November 4, 2021

Ezekiel 10:1–11:25

In Ezekiel 10 the prophet has a vision of God’s throne, surrounded by God’s glory. At first glance we might think this to be a good thing, but it wasn’t, for God was giving Ezekiel a vision of His glory departing from the Temple.

Not only does Ezekiel see the glory of God, he also sees the angelic scribe described as a “man clothed in linen,” who was to take coals of fire from among the wheels of the cherubim and scatter them over the city (Ezkekiel 10:2, 6)

Warren Wierbe, “Coals from the altar brought cleansing to Isaiah (Isaiah 6:6–7), but they brought judgment to Jerusalem. The altar is the place where sin is atoned for because sin is judged.”

The glory of the LORD went up from the cherub and paused over the threshold of the temple (Ezekiel 10:4) but it was only a pause, for the glory of the Lord then departed from the threshold, stood over the cherubim who lifted their wings and mounted up from the earth in Ezekiel’s sight. God’s glory “flew away.” This was an indicator that the people, including their Temple, were about to be judged.

This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened to Israel. Bible Knowledge Commentary, “God’s worship center at Shiloh was removed shortly after His glory had departed from it (1 Samuel 4:1–4, 10–11, 19–22; Jeremiah 7:12–14); and the same fate awaited the Jerusalem temple.”

The Cherub are intricately involved in all this, perhaps simply taken away as well – gone is the angelic protection. The wheels are symbolic of the fact that God is moving and working, His “wheels” are spinning and they’re not turning aside (He’s not changing His mind).

In Ezekiel 11 the account continues, beginning with Ezekiel’s call to counter the false prophecies being propagated in Jerusalem, especially from the lying lips of Jaazaniah and Pelatiah. These “prophets” were spreading a message that said the people of Jerusalem were safe, like meat protected in a pot. 

Jeremiah shared the truth, the citizens of the city were NOT safe, they were about to be judged by the Babylonians, they would be carried away from the city, delivered into the hands of strangers…they would die by the sword. God’s judgment would extend even to the borders. Ezekiel explains the reason for this:

Ezekiel 11:12 (NKJV) “And you shall know that I am the LORD; for you have not walked in My statutes nor executed My judgments, but have done according to the customs of the Gentiles which are all around you.”

While Ezekiel prophesied Petaliah, the false prophet died. I’m reminded of a couple of passages:

Deuteronomy 18:20 (NKJV) “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.”

James 3:1 (NKJV) “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”

But (and how many times have we seen this) God is not done with Israel or those who had been exiled. The people in Jerusalem were discarding the Jews who had been carried away. Notice what they said:

Ezekiel 11:15 (NLT) “Son of man, the people still left in Jerusalem are talking about you and your relatives and all the people of Israel who are in exile. They are saying, ‘Those people are far away from the LORD, so now he has given their land to us!’”

But after 70-years of exile, God would  regather the people to the land.

Ezekiel 11:16–17 (NKJV) “Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’ 17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’’”

God was not only going to regather the people to the land, He would one day give them a new heart. Gone would be the hard-heart, not open to God’s love or God’s Word; it would be replaced with a soft heart inclined to obey God’s statutes and judgments.

Of course there will always be the defiant (Ezekiel 11:21), for God will never FORCE Himself upon anyone, the key is us yielding ourselves to Him.

In the meantime the glory has departed (Ezekiel 11:22). This would be true until the days of Jesus’ first and second coming. Not only would the temple be burnt, the city would be leveled.

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “As God’s glory left Jerusalem, it passed over the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives. This departure signaled Jerusalem’s doom. The city would be devoid of God’s blessing till the glory will return via the Mount of Olives (Ezekiel 43:1–3). It is no coincidence that Christ ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9–12) and promised to return to the same place (Acts 1:11; cf. Zechariah 14:4).”

Hebrews 6:1-20

Warren Wiersbe said, “The ABC’s of the Christian life are important, but they must be a launching pad and not a parking lot, for the challenge is, ‘Let us go on to maturity.’”

I like to say that the best way not to go backward, is to “grow forward.” The writer to the Hebrews has already pointed out the fact that by this time they ought to be teachers (Hebrews 5:12) but instead, they needed to relearn the basics of their Christian belief.

