November 9

Ezekiel 20:1-49

Ezekiel remembers the exact day, it was in the seventh year, the fifth month, on the tenth  day of captivity that the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, they wanted to hear from God through the prophet of God. But God said, “No,” He was not willing to speak to them because of their sin.

Ezekiel then covers the history of Israel – their gracious and sovereign selection, their time in Egypt, their time in the wilderness, their time in the Promised-Land, after all God had done for them every step of the way, they were rebellious and ungrateful.

And then those indicting words to the elders:

“Even to this day…”

Ezekiel 20:31 (NKJV) “For when you offer your gifts and make your sons pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols, EVEN TO THIS DAY. So shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “I will not be inquired of by you.

Warren Wiersbe said something simple and yet critical, “Repeated rebellion against God’s will is serious.”

Early on in my Christian life a friend gave me a passage to memorize, it was:

Isaiah 59:1–2 (NKJV) “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”

Early on I learned that if I’m living a life of unrepentant sin, repeated rebellion, God won’t hear my prayers. We read the same thing in:

Psalm 66:18 (NKJV) “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”

The word regard means to harbor or hold on to.

These elders on that memorable day with Ezekiel would be informed of this.

As you read through the chapter, besides the goodness of God and the sinfulness of man, one things stands out in the midst of it all, that in God’s actions He considers His witness. 

Ezekiel 20:9 (NKJV) “But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles among whom they were, in whose sight I had made Myself known to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt.”

We read this repeatedly in this chapter and what we find is that the Lord acted for His name’s sake. If He wiped Israel out, what would the nations think about the LORD? His name might be marred.

God did discipline His people, but He didn’t destroy them. As a matter of fact Ezekiel 20:33-44 is all about the restoration of Israel. God would regather them from all over the world.

Ezekiel 20:34 (NKJV) “I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out.”

As God disciplines Israel (and us too) it’s for the purpose of growth and refinement.

Ezekiel 20:37–38 (NKJV) “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38 I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”

The most important part of life, is knowing the Lord (John 17:3). To know who He is, how He is and to know Him intimately, and personally; to enjoy this fellowship after having established a relationship with God. We are then to grow in this relationship forever and ever. I’ve always loved that passage in:

2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV) “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”

You see? It’s all about knowing Him. Even in the chastening…”then you shall know that I am the LORD” – that’s God’s heart!

Ezekiel 20:44 (NKJV) “ Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD.”

Ezekiel 20:45-49 closes the chapter with a prophecy against Judah. It was the coming fiery judgment of the Babylonians upon Jerusalem in 586 B.C.. 

The people in Ezekiel’s day were so blind, they didn’t understand the simple illustration and saw it as a perplexing parable (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Hebrews 9:11-28

There was a time when we could not enter in to God’s special presence…“But Christ came…” and changed everything (Hebrews 9:11).

That’s why the entirety of the law all pointed to Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29; Revelation 5). Jesus entered in to the true tabernacle, not with the blood of an unwilling animal, but with the blood of a willing God, and He died in our place, suffering for our sins, absorbing the wrath of God and the judgment we deserved. He redeemed us – forever. Acts 20:28 reminds us that we’ve been purchased by the blood of God, and I think of the passage in Revelation 1:5 which speaks of Jesus’ love, and the way He’s washed us from our sins in His own blood.

As I search my heart, I know the wretched man I am, but Hebrews 9:14 lifts me up and gives me hope on how I can serve my Savior, how the blood of Christ cleanses my conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

In one sense part of the “testament” is similar to a will in that it doesn’t really take effect until the death of the testator takes place. This is why we see so much blood and death in the Old Covenant. As a matter of fact, the blood is so important that we read in:

Leviticus 17:11 (NKJV) “‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’”

And then in Hebrews 9:22 that “…without the shedding of blood there is no remission” (no forgiveness).

Today there is no Tabernacle, or Temple to offer blood sacrifices, so how do the Jews hope for remission (forgiveness). The Jews hope that by their good works they can earn their righteousness with God, but according to the Scriptures, there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood. This is why Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He appeared before God to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once (no, there’s no such thing as reincarnation) so Christ only had to die once, to bear our sins and save our souls.

Do you believe? I pray you do! (John 3:16)

Psalm 107:1-43

This is another thanksgiving Psalm in which we read repeatedly:

Psalm 107:8 (NKJV) “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”

(See also Psalm 107:1, 15, 31)

Have I given Him appropriate thanks for the many ways He’s delivered me throughout my life? For the way He’s been so good to me?

The Psalmist writes of how the Lord led them, fed them, and “spread” them out when they sinned. But God also protected them and directed them back home throughout the ages – whenever they cried out, He delivered.

When we speak of the goodness of God we always return to such passages as Genesis 50:20 and Romans 8:28. The goodness of God does NOT mean that everything that happens to us is good, it simply means that God works it all together for good.

For example, we read in this Psalm about a tough time in the sea, in Psalm 107:23-30. If you go out and down to the sea you will see the works of the Lord, and the wonders in the deep.

What does he mean by that? In part, it speaks of the beauty of the ocean and all that is in it. But also in part, the Psalmist speaks of the troubles on the ocean and those times when it appears we’re about to sink. We reach our “wits end” (Psalm 107:27) we’ve tried everything on our own strength and wisdom to get our own way, it’s not working…so we pray. And God shows up, He makes the storm still, and accomplishes His will. 

We would have never seen it, unless we went down to the sea…it’s there that we see.

So yes, we can (and should) thank God for the times of trouble. It’s there we learn about the one who will take us safely to our desired haven. (heaven) (Psalm 107:30)

The Psalmist closes in an appropriate way:

Psalm 107:43 (NKJV) “Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.”

Proverbs 27:11

Proverbs 27:11 (NKJV) “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him who reproaches me.”

We saw a lot of this type of father talk earlier in the Proverbs, but this is the only verse in chapters 25–29 that includes the phrase “my son.”

It’s good to keep that context, a father speaking to his child. I may not have wealth, or the things of the world, but if I have a wise child, it brings joy to the journey, it brings happiness to my heart.

As a matter fact, notice what John the Beloved wrote: 

3 John 4 (NKJV) “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

Church children who walk right bring joy, but I have a hunch that biological children who walk in truth, bring even more joy.

So, it’s a Proverb from parents, challenging their children – please be wise. It’ll make my heart glad, and not only that, I’ll have something good to say when my critics accuse me of incompetence, “By the grace of God, My family has kept the faith, my boy’s a believer, and my daughter is a disciple.”

If you have children that have strayed, just keep praying and loving.

That’s the heart and part of a parent.

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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