Daily Devotional Week 47 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (Ezekiel 40 – 42)

Daily Devotional

Week 47 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (Ezekiel 40 – 42)

Ezekiel was taken to a mountain, in a vision, and told “Son of man, watch closely, listen carefully, and pay attention to everything I show you, for you have been brought here so that I can show it to you. Tell the house of Israel everything you see.”

Then he was brought into “… the inner sanctuary and … He said to me, “This is the most holy place.”

Ezekiel was shown more “This chamber which faces south is for the priests who keep charge of the temple, and the chamber which faces north is for the priests who keep charge of the altar. These are the descendants of Zadok, from the descendants of Levi, who may approach the Lord to minister to him.”

And more “The north chambers and the south chambers which face the courtyard are holy chambers where the priests who approach the Lord will eat the most holy offerings. There they will place the most holy offerings – the grain offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering, because the place is holy. When the priests enter, then they will not go out from the sanctuary to the outer court without taking off their garments in which they minister, for these are holy; they will put on other garments, then they will go near the places where the people are.”

The level of theoretical-temple detail matched that He had given to Moses and to David.

Ezekiel had a vision of a new temple which was remarkably detailed – it was intended to inspire the people – but it’s realization would be blocked by the rebellion of the people and replaced by the new individual covenant.

When have you contemplated the differences in your life between living under the ancient system of literal sacrifice versus grace and the new covenant of Christ?

Dear Lord, You provided Ezekiel – and through him the people – a visual representation of the new temple You desired to create for them. May I rest in the assurance that Your words in Jeremiah 29:11 remain forever-true, “… plans to give you hope and a future …”. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 46 Day 7 OT (chronological) Saturday (Ezekiel 35)

Daily Devotional

Week 46 Day 7

OT (chronological)

Saturday (Ezekiel 35)

Ezekiel delivered a prophesy against Edom for their constant victimization of His people, especially when they were already troubled.

Edom lusted for the lands and possessions of Israel and was anxious to seize them once they lost the blessing and protection of God.

Why would Edom think that the same God whom they had insulted would allow them to profit from the punishment of Israel?

Edom would receive as they had given, losing what they had because they lusted after that which God had blessed Israel, suffering terribly as they had caused Israel to suffer – hopeless because they had insulted the only One Who could give them hope.

When have you observed a constant-critic or greed-obsessed person or organization, suffer just as they had desired that others might suffer so that they might benefit?

The Edomites forced the Israelites to make a large detour during the Exodus then later tried to take lands vacated in the punishment of rebellious-Israel.

Dear Lord, Those who speak and act hatefully toward You and Your children will pay a terrible price when the time of judgment comes. May I have the mercy to pray that those who spew anti-God venom, and that those who abuse power to harm those who love God, will turn from their sin before it’s eternally too late. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 46 Day 6 OT (chronological) Friday (Ezekiel 33 – 34)

Daily Devotional

Week 46 Day 6

OT (chronological)

Friday (Ezekiel 33 – 34)

Ezekiel was warned to deliver the Lord’s message accurately and quickly or else the one who failed, due to lack of warning, would cause him consequences as well.

The spiritual shepherds of the people were judged as failures and thieves for abandoning the people to the world without teaching them and for selfishly taking resources while watching the people fall.

Each individual was placed on notice that God would judge them on their own merits as to their choices and their deeds.

Ezekiel was given the promise that the Lord would be the good shepherd Who gathered the faithful to a safe place, and then would give them a shepherd like the symbolic David (in his faithful persona).

God compared the religious leaders to a good shepherd and found them careless and selfish – so He promised to be a good shepherd to His people in their place.

Note the similarities to Jesus’ critique of the religious leaders and to the description of Jesus (God).

When have you observed a neglectful spiritual leader, or a faithful leader whom people enjoyed hearing but they treated time with him merely as a good-luck ritual – and ignored his teaching?

Dear Lord, You challenged Ezekiel to be bold, and You punished the spiritual shepherds for their failure to deal honestly and to teach the people – and each individual – to anticipate consequences for their own choices. May I be honorable as a leader, careful whom I follow, and faithful before You. Please reveal to me a troubled fellowship, or a troubled gathering of Believers, for whom You want me to pray. I agree to pray in earnest for a careless shepherd who is merely entertaining or ‘warehousing’ those who are trusting him for spiritual leadership, or for a congregation with a faithful teacher whose presence they seek as a celebrity but whose words from the Lord they ignore. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 46 Day 5 OT (chronological) Thursday (Ezekiel 31 – 32)

Daily Devotional

Week 46 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Thursday (Ezekiel 31 – 32)

The Lord gave to Ezekiel an illustration of the pride of great pagan nations around Israel using trees.

He poetically-postulated that a cedar tree had human-like qualities of envy and pride and was so great it might elicit envy from the perfect trees in pre-Fall Eden.

He compared the Assyrians to that cedar tree.

He told of the consequences of the pride and violence of several nations and how they had all been sent to “Sheol”. “Sheol” referred to death and destruction – without hope for eternal redemption.

The fate of prideful Egypt was to be the same.

The Bible elsewhere teaches that “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. [Proverbs
16:18]

The nation of Israel was being judged in much the same way, and for much the same reason, as these other nations.

Dear Lord, Those who have become proud, imagining themselves Your peers – have always been humbled eventually. May I neither imagine myself Your peer not associate myself with anyone or any organization that does. Please reveal any place in me where I may harbor a “haughty spirit”. It may be an intellectual or a social arrogance (judging others based on appearance, association, momentary-sin, race, wealth, etc.), or perhaps a works-righteousness arrogance. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 46 Day 2 OT (chronological) Monday (Ezekiel 21 – 22)

Daily Devotional

Week 46 Day 2

OT (chronological)

Monday (Ezekiel 21 – 22)

Ezekiel was instructed to prophesy against Jerusalem and in so-doing he invited the Lord God to initiate a no-turning-back judgment.

