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Ezekiel chapter 20 verse 12 stands out to me today: "And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I, the LORD, had set them apart to be holy, making them my special people." I like learning this - the Sabbath days of rest were given as a sign between God and his people. How are you doing on taking a day of rest each week? Would taking a day of rest each week - a Sabbath day - benefit your relationship with God? And with others? Would it benefit perhaps the other 6 days of your week? Below is a great painting titled "The Sabbath Rest" by the Jewish Polish painter Samuel Hirszenberg from the year 1894:
After verse 12 above, we read this from God in verse 13: ""But the people of Israel rebelled against me, and they refused to obey my laws there in the wilderness. They wouldn't obey my instructions even though obedience would have given them life. And they also violated my Sabbath days. So I threatened to pour out my fury on them, and I made plans to utterly consume them in the desert." The thing that stood out to me in this verse was "they also violated my Sabbath days." I don't get too caught up on which day of the week we take a Sabbath - as some may work weekends and have Mondays off, for example. Whatever the day is for you - do you have 1 day a week that you consider a Sabbath? Why might this be a smart thing to do? A healthy thing to do? A faithful thing to do?
In Ezekiel 20:40 we read: “There I will require your offerings and your choice gifts, along with all your holy sacrifices.” What are your offerings, choice gifts and holy sacrifices to the Lord? Your life, your thoughts, your finances? Do you give a percentage of your income to your local church, ministries, and nonprofits? Would this perhaps be a "holy sacrifice" if you did so? Would this be a bold act of faith?
In Ezekiel chapter 21 today we read about the Lord's sword of judgment! Which, in this case is Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar. I did not realize until today that there is actually a "sword song" in the Bible - a song that warriors may have sung and even danced to before going out to battle. Unfortunately, this sword song in verses 9 through 11 was being sung for Jerusalem because of her many sins... "A sword, a sword is being sharpened and polished. It is sharpened for terrible slaughter and polished to flash like lightning! Now will you laugh? Those far stronger than you have fallen beneath its power! Yes, the sword is now being sharpened and polished; it is being prepared for the executioner."
Okay, so Ezekiel Chapters 21 & 22 are the types of chapters where you might you think about stereotypes of the Old Testament - a "grouchy/mean" God perhaps one might say about these two chapters... However! - context of course is key to keep in mind. We must also know the book of Jeremiah or Ezekiel prior to these chapters. God has been slow to anger, compassionate, asking - no, begging - people to repent. And they have not. And things just keep getting worse and worse and worse. Check out chapter 22 verses 1 through 16 for how bad the sins of Jerusalem have gotten... All of this reminds me that the consequences for sin are very real. Let us never forget the truth of Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Worship God: Today's readings in Ezekiel remind me of Matt Redman's song "Blessed Be Your Name," performed live here by the Newsboys:
Is God's name blessed to you? Click here for your true Blessings!
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!