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Ezekiel chapter 34 reminds me a lot of the famous and beautiful Psalm 23 - "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want... " However, before we get to God being the Good Shepherd - and hear about the Good Shepherd to come - there is some rebuking of the "shepherds" of Israel at that time, that may also have a message for us. In verses 3 & 4 we read: “You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured.” Could this verse speak into our lives in some way? Is it possible that we eat fine food and wear fine clothes at the expense of others in need? Are we consistently strengthening the weak? Healing the sick? Binding up the injured? 1.2 billion people in the world live on less than $1 a day. Are you doing something to care for these brothers and sisters on a consistent basis? What are you doing?
Ezekiel chapter 36 is an awesome chapter looking at the restoration of Israel, post-exile. I like that there are prophecies to the mountain and hills and valleys in this chapter! Great verses. Verses 8 & 9 stood out to me - "But the mountains of Israel will produce heavy crops of fruit to prepare for my people's return--and they will be coming home again soon! See, I am concerned for you, and I will come to help you. Your ground will be tilled and your crops planted." I like that God is concerned for the mountains and he wants them to be fruitful. If He is concerned for the mountains, think how much more He is concerned for each of our lives... Think He wants our lives to be fruitful as well?
Verse 22 shows God's grace - "I am bringing you back again but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name." The first sentence shows grace in that God is bringing them back, even though they are undeserving. The second sentence you might not initially see the grace in it - but, God is protecting his holy name so that ultimately all people's in all nations will come to faith in him - and not idols, which deliver nothing and lead to the grave. If God did not bring the Israelites back and protect his name, the rest of the world would see no reason to turn from their idols.
Verses 26 & 27 sound very New Testament / new covenant - "And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so you will obey my laws and do whatever I command." Do you have a new heart? With new and right desires? Do you have a new Spirit in you?
Worship God: Today's readings remind me of this Jars of Clay song called "Two Hands:"
How are you using your two hands? Click here to raise them High!
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!