November 18

Ezekiel 37:1–38:23

Ezekiel 37 is an amazing prophecy about the regathering of Israel into the land, and the life God breathes into otherwise dead, dry bones. No longer are the Jews divided into two nations (Israel and Judah), no, the two sticks have become one.

This was partially fulfilled in the past, events we read about in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, but I believe this is primarily a reference to the present, and near future. Since the nation of Israel was “born-again” on May 14, 1948, 3 million Jews have returned to their homeland!

This is the beginning of the end of time. After the Rapture and half-way into the Tribulation Period, their “life” will take on new meaning, beyond national life, they will find Spiritual life as they embrace Jesus as their Messiah King.

David Jeremiah, “God Himself interprets the vision for the people. The whole house of Israel (the northern and southern kingdoms) had been ejected from its land and vast numbers of the people had died because of their rebellion, yet one day God would bring a remnant of His people back to the Promised Land. Then He would begin to prosper them, and finally He would bring about a nation wide revival in which He would restore their hearts to Himself (Romans 11:26-27). Ezekiel again describes the Messianic Kingdom of the Millennium, when Jesus Christ (referred to here as David my servant) will rule His people from Israel and enable them to live in peace and safety. Other nations will continue to exist, but only Israel will have the promise of the Lord’s sanctuary in their midst.”

Bible students are not certain on the when, and even all the whos of Ezekiel 38. This invasion of Israel from the north may happen before or after the commencement of the Tribulation Period. 

More details on these nations are suggested by K-House, “The shifting geopolitical winds have once again raised the specter of Ezekiel’s “Magog” invasion of Israel. Ezekiel describes this ill-fated “band of brothers” as coming from the lands of: Magog—the Southern Steppes of Russia (former Soviet- Bloc countries); Meshech and Tubal—Turkey; Persia—Iran; Ethiopia—Southern Egypt, Sudan, Somalia; Libya—Libya (may also include Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia); Gomer—North-Central Turkey; Togarmah—Eastern Turkey.”

We see significant signs in our day-and-age, especially with the recent alliance of Russia and Iran (Persia), amplified by the latter’s desire to push Israel into the sea (annihilate the Jews).

But God will utterly defeat these invading armies and show the whole wide world who He is. This all takes place in the “latter years” (Ezekiel 38:8). 

I’m amazed at the many military victories Israel has wrought since 1948, truly God has blessed this nation with wisdom and military might, but on THIS day, it appears the victory won’t be attributed to the fighter jets of Israel, it will be an earthquake of the Almighty, pestilence, hailstones, fire and brimstone,  God’s intervention will be the only explanation.

Ezekiel 38:23 (NKJV) “Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.” ’

Some people wonder how an Arab/Muslim led coalition could possibly invade Israel today without the assistance of Israeli allies? There are a couple of possible answers to that question. One is that nations such as the United States will be too weak to put up a fight…and we do see our nation weakening, don’t we? We’re no longer the super-power we once were. The other possibility is that the nations will not support Israel, shifting even to an ANTI-Irsael stance. Tragically we see this taking place today, even our own nation’s support for Israel has waned. Anti-semitism is on the rise.

Some Bible students see the United States as the “young lion” spoken of here in Ezekiel 38:13. Comparatively speaking, we are relatively “young.” Protesting a bit verbally, but not willing to help, practically.

But that’s when God shows up. It’s been said that often time, “We don’t realize that God is all we need…until He’s all we have.”

James 1:19–2:17

I must confess that James 1:19-20 is one of my favorite Scriptures in all the Bible. I honestly believe it’s one of the most important principles in all of life! God gave us two ears and only one mouth to emphasize listening more than speaking. If only we’d be slow to speak, to truly listen to that person sharing those words with us, and then listen to the Lord – BEFORE we start talking, life would be much better. Sometimes we speak foolishness – it leads to a fight – next thing you know there are arguments and yelling – anger and wrath. Nothing good ever comes out of that! James will have more to say about taming the tongue, as well as the temper. (see also James 1:26)

The Word of God is used by the Spirit of God to conceive a child of God, and conform us into the image of God – therefore, we are to ask God to soften and open our hearts, to receive with meekness, the seed of His Word. But when we hear that Word, we must not merely be hearers of it, we must be doers of it. We can’t just be “talkie-talkies,” we need to be “walkie-talkies.” Some people deceive themselves into thinking it’s sufficient to hear the Word of God, or to know the Word of God, or to even teach the Word of God (I think that sometimes). No way…God wants us to LIVE the Word of God! We must guard ourselves from mere profession, we need to DO all we can to live out our faith, by doing things like helping the helpless.