These Hebrew Christians had gone so far backward, that a heavy warning is issued to them, because not everyone who backslides is so easily reached, and for some it’s actually impossible to return.

There are those who say that the writer of Hebrews is not speaking to true believers, but notice the list he gives…those who:

1. Were enlightened

2. Tasted the heavenly gift

3. Were Partakers of the Holy Spirit

4. Tasted the Good Word of God

5. Tasted the powers of the age to come

I’m of the opinion that this letter is written to Christians who were going back to Judaism, they were drifting away and on the very verge of falling away.

The writer warns them, and then offers a word of encouragement – of optimism by saying in: 

Hebrews 6:9 (NKJV) “But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes things that accompany salvation.”

By giving them this vote of confidence the writer is saying that I believe you’re going to navigate through these difficult waters, stay the course, and keep believing to the end. God would be there to help them (and us) every step of the way because He’s seen our labor of love toward the people of God

This faith and hope is something we need to hold on to…until the very end. Sometimes Christians get sluggish or lose patience (endurance), they run the risk of not inheriting the promise. May it not be us.

The author closes the chapter with the assurance that the promises of God are true. We already know God is not a liar (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2) but He’s also sworn by His name. He’s issued an oath, and we can therefore be even more certain of every promise He’s ever given to us, especially our home in heaven. The fact that God cannot lie, that He’s sworn, and He’s given us His Word as an anchor for the soul to keep us sure and steadfast in all the stormy seasons of life should bring peace. It keeps us in that intimate fellowship with God, “behind the veil” in the holiest of holies, where Jesus has gone before us, of whom the High Priest Melchizedek has much to teach us.

Coming soon.

Psalm 105:16-36

As the Psalmist continues his chronicle of Israel’s history, we pick it up at a time of world-wide famine, but no need to worry for God had “sent” Joseph ahead, sold as a slave, tested, tried and trained. When the time was right, Joseph would be raised up to rule, sent ultimately to save (a picture of Jesus).

When Joseph died, the nation of Israel became slaves in Egypt, but God sent Moses and Aaron as instruments for the deliverance of His people – signs and wonders were done to defeat all the gods of Egypt. Water to blood, light to darkness, frogs, flies, lice, fire, hail and in the end, the final blow was the death of the firstborn in all the land of Egypt. This was another picture of Jesus!

Imagine that…a bunch of slaves set free from the vise-grip of the most powerful nation on earth!

Israel would look back to these things – and praise the Lord.

We should too. We can also look back to the time of Christ, and what He did to redeem us from the power and penalty of sin – and praise the Lord. What about your personal story? Do you ever look back to see how He set you free? It’s good to do – and just praise Him.

Proverbs 27:1-2

Proverbs 27:1 (NKJV) “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

I’m not sure if you’d classify it as a Proverb, but it’s a well-known saying, “Tomorrow is guaranteed to no man.”

They say that on the average, 164,000 people die each day on planet earth. One day, if the Lord tarries, I will be among the 164,000. So I must not boast about tomorrow, as if I’m guaranteed to have it.

The half-brother of Jesus wrote about this in James 4:13–16. He basically said it’s wrong to say, “Hey, tomorrow I’m going to Bakersfield, to buy a field, grow some grain, bake some bread, make some bread, bring home the bacon, and live high on the hog for years to come.”

No, James said, “Our life is a vapor, that vanishes away before you know it. Instead, you ought to say, ‘Lord willing, we’ll go to Bakersfield, and this is the game plan.'”

Jesus rebuked the man who didn’t make his plans with this understanding. 

Luke 12:20b (NKJV) “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?”

Proverbs 27:2 (NKJV) “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”

“Not only should a person refrain from boasting about what he will do (Proverbs 27:1); he should also refrain from boasting about what he has done.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

It’s interesting how in the Hebrew language, we have the exact same word translated “boast” in v. 1 and “praise” in v. 2. If you’re boasting about yourself, you’re praising yourself. We see it a lot with some of these celebrities, athletes, and politicians, but let it not be so of Christians.

It’s different if someone else gives you a good word, a compliment, or a pat on the back. If that happens, that’s okay, simply say thank you knowing that any good in me, is just Jesus

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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