Ezekiel 24:15-25:17; Jeremiah 34:1-22; Jeremiah 21:1-14; Ezekiel 29:1-16; Ezekiel 30:20-31:18
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An important note from our readings in Ezekiel chapter 24 today is that Ezekiel's wife dies on the exact same day the Temple is Jerusalem was burned! August 14, 586 B.C. As I read these verses about Ezekiel's wife and the Temple I am reminded of a verse in the book of Job - 13:15- "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him." Though Ezekiel's wife dies and though the Temple burned, the Lord still instructs Judah in verse 23: "You will not mourn or weep". The Job situation is of course different in that Job was righteous and Judah was not at this time. And there is not clear hope for Judah at this time - though there ultimately is redemption for Jerusalem. However, again, look at Job's faith in the midst of all he was going through: "yet I will hope in him." When times are bad - or times are good - do you hope in Him? No matter what, will you hope in Him?
In Ezekiel chapter 25 today we begin reading God's oracles against the nations surrounding Israel. We'll read 7 oracles over the next few days through chapter 32. It's noteworthy that frequently in the Old Testament God's words of judgment against Israel through the prophets is often accompanied by oracles of judgments against the nations. Below is a map that shows the oracles against the nations we read about in chapters 25 & 26 today and through chapter 32 in the coming days. This map is helpful to see where Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, Sidon and of course Egypt are all located in comparison to Jerusalem:
Jeremiah chapter 34 is interesting with the freedom for the slaves - and then the reversal of that decision. Could this story remind us of our lives at times? Do we sometimes promise God that we'll do something he wants us to do? Maybe even start to do it? And then change our minds? Why are we not consistent with what we tell God we will do? Let us pray for consistency in our spiritual walk!
In Jeremiah 21 we're getting close to the point of the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. as King Nebuchadnezzar and the armies of Babylon are getting close. The prophecies Jeremiah has been preaching in the past 20 chapters are coming to fruition. A verse that encapsulates all of this is 21:10 - "For I have decided to bring disaster and not good upon this city, says the Lord. It will be captured by the king of Babylon, and he will reduce it to ashes.'" Do remember that in our readings over the past few days that God does intend to bring the Israelites back to Jerusalem eventually. There is hope! Even though Nebuchadnezzar (pictured below) is soon to come into Jerusalem... there is still hope in the midst of the despair... there is still redemption to come...
Verse 7 in chapter 29 of Ezekiel stands out as to why God is unhappy with Egypt (in part - idols are another reason...) - "Israel leaned on you, but like a cracked staff, you splintered and stabbed her in the armpit. When she put her weight on you, you gave way, and her back was thrown out of joint." God was not happy that Israel created an alliance with Egypt as we read earlier in Ezekiel - but at the same time, God was not happy with Egypt for bailing on the alliance when Babylon attacked Jerusalem. Think God likes for us to keep our promises in our life? Do you keep your promises in your life? Are you careful to never make empty promises?
I think Ezekiel chapter 31 starts out with a trick question from God to Egypt in verse 2: "Son of man, give this message to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and all his people: "To whom would you compare your greatness?"" The proper answer to this question is probably somewhere along the humble lines of, "no one - I am not great at all. I wouldn't dare compare myself to others. Everything I am and have comes from you God." Think Pharaoh would answer the question in this humble way? :) Better yet - maybe we should ask ourselves this question today as well. And think about how we would answer it. What if someone stops you on the street tomorrow and asks you this question. What would be your reply? Here it is. I ask this of you now: "To whom would you compare your greatness?"
Worship God: Our readings today reminded me of the Newsboys song "He Reigns:"
Do you know that He Reigns? Click here to meet our Reigning Lord!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!