God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 3 - Ezekiel 22-23: Jerusalem's Crime Bosses will be Punished

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 22-23

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God's Chosen People have forgotten how to set things right in their community.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

God told Ezekiel to judge the city, "Jerusalem's inhabitants outdo each other in crime. They will soon know I am God.
"No one will stand up to the bad priests and excuse-making preachers; therefore, they will see my wrath."
God's message: "Two sisters, Oholah (Samaria) and Oholibah (Jerusalem) became whores in Egypt. Oholah wanted Assyrian men but they brutally killed her.
"Oholibah slept with Babylonian men and later abandoned them. Now her jilted lovers will have revenge."
"Ezekiel, these sisters sacrificed children to idols then waltzed into My Temple to worship Me! I must make an example out of them."

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Jerusalem has forgotten God.

The leaders compete to be the crime boss of Jerusalem. There is no court immune from their evil schemes. Anarchy reigns. Worst of all, they have forgotten God. The god that once saved collective Israel from captivity is now only a cultural symbol to the only remaining tribes. Beware of idols, they will make you unable to see God as He is.

God's punishment is meant to remind Jerusalem who their god is.

Jerusalem has a major problem with other idols. They cannot stop worshiping them. So God will come and forcibly remove their idols so they can see their god and return to Him. God's punishments are meant to remove barriers to seeing Him, not to make us feel bad about our lives.

God's Message through Ezekiel gets more explicit as it goes.

Earlier I wrote on how Israel wanted to keep their sexual pleasures more than their god. Ezekiel's message in chapter 23 would be considered "R-rated" by most Christian sensors. What we must remember as we read these sections is that God (or Ezekiel) is using metaphors which relate to Israel and Judah's sin. They have cheated on God by going to sex-and-religion shrines. They offered their children to their sex-and-religion idols and then entered the Temple in Honor of God to worship Him as though nothing they did mattered. So he uses metaphors which closely resemble their actions—prostitution. If you feel uncomfortable or blush at these sections—good! They are not meant to be feel-good texts.

What does God need to remove to help you see Him as He is?

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