Friday, July 30, 2010

Egypt - desolation - Ezekiel 29

Ezekiel 29:3 "Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself."

There is that boosting again. Of course, we are talking about Egypt in the times of Ezekiel.

There were two basic reasons why Egypt came under judgment here. One is that they did not give God the glory for their good fortune. The river/rivers were the source of the riches of Egypt. We all know about the Nile. I believe there was at one time a river system that made the land rich. I don't know much about what Egypt is like now.

Another reason is that Israel was bad about turning to Egypt when they were in distress instead of turning to God as they should have. But Egypt took advantage in those times and hurt Israel.

Therefore, Egypt was given to Nebuchadrezzar as his wages for the work in Tyre.

Once Egypt was made a base nation, Israel would no longer turn to them as they did when Egypt was full of power and splendor.

II Kings 18:21 "Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him."

So, we can see, in these studies, that during this time the face of the whole region changed tremendously. There was greatness all around but it went to Babylon under the judgment of God.

v13 "Yet, thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered; v14 And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom."

v19 "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army."

I would like to have seen these nations in their glory days. It must have been a sight to behold. But they rejected or turned from the Lord GOD and it cost them their kingdoms.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tyre - Judgment - Ezekiel 28

Ezekiel 28:13 "Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold; the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou was created."

While this is the judgment of the port city Tyre, it also talks of the judgment of Satan. What better place to set himself up than at the crossroads of the world (of that day).

We see a glimpse into the spiritual part of things. Behind every evil work is Satan.

v2 "Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyre, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God."

People can think great things about themselves. Sometimes people who are close to a person of authority get to thinking that they are the one of power. Satan was a cherub in the mountain of God but he was a created being and not God. He had the power that God gave him.

v17 "Thy heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness; I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee."

We might say that he became very proud of himself and just did not think correctly because he had his eyes on his own beauty (which God made) and not on God.

So, it was with Tyre. The nations came to trade and I expect the prince took a share of all the trades. He became very rich but failed to remember that the little island/city of Tyre made little compared to what was traded. Without the traffic from the nations, they would be selling purple to the occasional traveler.

But perhaps the prince sat in his penthouse and watched as people of all journeyed there to trade. Perhaps, he thought to himself, I am doing all this, these people are coming to me. He was wrong of course.

v15 "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tyre - Trading Partners - Ezekiel 27

Ezekiel 27:3 "And say unto Tyre, O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea, which art a merchant of the people for many isles, Thus saith the Lord God, O Tyre, thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty."

Tyre was a great city. They traded with about everybody. There trade extended inland and across the sea. They were famous for their purple die which was often reserved for kings and nobles.

This chapter tells us many of the nations they traded with and the particular products they sold or traded. I think the purpose is to show the greatness of the fall that they had because they had grown so arrogant that the prince felt he was a god.

It tells of the fine wood used in their ships:

v5-6 "They have made all thy ship boards of fir trees of Senir; they have taken cedars from Lebanon to make masts for thee, Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars; the company of the Ashurites have made thy benches of ivory brought out of the isles of Chittim."

Then it tells of the specialist who did the work.

v8 "The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were thy mariners; thy wise men, O Tyre, that were in thee, were thy pilots."

From Egypt came fine linen. v7
From Togarmah came the horses and horsemen and mules. v14
Syria came with emeralds, purple, embroidered work and fine linen, coral and agate.

It goes on to cover, it seems to me, everything. As for food, the land of Canaan was its source.

v17 "Judah and the land of Israel, they were thy merchants; they traded in thy market wheat of Minnith, and Pannag, and honey, and oil and balm."

So Tyre was like the center of a wheel with nations all around coming and going. It was a great city and probably very beautiful but they tried to lift themselves up a to high and great was their fall.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tyre - Ezekiel 26

Ezekiel 26:2 "Son of man, because that Tyre hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people; she is turned unto me; I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste:"

The next three chapters deal with Tyre. First the judgment, then the greatness, then the leader of the city and his great sin.

Tyre was a port city of great riches. David had good relations with king Hiram and traded with him for the buildings he built.

