Today’s Text: Ezekiel 24
Highlights: As this chapter begins God has a message for Ezekiel: “This very day-the king of Babylon started his siege against Jerusalem, this very day”.
Ezekiel is given two symbols to illustrate what has happen. First a parable of a cooking pot in which a delicious meal is burned up and the pot is left on the fire until the pot also begins to burn, scalding everything inside it. This represents what is happening to the city.
Next, Ezekiel is told that his wife will die that night and he is not allowed to mourn at all. Ezekiel’s loss is symbolic of the loss of God’s temple.
What do you learn about Ezekiel from verse 18?
Today’s Text: Ezekiel 23, 2 Chronicles 36:13, 2 Kings 25:1, Jeremiah 52:4
Highlights: Homer Hailey, a pretty great teacher of the prophets, calls Ezekiel 23 the ugliest chapter in the Bible. The 3 references in Chronicles, Kings and Jeremiah state that in the 9th year of Zedekiah’s reign the Babylonians come to Jerusalem and built a siege wall around it.
What is so ugly about Ezekiel 23?
Today’s Text: Ezekiel 19, 20, 21, 22
Highlights: There is a more stern tone in these chapters. Chapter 19 contains two parables about the failure of the nation to produce a good king and concludes, “this is a lament and is to be used as a lament” (19:14). The word “sword” occurs 19 times in chapter 20. The sword of Babylon is about to be drawn against Jerusalem. The final verse of chapter 22 says “I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD” (22:31).
About 900 years earlier, at the very beginning of God’s relationship with Israel, God had commanded, “I am the LORD your God” (Exodus 20:2). You see that alluded to and restated several times in chapter 20. You also see the phrase “that they might know I am the LORD” as an explanation for God’s judgments. It occurs several times in chapter 20 (and 62 times in the book). Why is this such an important principle? How does Romans 14:11 relate to this?
Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 15, 16, 17, 18
Highlights – Ezekiel continues to discuss the condition of the children of Israel. In chapter 15 the nation is like a useless burned up branch. In chapter 16 they are like a woman who was rescued from poverty and abuse, loved and cared for and made beautiful, but who then turned to prostitution. Chapter 17 is a complex allegory that illustrates how Zedekiah will foolishly rebel against Babylon. In chapter 18 God defends the justness of his judgments.
Chapter 16 shows how good God had been to Israel and reaches a conclusion in 13 and 14.
Likewise, God saw our hopeless condition when we were lost in sin and rescued us. He made us His children and He supplies our every need. There is an old question: Does God love us because we are beautiful or are we beautiful because God loves us? How does this parable answer that question? How might we respond like or (hopefully) unlike Israel?
Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 12, 13, 14
Highlights: One of the most interesting things about the book of Ezekiel is the symbolic acts God commands him to perform to illustrate his messages (see a good example in the first few verses of chapter 5). In today’s reading, in chapter 12, he is told to pack up his belongings and leave as if he were going into captivity, illustrating what is actually going to happen to those left in Jerusalem. 13 and 14 refute the messages of the false prophets and express God’s displeasure with those who are still practicing idolatry.
The references to Noah, Daniel, and Job in chapter 14 illustrate how far the nation has fallen. Even if these three were there the nation would not be spared. But of course, they are not there! The nation is truly doomed!
But what an honor to be among the 3 names that God chose to make this point! Why do you think, out of all of the characters in Old Testament history, these 3 were chosen?
Text: Ezekiel 8-11
Highlights: In chapter 8 Ezekiel is transported to Jerusalem to witness detestable things being done in the temple. Because of these God says Jerusalem will be destroyed. Chapter 9 declares that the sinful people will all be put to death, the righteous spared. In chapter 10 we have a awesome description of the glory of the Lord. Chapter 11 clearly promises a restoration for those who are faithful. The last verses are a pivotal moment as the glory of the Lord departs from the temple, perhaps signifying God’s abandoning the sinful nation (because of their sin).
Question: In chapter 9 a mark is placed on the righteous so they will be spared from the execution of the wicked. This might remind us of the Exodus from Egypt when the blood on the doorpost spared the children of Israel from the angel of death. A stronger parallel is the 144,000 in Revelation 7 who are sealed by God, again, to be spared from punishment of the wicked.
On whom, specifically, was this mark in Ezekiel 9:4 placed? What does this teach you about the kind of people we should be?
Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 1-7
Highlights: Today we begin Ezekiel. Ezekiel was sent to the captives in Babylon about 6 years before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Chapter 1-3 deal with the call of Ezekiel and include a fascinating, glorious vision of the glory of God. Chapters 4-7 contain the first prophecies. There are several powerful, graphic illustrations of what is to become of Jerusalem.
7 times in today’s reading (and 62 times in the book) it says these things will happen and “then you shall know that I am the Lord”— so the basic message is that of God’s judgment on His people. This is similar to Jeremiah only Jeremiah worked with the people in Jerusalem, Ezekiel with the captives in Babylon.
For Thought and Discussion: In 3:16-21 God warns Ezekiel about his responsibility to tell people about their sin. What does it say about how people will respond when they are taught God’s word? To what extent do you feel this warning applies to us today?
Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 50:41-46, Jeremiah 51:1-64, Jeremiah 49:34-39, Jeremiah 34:8-22
Highlights: Today’s reading continues Jeremiah’s letter concerning Babylon. ‘”O LORD, you have said you will destroy this place, so that neither man nor animal will live in it; it will be desolate forever”, (51:62). Seraiah is told to take the scroll to Babylon, read it, then tie it to a rock and sink it in the Euphrates symbolizing how Babylon will sink to rise no more.
Back in Judah, king Zedekiah has a change of heart and sets all slaves free (as the law had taught), but then he took the slaves back and enslaved them again. This renews God’s judgment on Jerusalem.
Timing wise, the fulfillment of these prophecies against Babylon and the restoration of Judah was 60 or so years in the future. God told them what would happen, but many would not experience it personally. Yet it was to serve as a consolation to them – a reminder God is in control and someday…… Are most of our promises of “the pie in the sky” of the “here and now”?
Today’s Text: Jeremiah 51:59, Jeremiah 50
Highlights: Today and tomorrow we will read prophecies of Jeremiah against Babylon. 51:59 says the scroll is sent by a “staff officer” named Seraiah who went with Zedekiah to Babylon in the 4th year of his reign.
“For I will stir up and bring against Babylon an alliance of great nations from the land of the north. They will take up their positions against her, and from the north she will be captured. Their arrows will be like skilled warriors who do not return empty-handed.” (50:9). When this was written Babylon was ruling the world and subduing Judah. Someday Babylon will fall and there will be relief for the children of Israel.
God used Babylon to punish Judah. Why is God now displeased with them? See verses 11, 14, 29, and 38. Consider also how God may use us to correct those who are in sin today. What are some improper methods and attitudes we could use in correcting others?
Today’s Text: Jeremiah 23:9-40
Highlights: This chapter reveals God’s feelings toward the false prophets (see yesterday’s reading for examples). The false prophets basically said Jeremiah is lying, we are true prophets of God, and God has told us Jerusalem will be safe. One gets the feeling that if these false prophets had not been there the king might have listened to Jeremiah and maybe the city could have been saved. This chapter shows how extremely frustrating this must have been to Jeremiah. The reading begins, “my heart within me is broken because of the prophets”.
There is an interesting illustration in 23:28 comparing false teaching and teaching that is true. It says “what has straw to do with grain?” What is the meaning of this analogy?