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Bible Pathways 9/7/2001

September 7

Read Ezekiel 22 -- 24

On the very day that God revealed to Ezekiel that his precious wife, the desire of your eyes, was to die, God also said: Neither shall you mourn nor weep, neither shall your tears run down (Ezekiel 24:16). Ezekiel was told by the Lord that, after his wife's death, he was to refrain from all the conventional signs of mourning: weeping, covering his head with ashes, going barefoot, covering his lip, and eating bread or the food that was commonly brought to a bereaved family after a funeral (Leviticus 13:45; II Samuel 15:30-32; Isaiah 15:3; 20:2; Joel 1: 8,13; Micah 3:7). It was not that he was to be insensitive to the suffering of his wife. But, his own sorrow over the death of his wife was to give way to the far greater sorrow over the death of his nation and the destruction of the Temple which took place the same day his wife died. Thus says the Lord God; I will bring up a company (Nebuchadnezzar's army). . . . They shall slay their sons and their daughters. . . . you shall bear the sins of your idols: and you shall know that I am the Lord God (Ezekiel 23:46-47,49).

News of Ezekiel's unusual reaction to his wife's death must have spread quickly among the exiles along the River Chebar, for the people gathered around him asking: Tell us what these things mean to us? (24:19). Then came the heartbreaking news from Ezekiel: Thus says the Lord God; Behold, I will profane (destroy) My sanctuary, the excellency of your strength . . . and your sons and your daughters whom you have left (in Jerusalem) shall fall by the sword. And you shall do as I have done. . . . you shall not . . . weep; but you shall . . . mourn one toward another. Thus Ezekiel is to you a sign: according to all that he has done you shall do: and when this (the news of the destruction of the Temple) comes, you shall know (be convinced) that I am the Lord God, who has confirmed His Word (24:21-24).

Eventually, a messenger who escaped the devastation of Jerusalem arrived in Babylon to report the city's destruction (33:21). Not until then did the people realize they had been deceived by their false prophets who had foretold a quick return to Jerusalem. Just as they had been forewarned by Jeremiah in Jerusalem and by Ezekiel in Babylonia, the Israelites' acceptance of false gods and indifference to their sins against the One True God had brought about the slaughter of their sons and daughters.

Often we see worldly-minded people grieving over material losses which are totally irrelevant to their eternal welfare. Others express no real concern over their loved ones indifference to doing the will of God and wasting their lives on worldly pursuits.

Jesus said that we are not to be preoccupied with earthly things, not even our daily needs: But seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33). For those preoccupied with hoarding earthly treasures, Jesus also warned that they were on their way to outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30).

Christ Revealed: In the denunciation of Israel's false prophets (Ezekiel 22:25-28). Compare these denunciations with those Christ spoke against the scribes and Pharisees (Matt. 23:13-36).

Word Studies: 22:7 set light means made light; 22:12 gifts means bribes; 23:16 doted upon means infatuated, lusted after; 23:20 paramours means illicit lovers; 24:17 tire means turban.

Prayer Needs:
Government Officials: Rep. Ed Bryant (TN), Sen. Daniel Inouye (HI), and Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (CA) · BPM Staff: Benjamin Wallace · Pray for Ron & Gloria Bechtel, Universal Printing, printers of Bible Pathway in U.S. · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Two of the Lord's Bible Missionaries · Country: Venezuela (23 million) on the northern coast of South America · Major languages: Spanish and Indian dialects · Religious freedom · 94% Roman Catholic; 1% Protestant; 1% Indian pagan religions · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to reveal His will and fill you with His Spirit (Ephesians 5:17-18).

Optional Reading: Revelation 12

Memory Verse for the Week: I Timothy 6:9

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