First we find that they were speaking boastfully about the fall of Jerusalem. Later we will find that the prince thought of himself as God.

Ezekiel 28:2 "Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyre, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:"

Tyre was a center of trade, perhaps the greatest of the day. Nations traded there from far and wide. But because of their boasting and pride they are judged.

v7 "For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will bring upon Tyre Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people."

This was the beginning of their great fall. They were finally totally defeated by Alexander the Great and are not a small insignificant city under Turk rule.

v21 "I will make thee a terror, and thou shalt be no more; though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord God."

Even though there is a small city there, the majesty and the city that it was, has vanished.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Those Who Rejoiced Over Israel's Problems - Ezekiel 25

Ezekiel 25:6 "For thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast clapped thine hands, and stamped with the feet, and rejoiced in heart with all thy despite against the land of Israel: v7 Behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, ..."

It was the Lord's decision to punish Israel and Judah. It was not the business of the surrounding nations which rejoiced at the fall of the kingdom. So, because of the arrogance they too were punished.

We should take note in regard to our own lives and the lives of others. Sometimes a fellow Christian might be going through something either as chastening or as a test. We should be careful not to make comments like 'I knew that was going to happen' or 'They had that coming.' We may sometimes have thoughts but they need to be rebuked and prayed about before they bud.

Here we start a list of those who were punished for glorying over Israel's problems:

v3 "And say unto the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord God: Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou saidst, Aha, against my sanctuary, when it was profaned, and against the land of Israel when it was desolate; and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity, v4 Behold therefore, I will deliver thee to the men of the east..."

v8 "Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Moab and Seir do say, Behold, the house of Judah is like unto all the heathen;..."

v12 "Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah..."

v15 "Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart, to destroy it for the old hatred;"

I think some of these nations saw Israel and Judah in a weakened state and decided to get back at them for all the times when they were defeated by a strong nation. That was taken up by the Lord himself.

I think we in this part of the country might sometimes think that some other countries have had no dealings with the one true God. But they have.

v17 "And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ezekiel's Wife - Ezekiel 24

Ezekiel 24:16 "Son of man, behold, I take away from thee thee desire of thine eyes with a stroke, yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down."

I find this a tough chapter. A prophet is indeed worthy of our respect.

The illustration is of Israel and Judah who are lost to the Lord as they turn to idols and are punished with captivity and the loss of their homeland. Ezekiel looses his wife in this chapter but is not allowed to mourn just as the Lord will not mourn for the punishment that Israel is receiving. At least, there is to be no outward show of grief.

v2 "Son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this same day; the king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day."

We are referred back to II Kings 25:1 and Jeremiah 39:1

II Kings 25:1 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about."

Jeremiah 39:1 reads basically the same. It was a specific date to be remembered.

Then we have the parable of a pot. It is filled with meat and cooked but not drained leaving the scum in the pot. Then that which is left is cooked until it is gone.

v6 "Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose scum is therein, and whose scum is not gone out of it! bring it out piece by piece; let no lot fall upon it."

Throughout these various accounts of the fall of Jerusalem there is one statement that I see a lot and it is all about Israel remembering who their God is. 'They shall know that I am the LORD."

v27 "In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD."

v18 "So I spake unto the people in the morning; and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Aholah and Aholibah - Ezekiel 23

Ezekiel 23:4 "And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names, Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah."

My helps dictionary uses Aholibah as the nation Judah also. At this time of the captivity, most of the people of Judah were drawn into Jerusalem. Aholah means 'her own tent' while Aholibah means 'my tent in her'. The latter perhaps referring to Jerusalem being the tent within Judah but I'm not sure.

The comparison is two sisters Samaria (Israel after the division) and Judah. First Samaria was unfaithful to God then upon seeing the sins of Samaria, Judah followed as well with unfaithfulness.

It is a stinging story of how the two sisters followed after the sins of the nations which surrounding them instead of following the teachings they had received in the wilderness and after.

v22 "Therefore, O Aholibah, thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will raise up thy lovers against thee, from whom thy mind is alienated, and I will bring them against thee on every side: v23 The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa and all the Assyrians with them: all of them desirable young en, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses."

