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Bible Pathways - Sept. 5, 2008


September 5

Ezekiel 17

Highlights In Today's Reading:

You need to know why God gave us a riddle about two eagles, a great eagle (Nebuchadnezzar) and Egypt that represents the other eagle (17:12-21,24). God proclaims that the wages of sin is death (18:20). Then He writes a funeral song for the princes of Israel (19:1), ending with now it's time for the funeral (19:14).

During the final days before the destruction of Jerusalem, the people of Judah endured much suffering before they were taken as slaves to Babylon. It was the foremost powerful nation of that day with the most spectacular capitol ever built. Consequently, the Israelites were bitter and accused God of being unjust in allowing them to be disgraced and defeated by Nebuchadnezzar. Why didn't God come to their rescue?

Because the Israelites refused to turn from their sins, the Holy God of righteousness could not bless and protect them. Nebuchadnezzar became His instrument for executing judgment upon them. Then, later, as foretold by both Isaiah and Jeremiah, the judgment of God fell upon the powerful and wicked Babylonians and soon they no longer existed (Isaiah 13:17-20; Jeremiah 50:1-3).

The Kingdom of Judah complained that God's ways were not equal — not fair (Ezekiel 18:25). But, they were fair and the national distress of Israel was the result of their sins. Therefore, Ezekiel declared the solemn fact of individual accountability: The soul that sinneth, it shall die (18:20).

God spoke this truth to Adam in the garden: In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:17). It is this principle upon which every person will stand before God. If the ways of God appear unfair, the deceptive evils of sin have not been recognized.

Just as the Israelites should not have had idols in the Temple of God, sin must not be allowed to remain in the Christian's life. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:2). He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (I John 2:4).

By permitting seemingly unfair trials and circumstances to occur, God often tests the reality of our faith in His Word. God, in perfect wisdom and perfect love, has given us His Holy Spirit and greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world (4:4). We cannot willfully sin and expect to enjoy God's blessings. Without reservation, by faith we know that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28), not necessarily for our own personal self interest, but for His eternal purpose for our lives. The highest calling of Christ is that we make Him known to others (Matthew 28:19-20).

The Lord is . . . not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9).

Thought for Today:

Obedience always brings the blessings of God but, the opposite is also true that sin always brings the judgment of God

Christ Revealed:

As the One whose forgiveness provides life everlasting (Ezekiel 18:20-22). God so loved (the people of) the world, that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Word Study:

17:18 had given his hand =b> pledged his word; 18:8 not given forth upon usury . . . taken any increase =b> loaned money at no interest; 18:25 not equal =b> unfair.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Arabic, English, & Spanish International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Joyce Rutherford's birthday • Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of James D. Lewis • Staff: Barbara Bivens • Government Officials: Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL) and Rep. Rick Keller (FL) • Country: Djibouti (447,000) in eastern Africa • Major languages: French and Arabic • Limited religious freedom • 91% Muslim; 7% Roman Catholic; .75% Eastern Orthodox; about 300 Protestants • Prayer Suggestion: Intercede in prayer for your friends (Job 42:7-10).

Optional Reading: Revelation 10

Memory Verse for the Week: Philippians 1:29

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