Day 189 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 13 – In chapters 13 and 14, God details several ways in which the Israelites have deliberately and grossly violated His law. In 13:1–8 He describes them as a nation overrun with people pretending to be prophets but who are in reality simply speaking their own opinions and their own messages—words that are spoken in the name of the Lord but are not really from Him. God had warned them in Deuteronomy 18:20 that such false prophets were an abomination. In Ezekiel 13:17–23 He also condemns prophetesses who were engaged in pagan religion and divination, a violation of God’s law in Deuteronomy 18:9–14. In a systematic fashion, Ezekiel lays out the people’s offenses against God. They are exposed and have no excuse for their sin.
What the people needed was a true prophet, a prophet who would speak no falsehood, who would offer no cover for sin, and who would only have the people’s best interests in mind. Indeed, they needed a prophet who would not only diagnose and identify sin but would bear it. In Jesus this prophet arrives (Luke 24:19; Acts 3:20–23).
Today, we have to be aware of those who want to lead us astray, as well. How do you study God’s Word for yourself so as not to be mislead?
Ezekiel 14 – Ezekiel uses an arresting and convicting phrase here. The elders of Israel “have taken their idols into their hearts!” Sin and idolatry are never content to be trifled with. We may think we can stop our idolatries at any point, but the reality is that when we toy with sin, we take our idols into our very hearts. We give them residence in our lives. Indeed, we become what we worship (Psalm 115:8). James describes this same reality in James 1:14–15 when he speaks of the way we are enticed and dragged into sin by our desires.
Ezekiel’s warning against “taking their idols into their hearts” helps us see just how insidious sin really is, even though we are tempted to take it lightly. It also helps us see that salvation from our idolatry and sin is not just a matter of new resolve or fresh effort. It is a matter of receiving a new heart—made possible for us by our being united to Jesus and being given new life by the power of His Spirit. Instead of taking idols into our hearts, we receive into our hearts the Spirit of Jesus (Romans 2:28–29).
How do you keep the potential idols in your life from taking over your heart?
Ezekiel 15 – Many times in Scripture, Israel is compared to a vine. Usually, however, the image is of a grapevine that produces fruit. Here in chapter 15, Ezekiel twists that image in a new direction to show Israel’s fruitlessness. She is not a grapevine but rather a vine twisted around a tree and burned, useless in every way.
In chapter 16, Ezekiel brings his indictment of Israel to a climax with a long and detailed story of how God cared for her and poured kindness on her only to have her spit in His face. At the end of the chapter, beginning in verse 44, he even casts Israel together with Sodom and Gomorrah. “You are the same!” he says to them. “You are sisters! In fact, Sodom and Gomorrah find comfort in comparing themselves to your wickedness.”
Like the Israelites, we are often tempted to think that our own sin is not that bad, or that it does not deserve punishment, or that God will not take it seriously. These chapters of Ezekiel, however, show us that God always takes sin seriously. When God judges our lives, there will be no doubt about the righteousness of His judgment. Like Israel, we are hopelessly and inarguably guilty before Him, and therefore deserving of His punishment.
Yet at just the right time in human history, a new Vine appeared on the scene. This Vine represented Israel as she was meant to be. Those who trust in this One are united to the life-giving provision of the Vine (John 15:1–8). Indeed, those united to Jesus are not living by their own strength or withering from a life of separation from Him but are enabled to experience the vibrant flourishing of true life in Jesus (John 7:37–38).
How do you see Jesus bringing vibrancy into your life?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.