The sins of Israel did not start in Canaan, as we have learned, they started in Egypt. We can remember when Moses brought them out and the times were hard. They looked and longed for Egypt again. While Moses was on the mountain receiving the commandments, they built the calf. In all this, the Lord did not destroy them so that the heathen would not see their punishment. But still, they could not keep from looking back to Egypt.

The punishment, now, was for a purpose.

v27 "Thus will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee, and thy whoredom brought from the land of Egypt: so that thou shalt not lift up thine eyes unto them, nor remember Egypt any more."

The application for Christians is that we should do as Paul did 'forgetting those things which are behind'. It is not possible to hang onto the desire to be part of the world system and be totally devoted to the will of God.

Think about it. Can a person go in two directions at the same time?

I John 1:15 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Princes and Prophets - Ezekiel 22

Ezekiel 22:27 "Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain."

v26 "Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things;...

v6 "Behold, the princes of Israel, everyone were in thee to their power to shed blood."

The structure of leadership has dissolved into a quest for personal gain. The fault for the attitude of the people is laid on the leadership while making no excuse for the sin of the people.

The sins are many and are listed one by one. The Lord has said that he would not correct Israel while in Egypt or the wilderness because he had claimed them as his own and did not want to shame them in the presence of the enemy. That's what I got from previous chapters.

Now Israel took advantage and turned from God and worshipped idols. It was not just innocent mischief. Children were burned to please false gods, the laws of God were broken one by one. The strangers were mistreated. Even the house of God and the precious things were used for personal gain.

v8 "Thou hast despised mine holy things... v9 In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood...v12 In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood..." And many more. These comments were directed at the princes of Israel.

Further it tells how the priests participated with them. It also tells of the prophets who told the leaders that they were doing just fine and every thing would be just fine.

v28 "And her prophets have daubed them with untempered mortar, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying Thus saith the Lord God, when the LORD hath not spoken."

The Apostle Paul told us to 'study to be quiet'. It would have behooved the prophets to say nothing rather than lie about God telling them something.

It became so bad that the Lord gave us this verse to summarize the situation in Israel.

v30 "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it but I found none."

There was no Moses to plead for the people or a David to stand at the threshing floor and say that he was the man who should be punished instead of the people.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sword & Diadem - Ezekiel 21

Ezekiel 21:25-27 "And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.

"I will overturn, overturn, over turn, it; and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him."

In this chapter, we see again the end of the kingship of Israel but with some added information. The crown is removed until someone comes to whom it belongs. It refers to the coming king, the Lord himself who shall descend with a shout.

It also tells of the Lord taking out his sword and shining it up.

v9 "Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished: v10 It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; should we then make mirth? it contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree."

furbish: to give a new look to, renovate, to make lustrous.

So a new kingship is announced the old is taken away.

contemn: despise.

In the book of Revelation, we see Him come.

Revelation 11:17 "Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

His Name's Sake - Ezekiel 20

Ezekiel 20:1 "And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, and sat before me."

Remember the Lord told Ezekiel that to tell the elders that He would not speak to them because they had idols still in their heart. So here, the Lord tells Ezekiel to deal with them.

v3 "Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Are ye come to inquire of me? As I live, saith the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you."

This chapter takes Ezekiel back through the history of Israel so that he can tell them the reason they are where they are. It begins in Egypt where they were told to cast off their idols but they did not. It tells of the wilderness where they were given the commandments and to cast off idols but they did not. It tells of Canaan where they were blessed but still they returned to their idols.

The Lord told them that it was because of His own name's sake that he spared them all those times. Also, because the Lord had claimed them as His own, he did not want to punish them in the sight of the heathen.

v9 "But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt."

Like sheep who must learn discipline for their own good. The Lord here promises Israel that they will learn and that they will turn from their wickedness.

v37 "And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;"

These words are spread through other verses: v38 "And I will purge..." v35 "I will bring..." v41 "I will accept..."

