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Bible Pathways 09/10/2003

September 10

Read Ezekiel 33 -- 36

In Today's Reading:

Jerusalem's destruction; justice of God's dealing; reproof of the false shepherds; destruction of Edom; restoration of Israel foretold

Ezekiel was called a watchman to the house of Israel; and God said to Him therefore you shall hear the Word at My mouth, and warn them for Me (Ezekiel 33:7). The Israelites who remained in Jerusalem, as well as the captives in Babylon, disregarded Ezekiel's warnings that God would destroy them if they refused to repent of their sinful ways. And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity . . . one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came to me, saying, The city is smitten (33:21).

The majority of the Jews in Babylon complained that the horrifying death of their kindred in Jerusalem and the destruction of their homeland were inconsistent with the promises of God's protection, saying: The way of the Lord is not equal (right) (33:17). The Lord responded: When the righteous turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity (sin), 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 (33:18-19).

The inevitable judgment had taken place as foretold by Ezekiel. Then the Lord told him to say: You eat with blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall you possess the land? You stand upon your sword, you work abomination (detestable sins) . . . and shall you possess the land . . . As I live, surely they . . . shall fall by the sword , and . . . die of the pestilence. For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease. . . . Then shall they know that I am the the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed (33:25-29). This was all fulfilled as prophesied by Ezekiel on the day of his wife's death (24:18,25-26).

Ezekiel's message proclaimed that holy living was the Israelites' responsibility in their Covenant relationship with God. This was rejected by those unwilling to forsake their sins. Times have not changed; living a godly life is equally unpopular today. There are many professing Christians who love what the world can offer for the gratification of the earthly nature the lust (coveting) of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life . . . is of the world. . . . but he that does the will of God abides (lives) for ever (I John 2:15-17). Like the Israelites, many people today emphasize only the love of God while ignoring His commands to be righteous. For as you have yielded your members (body parts) servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity (of sins leading to more sins); even so now yield your members servants to righteousness to holiness (sanctification). . . . for the end of those things is death (Romans 6:19,21).

Christ Revealed:

As the Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:23) Jesus said: I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep (John 10:14).

Word Studies:

34:14 fat = rich, the best; 34:27 served themselves of them = enslaved them; 36:3 an infamy of = slandered by.

Prayer Needs:

BP Staff: Rita Guerra · Pray for Hands for Christ and Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Bowers · Government Officials: Rep. Stephanie Jones (OH), Rep. James Oberstar (MN), Sen. John Sununu (NH), and Rep. Albert Wynn (MD) · Country: Serbia and Montenegro (11 million) on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe · Major language: Serbo-Croatian · Religious conflict · 41% Serbian/Montenegrin/Macedonian Orthodox; 33% Catholic; 11% Muslim; 1% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Remember that the Lord is faithful to keep His promises (Hebrews 10:23).

Optional Reading: Revelation 15

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 10:9

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