Bible Pathway - Sept. 6, 2011

 

Read Ezekiel 20

Highlights:

Israel's leaders refuse to listen to the prophets of God. The consequences are inevitable (Ezek. chap. 20). God guides Babylon to fulfill His judgment against Israel (21:3). A fork in the road. Babylon heads for Judah (21:18-23). God accuses the people of open sin with no shame (21:24).

On three occasions the elders went to Ezekiel to inquire of the Lord (Ezek. 8:1; 14:1; 20:1). On the first occasion, Ezekiel exposed their sins and foretold Jerusalem's destruction because of idolatry. At the second meeting, God revealed to Ezekiel that the elders were not sincere and had no desire to do His will. The third time, Ezekiel told them that the destruction of Jerusalem and the nation was certain.

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God declared that the real reason for the Israelites' failure was because they rebelled against Me: they walked not in My Statutes, neither kept My Judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted My Sabbaths (20:21; compare 20:11,18). Morally, they had sunk to the corrupt conduct of the heathen nations around them. Because they disregarded His Word and lived like the world, God could not bless or protect them. He cannot bless evil. There was no evidence of repentance nor any sincere attempt to turn the nation back to God. The elders came only because of their concern for their own welfare and safety; they were indifferent to their guilt and unworthiness to worship only the One True God. They ignored their real need: Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. But they rebelled against Me (20:7-8).

Their hearts were set on worshiping idols. Every idol in Egypt was thought to be in control of one of their material needs. Consequently, the elders didn't want to offend their "gods." However, they also continued bringing gifts to the True God. Their sin is pointed out: When ye offer your gifts . . . ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day (20:31). It was in the midst of this rebellion against God that He said: As I live . . . I will not be inquired of by you (20:3).

To inquire of the Lord without a sincere desire to put Him above all else in your life and obey His Word is just as foolish for Christians today as it was for the Israelites then. However, God extends forgiving mercy to every sinner who sincerely repents and trusts in Christ as Savior and Lord of his life.

Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit (John 15:16).

Thought for Today:

This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me (Matt. 15:8-9).

Christ Revealed:

As the One who will gather His people from all nations and will purge out the false from the true (Ezek. 20:34-38). When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. . . . And these (goats) shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (Matt. 25:31-46; also 3:12).

Word Studies:

20:5 I lifted up mine hand I bound myself by an oath; 21:2 drop thy (your) word toward your out your words against; 21:13 the sword contemn even the rod there is a testing in store by the sword since you despised the rod (refused to be corrected).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Joseph Cusseaux • Staff: Dan Murton • Government Officials: Rep. Danny Davis (IL), Rep. John Kline (MN), Rep. Sander Levin (MI) and Gov. Chris Christie (NJ) • Country: Uganda (23 million) in eastern Africa • Major languages: English and Luganda • Religious freedom • 51% Roman Catholic; 30% Protestant; 10% animist; 7% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Call upon the Lord and He will save you (Ps. 55:16).

Optional Reading:

Revelation 11

Memory Verse for the Week:

John 1:10
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