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Bible Pathways - Sept. 10, 2008


September 10

Ezekiel 33

Highlights In Today's Reading:

God lays the responsibility on all who "know" that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1) to sound a warning against danger. Who is held liable? The answer is in today's Bible reading.

After the death of his father Isaac, Esau had settled in Edom and conquered the rocky country in the vicinity of Mount Seir, known today as Petra. From strategic mountain heights overlooking the southern border of the Holy Land, the Edomites watched with obvious envy the growing power of Jacob's favored tribes.

Edom was not satisfied just to watch the invasion and destruction of Israel under the powerful Nebuchadnezzar. Forgetful of all ties of kinship, the Edomites sent troops to assist Nebuchadnezzar in his devastating war against Jerusalem! They were even more cruel than the Chaldeans and massacred the few Israelites who escaped. They then ruthlessly boasted of their part in the terrible destruction of Jerusalem and eagerly took possession of some of the defeated land of Israel.

Amidst destruction, it seems strange to read the words: The Lord was there (35:10). The sentence breaks in like a rainbow in the sky following a torrential downpour. I will make thee (Edom) perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the Lord (35:9). Yes, the Lord was (and is always) there in the promised land. The land was desolate but not forsaken, it was conquered and carried away but was not forsaken by Israel's God, for the Lord was there.

God expressed His anger against Israel's religious leaders who were more concerned in their own interests than in encouraging the people to turn from their evil ways.

Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? . . . Therefore will I save My flock. . . . And I will set up one Shepherd over them (34:2,22-23).

Ezekiel foretold of a Shepherd who would truly love and care for His sheep. He portrayed the Savior-Shepherd as My servant David because of David's intense desire for his people to honor the Lord. David had a shepherd's heart and was a type foreshadowing Jesus the Messiah, the King of kings. Jesus identified Himself as Israel's Shepherd who would lay down (give up) My (His) life for the (His) sheep (John 10:15).

Our Savior did not give His life as a martyr for truth or as a moral example of self-sacrifice. He, of His own free will, sacrificed His life as the only acceptable sacrifice for lost, sinful people (10:11,15,18). Jesus Christ took our rightful punishment of eternal death and died on the cross for our sins conquering death (Revelation 1:18) so that we might have eternal life.

Jesus said: I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine (John 10:14).

Thought for Today:

Just like the Enemies of Israel many church members ignore the needs and sufferings of others for their own selfish gain.

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 a fat =b> the best; 34:27 delivered them out of the hand of them that served themselves of them =b> freed them from slavery; 36:3 an infamy of =b> slandered, ridiculed by.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Caroline Hobby • Staff: Rita Guerra • Government Officials: Rep. Stephanie Jones (OH), Rep. James Oberstar (MN), Sen. John Sununu (NH), and Rep. Albert Wynn (MD) • Country: El Salvador (5.9 million) in Central America • Major language: Spanish • Some intolerance of Protestants by government officials • 75% Catholic; 20% Protestant; .5% Baha'i; 2.5% Other; 2% None • Prayer Suggestion: Begin each morning with prayer (Psa. 5:3).

Optional Reading: Revelation 15

Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 1:24

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