He was also instructed to “… groan with an aching heart and bitterness” so that the people would ask why, and he was to reply “ Because of the report that has come …”

When have you observed someone’s emotional response and been brought to a greater awareness of the depth of significance of an event?

Ezekiel prophesied “O city, who spills blood within herself (which brings on her doom), and who makes herself idols (which results in impurity), you are guilty because of the blood you shed and defiled by the idols you made. You have hastened the day of your doom …”

The Lord declared “I looked for a man from among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land, so that I would not destroy it, but I found no one.”

[Note: He could find no leader to call the people
to repentance and therefore their cultural decay was too
deeply-embedded to rescue. In the past the Lord God was able to
find
a Nehemiah to “stand in the gap” and to literally “repair the
wall” but now He could not find someone to do the same for the
sick
hearts of the people.]

He then announced the initiation of the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, followed by the prophesies against the nations, and finally the lamentations of the nations.

[Note: This should sound familiar. Similar
prophesies were given to other prophets in prior texts of these
studies. God is consistent and persistent.]

Because the people had sold-out any shred of integrity before the Lord the king of Babylon felt free to make excuses to breach his agreements with them as they had breached their covenant with God.

There’s a profound difference between secular and sacred “They do not distinguish between the holy and the profane, or recognize any distinction between the unclean and the clean.” Ezekiel 2:26b

Dear Lord, Have we forgotten that as Your children we have been set-apart? We commit the terrible blasphemy of syncretism when we mix Your perfect truth with the partial truths and falsehoods of the world, then treat them as if they have equivalent value. May I be watchful against any drift into the rationalization of moral equivalence. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 46 Day 1 OT (chronological) Sunday (Ezekiel 20)

Daily Devotional
Week 46 Day 1
OT (chronological)
Sunday (Ezekiel 20)

When the Elders of Israel came to Ezekiel for help from the Lord – God instructed Ezekiel to pronounce His holy judgment.
Ezekiel reminded the leaders of their history of rebellion and of His impending punishment upon them.
Ezekiel asked the Lord what he should do because they were accusing him of mere “… eloquent figures of speech”.

Just as in Ezekiel’s day the enemies of the truth of God today declare the Bible to be mere symbolism without authority – absent absolute truth – therefore nothing to trust and nothing to obey.

Why would the leaders, who were in chronic rebellion, imagine that they’d receive help from the very One against Whom they’d chosen to unrepentantly sin?

God was separating Himself from Israel because a continued association created the false impression that He was endorsing their sinful behavior – and the devil would suggest that He was powerless.

When have you made a choice you knew to be in rebellion against God and then sensed a lost-intimacy with His Holy Spirit? (He never leaves a genuinely saved person but He is offended by sin – which creates a barrier to intimacy.)

Dear Lord, From the Garden of Eden through this day – and until Jesus returns – humankind has rebelled, choosing the pleasures of the flesh over the joys of eternal relationship. May I pause to consider the meaning and consequences of every choice through Your eyes rather than the dysfunctional eyes of the flesh-centered world. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 45 Day 5 OT (chronological) Thursday (Ezekiel 12 – 15)

Daily Devotional

Week 45 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Thursday (Ezekiel 12 – 15)

Ezekiel was instructed by God “Bring out your belongings packed for exile during the day while they are watching. And go out at evening, while they are watching, as if for exile. While they are watching, dig a hole in the wall and carry your belongings out through it. While they are watching, raise your baggage onto your shoulder and carry it out in the dark. You must cover your face so that you cannot see the ground because I have made you an object lesson to the house of Israel.”

He then was told “I will let a small number of them survive the sword, famine, and pestilence, so that they can confess all their abominable practices to the nations where they go. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

Ezekiel was given a second instruction, as an object lesson to the people “Son of man, eat your bread with trembling, and drink your water with anxious shaking. Then say to the people of the land, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says about the inhabitants of Jerusalem and of the land of Israel: They will eat their bread with anxiety and drink their water in fright, for their land will be stripped bare of all it contains because of the violence of all who live in it. The inhabited towns will be left in ruins and the land will be devastated. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

He then was told that the expectation of old age and unchanging routines was over so that the saying ‘The days pass slowly, and every vision fails’? Would be ended as a local proverb, rather “The days are at hand when every vision will be fulfilled. For there will no longer be any false visions or flattering omens amidst the house of Israel. For I, the Lord, will speak. Whatever word I speak will be accomplished.” Things were about to change radically.

Ezekiel was told by the Lord that anyone who worshiped idols who then came to a prophet for wisdom would be punished, that any prophet who spoke unwisely to such men – because they deceived him – would be punished, any nation/tribe who worshiped idols would be punished, and that “Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, [present in any place
where
judgment was to come] they would save only their own lives by their righteousness, declares the sovereign Lord.”

[Note: In the past Moses and others were able to
plead for the lives of others, despite their rebellion, that time
had
passed.]

He then was told that the people were like the useless wood of a vine, only good to be burned up in the fire, perhaps useful only for a momentary purpose. He was to understand that the people had made themselves like that useless wood of the vine and thus they also would be burned up.

Dear Lord, You continued to make clear to the people what was to come, and You also continued to show them a way to avoid destruction. May I remember Your consistency well into the New Testament where You taught in vs 1 Corinthians 10:13 that You would continue to provide “… a way out” in overwhelming [spiritual] circumstances. Please show me a routine or tradition that You want to change in my life so that I will not have any “dead” places in my heart. Amen. dmc2016