I like to tell people that, “God loves everyone, but I’m His favorite.” But it’s just me being funny, for although God loves me as if I were the only one to love, the truth is, God has no favorites, He loves everyone equally. With that understanding, God has called us to be like Him and show no partiality. And yet it can happen at any church. What if a millionaire strolled into the sanctuary, a famous actor or actress…would I treat him or her better than the poor man, or the one I’ve known for years (the common man)? James wants us to check our hearts and make sure we love everyone equally; let’s not bend the rules for some because of their fame or wealth – such behavior is sin.

James reminds the recipients of his letter that the rich often times oppress the poor, dragging them to court. Generally speaking, the rich don’t realize their need for Jesus, but the poor do, which prompted James to ask, “Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom…?” (James 2:5). James dealt with this earlier in (James 1:9-11) and repeats himself for emphasis, that the godless rich man should beware of his future humiliation, while the godly poor man should look forward to his exaltation.

Getting back to the poison of partiality, James alludes to it in his comment on the Royal Law, how we’re to love our neighbor as ourselves, if we do this we do well, it’s the fruit of salvation…partiality is completely contrary to love.

Some might categorize partiality as a minor sin, but James teaches us that sin is sin, that all sin is against God, that we might keep the whole law, but if we stumble in one point, we’re guilty of all and therefore in need of a Savior. When I read James 2:10-13 I’m reminded that the law can never save me, it only proves my guilt and need of salvation. Thank God for Jesus and the merciful law of liberty. The Bible teaches us from Genesis to Revelation – salvation by faith (not law), faith in Jesus, who is the substance of the shadows, the Figure in all the figures of the Old Testament.

In closing out the chapter, James reminds us, however, that faith-works – that faith without works is dead. Imagine someone comes to you, a brother or a sister, naked, and on the brink of starvation, and rather than helping them in a practical way, we say, “God bless you, I’ll be praying for you,” and leave them there to die. The pitiful prayer doesn’t profit. James teaches us that such “faith” is 100% dead.

Psalm 117:1-2

One wonders why some of the Jews became so exclusive. There were some Rabbi’s who believed that the Gentiles were only created to fuel the fires of hell.

But here we read in God’s Word about the Gentiles praising the LORD. Many of you are Gentiles (non-Jews).  To laud God means to praise God publicly and the Psalmist mentions two reasons to praise Him in such a way:

God’s mercy and God’s truth.

Aren’t you grateful that He’s shown us mercy? That He has NOT dealt with us according to our sins. One of my favorite passages is:

Psalms 103:10-11 (NKJV) “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.”

And we should praise Him for His truth, His Word, the Bible. Where would we be without it? Lost, lied to, in deep darkness. Here we are, reading, studying, meditating on, and trying to live out God’s truth; I commend you, keep it up!

Proverbs 28:1

Proverbs 28:1 (NKJV) “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

“God sends a faintness into the hearts of the wicked, and the sound of a shaken leaf frightens them.” – Trapp

Taken together and in context, it’s not only an issue of boldness, it’s also an issue of holiness. When a person has a guilty conscience, they’ve done something they know to be wrong, it’s almost as if they’re always looking over their shoulders, running, and hiding. They need to “cover their tracks,” so to speak; they’re afraid that the law is after them.

“The guilty consciences of the wicked causes them to run from imagined pursuers. Knowing they have done wrong, they suspect they are being chased by lawmen. By contrast the righteous are as bold (i.e., self-confident; cf. “confidence” in Proverbs 31:11) as a young lion. God gives them courage; they have no fear of reprisal from wrongdoing.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

“Bold: ‘confident’ is nearer the meaning. The straightforward man, like the lion, has no need to look over his shoulder. What is at his heels is not his past (Num. 32:23) but his rearguard: God’s goodness and mercy (Psalms 23:6).” – Derek Kidner

“We know that the wicked may appear bold in facing danger, so long as they drown reflection and stupefy conscience. But when conscience is roused, guilt is the parent of fear. Adam knew no fear until he become a guilty creature.” – Charles Bridges

If David was in sin, do you think he would have run to the battle?

Leave a Reply