The Lord is not bringing all this about because Israel has been so good, no, but for His own name's sake. We often refer to our children as our name's sake. So, too, could this be that Jesus as God's son is also His name's sake. I've heard the prayer often, 'for Jesus' sake, Amen'.

I'm glad for Jesus and His righteousness, for I certainly could not get to heaven on my own merits.

v44 "And ye shall know that I am the LORD when I have wrought with you for my name's sake, not according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord God."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lamentation for the Princes of Israel - Ezekiel 19

Ezekiel 19:2 "And say, what is thy mother? A lioness; she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions. v3 And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men."

This lamentation is concerning two kings who reigned in the latter years of the kingdom. They were both sons of Josiah (who was a good king). The first Johahaz reigned but for a short time and was taken away by the Pharaoh of Egypt. Eliakim was put in his place and his name changed to Jehoiakim by Pharaoh.

v4 "The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt."

Eliakim became king and did as other kings and fought wars, etc.

v8 "Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit."

The scepter is the symbol of power. It tells us here that the 'mother' had many who could hold the scepter and that there were strong rods for the scepters. But then even the mother was destroyed.

v12 "But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit; her strong rods were broken and withered, the fire consumed them."

The first verse tells us who the mother was: Israel. In one place, when the enemy was confronting Israel (when they were coming into the kingdom), someone said they all have the face of a king.

v1 "Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,"

Read also II kings 23:34 and surrounding verses.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Sour Grapes - Ezekiel 18

Ezekiel 18:2 "What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?"

There were some bad expressions on the faces in the land. No doubt, anyone going through could see the attitude of the people by their expression and the proverb used to describe them.

The Lord goes on to explain that if the people do right, they will not be punished and will have no reason for long faces.

v4 "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

v5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, ... he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God."

The chapter reviews the elements of the law that was given to the people. The final word is that every person bears his own sin and it is not passed up or down in the family.

v20 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shalt the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."

It tells us that we shall stand before God individually. I think it also tells us that our family ties are not the issue but rather how we conduct ourselves.

The plea is for Israel to turn from their wickedness. It has not changed that the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23.

It is so obvious that we need a Savior. Man is of sinful nature and cannot pull himself up. Much of what we learn in the Old Testament shows us the need for the New. We need someone who was pure enough to take our place. It was and is Jesus.

v32 "For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God; wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye."

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Eagles & Twigs - Ezekiel 17

Ezekiel 17:3 "And say, Thus saith the Lord God; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had divers colors, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar;

v4 "He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffic; he set it in a city of merchants."

These stories are beautiful to me. I do not understand the exact meaning but I can see Jesus here. He is telling a truth with a story just as he did in the New Testament.

Telling of two eagles, I believe this first one is Israel and the second one is Babylon. I cannot be sure.

v12 "Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these things mean? tell the, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon;"

It seems that the purpose for the invasion of Judah was to bring down the mighty nation so that it would again learn to trust the Lord. They rebelled again by going to Egypt for help.

v14 "That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping of his covenant it might stand."

v17 "Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons."

So Judah was suppose to yield to the captivity but they went to Egypt for help. This caused judgment on Egypt as well and the destruction of many.

There is hope in the chapter.

v24 "And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish; I the LORD have spoken and have done it."

God's chosen people are to learn that they serve the true God who is able to tear down the mighty and do the impossible with that which seems useless. "...have made the dry tree to flourish..."

Isaiah 53:4 Isaiah 53:2 "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: ...."

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Nativity - Ezekiel 16

Ezekiel 16:6 "And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live."

Chapter 16 is a chapter that should be read in it's entirety. It is a picture of Jerusalem as a newborn baby, neglected until the Lord came by, then raised up and decked out in fine linen and jewels.

v9 "Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil."

It is a picture of a child cast out and unwanted. Then the Lord passed by.

v5 "None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee, but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born."

I think of the song "When Jesus passed by my way." I don't know if that is the title. But the Lord does care for the outcast. He does have time to stop and take note of our needs. Just think of the blind man who sat by the roadside begging. Jesus stopped to fill his need. So did the Lord with Jerusalem. He cared for them.

