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Bible Pathways - September 4, 2005

September 4


Read Ezekiel 14


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 heathen idols of other nations. Consequently, as punishment for the sin of idolatry the Israelites were brought under the control of Nebuchadnezzar, who took thousands of them captive. Once again, certain elders of Israel (Ezekiel 14:1) came to consult Ezekiel, as if they truly 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 saith 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 is the vine tree more than any tree . . . of the forest? Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin (peg) of it to hang any vessel thereon? Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel (15:2-4; compare Genesis 49:22; Deuteronomy 32:32; Psalm 80:8-11; 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. The grapevine was often used by God to illustrate the Israelites.


Ezekiel also spoke of the vine as representing Israel as chosen of God to let the world know that He was the only One True God, and that He would bless all who honored Him by keeping His Word. The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel (Isaiah 5:7). 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 Babylonian captivity.


The righteous judgment of God upon those in Jerusalem had to be consistent with the great privileges they had willfully forsaken. The principles of God's Word are still true today. No whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh 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 (Hebrews 8:6). Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant (12:24). Jesus said: This is My blood of the New Testament (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24). He is the Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death. . . . they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15).


Word Studies:


16:8 I spread My skirt over thee = symbolic of marriage (Ruth 3:9; Deuteronomy 22:30); 16:25 opened thy feet = played the harlot; 16:30 imperious = hard, shameless; 16:31 eminent place = mound or high place for pagan shrine; 16:43 fretted = provoked to anger.


Prayer Needs:


Pray for Government Officials: Rep. Bob Filner (CA) and Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY) · Country: Mexico (100 million) in North America · Major language: Spanish · Religious freedom · 88% Roman Catholic; 4% Protestant; .1% Eastern Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Humble yourself before the Lord (I Peter 5:5-6).


Optional Reading: Revelation 9


Memory Verse for the Week: Titus 1:16

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