezekiel 16:60). He is the Mediator of a better Covenant (Agreement) (Hebrews 8:6).

Word Studies:

16:8 I spread My skirt = took you to be My wife; 16:25 opened your feet = played the harlot; 16:30 imperious = brazen; 16:31 eminent place = mound or high place for pagan shrine; 16:43 fretted = enraged, provoked to anger.

Prayer Needs:

BP Staff: Letha Hash · Pray for Bible Pathway Prayer Partners · the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Thursday Morning Prayer · Government Officials: Rep. Bob Filner (CA) and Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY) · Country: Rwanda (8 million) in central Africa · Major languages: Kinyarwanda and French · Religious freedom · 40% Roman Catholic; 21% Protestant; 14% belief in false gods, ancestor worship, and spirit-possession cults; 9% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Thank God for the spiritual rest that is in Him (Hebrews 4:9-10).

Optional Reading: Revelation 9

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:28

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