Focus Verse: “‘As for you, people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Go and serve your idols, every one of you! But afterward you will surely listen to me and no longer profane my holy name with your gifts and idols. (39)
God is always hoping for His people to do the right thing. He was pulling for the people of Israel back then and He is pulling for all of His children today to listen to Him and obey Him.
Focus Verse: Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? (23)
The way of the Lord is unjust, some cry. Why does He allow people to die? Why does He not put an end to destruction and violence? Now, hold a sec! Is it God who does the sinning? Is it God who uses His freewill to oppress the poor and needy and commit robbery? I think not. Aren’t we the ones who are unjust? This chapter makes it clear that the one who sins will die. The one who is righteous will live.
This chapter also makes it clear that God doesn’t jump for joy every time a sinner is lassoed in by the Grim Reaper. Do you know what God rejoices over? He rejoices over sinners who repent. He is pleased when the wicked turn away from all the sins they have committed and decide to do what is just and right. God takes no pleasure in the death of anyone. Death was NOT a part of His original perfect plan. He wants all to repent and live!
Focus Verse: “‘But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his. (15)
An ugly, disappointing chapter to read. Ezekiel describes Jerusalem as an adulterous wife who has been unfaithful to her husband and neglected her children. When the people of Jerusalem were nothing and despised in the sight of all nations, God took them and made them into a great nation. He entered into a covenant with them and made them His own chosen people. He treated them as His bride, blessed them with more riches than money could buy, and caused their fame to spread far and wide.
What did the people of Jerusalem do in response to God’s gracious goodness? They trusted in their beauty instead of trusting in Him. They left Him and refused to turn back to Him. They forgot Him completely and went to serve other gods. Because of their actions, God was filled with fury against them and stripped them of all the good things He had given them. May we never be like the people of Jerusalem and forget the God Who first loved us and made us for Him.
Focus Verse: “Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? (3)
We may not have idols of wood and stone set up in our houses, but we should check our hearts often to make sure that we have not set up invisible idols in our hearts. It is the heart that God looks at.
Focus Verse: And I told the exiles everything the Lord had shown me. (25)
Ezekiel told everything from the vision he had seen – the good, the bad, and the ugly. He held nothing back. When God has given us a message to share with others, we should tell all of it, including the parts that may not be pleasant to hear.
Focus Verse: Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.” (18)
No matter how loudly they shouted, God did not hear these people because they were doing detestable things in His sight. It is not the tone with which we pray that makes God hear our prayers. It isn’t the words either, but our hearts. If we are tuned to Him and obedient to Him, He will hear us and answer us.
Focus Verse: “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself am against you, Jerusalem, and I will inflict punishment on you in the sight of the nations. (8)
Once again, God promises to punish the people of Jerusalem for their disobedience. He is extremely angry, and will not be satisfied until His wrath has been spent.
Focus Verse: When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. (18)
As believers in Jesus the Christ, we have a responsibility to unbelievers to warn them of the consequences that will come if they do not accept Christ as Savior. It is not enjoyable at all to tell someone that they will die and go to hell if they aren’t saved. One reason it is not enjoyable is because no one wants to hear that. No one wants to hear that they aren’t good enough for Heaven. Even some Christians don’t want to believe that their atheist best friend or their Wiccan mother-in-law will be going to hell just because they don’t believe in Jesus. It’s offensive. It sounds mean. But it’s the truth. And sometimes – most times – the truth is cold and hard. If we don’t warn unbelievers in order to save their lives, Christ will hold us accountable for their blood.
Focus Verse: How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? (4)
The person who wrote this Psalm laments the fact that God’s people are unable to sing the songs of the Lord because they have been taken captive in a foreign land. The freedom that they had in their own land has disappeared.