Jerusalem turned from the Lord after all this loving care and worshipped things instead of the One who was taking care of them. The chapter goes on to compare Jerusalem to a wife who turned to another but found not fulfillment for her desires.

v15 "But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on everyone that passed by; his it was."

Besides being unfaithful, Jerusalem took the children and sacrificed them to idols.

v21 "That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them?"

These are the sins of Jerusalem, recounted to the people so that the might remember and know why they were uprooted from their homeland and taken into captivity.

v38 "And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy."

After all this, Jerusalem will be remembered and there is hope in this chapter as well.

v60 "Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. See Exodus 2:24 and Hosea 2:15

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Vine - Ezekiel 15

Ezekiel 15:6 "Therefore thus saith the Lord God; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem."

In this chapter, we understand the vine. It was made to be burned int he fire for fuel. It seems there was no other good use for the vine. Jerusalem is now described as being like the vine, good only to be used for fuel in the fire.

For those who have studied only the New Testament, this statement must seem strange. I, myself, have been trying to reconcile the chapter with New Testament scripture. For in the New Testament, the vine is all important.

John 15:1- "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman."

We know that grapes grow on vines and that wine was / is made from grapes. So it was used for fuel when pulled from the forest and for other purposes when tended. I believe the mystery is that even the vine is can be purposeful in the Father's hands. On the one hand, if the Father decrees, it is used for fuel. On the other hand, if the Father decrees, the vine is used for productive purposes.

Jesus adopted the role of the vine. Perhaps because as the vine in the forest had little respect, so he had little respect on earth, at least from the powers of this world.

v2 "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."

So, we see that bearing good fruit determines the purpose of the vine. One that bears good fruit is nourished and cared for. The branches that do not bear are cut away and burned so that they do not draw nourishment from the good branches that are producing fruit.

In our chapter, Jerusalem has become a branch that bears only bad fruit. What would we do with a fruit tree that never produced anything but rotten fruit or no fruit at all. God owns the trees and so can make these decisions concerning the trees or vines. (A vine is considered a tree in the Bible.)

John 5:5 "I am the vine, (Jesus) , ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing."

Jerusalem, the capitol of Israel was part of that great nation that the Lord choose as his own. He built the nation and brought into Canaan. It seems much like a man moving from one area to another and taking along a cutting of a prized apple tree or grape vine. He places it in good soil and waits for good fruit.

Jerusalem brought forth bad fruit. Not at first, but the fruit went bad and so, we have this chapter where the vine is cast into the fire.

v8 "And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord God."

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Three Men - Ezekiel 14

Ezekiel 14:16 "Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God."

One thing struck me in this verse. Ezekiel is receiving this prophesy during the captivity and that is when Daniel was living his life in captivity. (We will study about Daniel later.) But the Lord put him in this group of three righteous men. Two from the olden days. Daniel must have had great favor with the Lord and indeed he did.

I believe the point here is that when God starts his judgment on a people, it is bound to be carried out regardless of who prays. Although he has great respect for someone, His will must be carried out. So even Noah, Daniel or Job could not stop this judgment.

Now in the first part of the chapter some elders have come to Ezekiel, it seems they were wanting to find out what God had in mind for the future. The problem with them was that they had not turned lose of their idol worship even though there may have been no images, they still held idols in their heart.

v1 "Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me."

v3 "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face; should I be inquired of at all by them?"

People cannot come to God for a new life when they hold on to their old life. The first step is repentance which means to 'turn from'.

v6 "Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God, Repent and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations."

The same is true for this generation. As I've said, people cannot make a deal with God. We must come under His conditions. It starts with recognizing that we are sinners and then a willingness to turn from that sin.

Because these men held sin in their heart, the Lord answered thus:

v8 "And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD."

There will be a few that remain who will encourage the hearts of the captives. It is called the remnant. These are such people as Daniel and others who stayed true to God.

v23 "And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings; and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord God."

I am encouraged by some young families coming up who honor the Lord. It seems at times that there is nothing but Hollywood and meanness in the world. Then, I find there are those who have taught their children properly and those children are raising families to fear the Lord. It is an encouragement to me.