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

Friday, September 6, 2013

September 6 - Ezekiel 32-34: God vs. Egypt, Silent Watchmen, and Israel's Shepherds

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 32-34

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Ezekiel cannot sit and watch God's warnings come true. He must act or be held accountable for Israel's punishment.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

"Babylon will lead a nation of brutes to destroy Egypt. Egypt will be buried without honors."
"Ezekiel, a silent watchman pays for spilled blood. Tell Israel each person will be judged on how they live.
"Israel thinks they deserve land because they come from Abraham. How absurd. They must realize I make that decision.
"Ezekiel, prophesy doom to the shepherds of Israel who scatter My Sheep. They're fired! I will shepherd My Sheep and separate the sheep from the goats. The strong sheep will no longer wreak havoc on the weaker sheep. Then they will know I am God."

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

Nations who think more highly of themselves than they ought crash.

Today's first chapter finishes the part brought up in yesterday's reading. God does not rejoice over Egypt's downfall. He laments. The reason Egypt, Assyria, Edom, and Meshech-tubal were destroyed was because their pride took control and made them believe they were greater than they really were. They experienced success that went to their head. Beware success—it may lead to the fatal idea that you are self-sufficient.
Unfortunately, Israel was not immune to this pride. They believed their ethnic identity guaranteed possession of Canaan. What they did not understand is God's Blessings come to those who set things right, not those who live under the Promise of Abraham. Silly Israel. It's a good thing we do not think like this.
Okay, so we do. How many people do we know who go through the motions (or fail to worship God at all) simply because they have been baptized and feel entitled to God's blessings? We are not guaranteed God's Blessings because we are one of God's Chosen People. We are guaranteed God's Blessings when we submit ourselves to His Way and set things right!

Watchmen who do not speak are held accountable.

This is the second time God used the image of a watchman to remind Ezekiel of his job. God tells His Chosen Messenger to warn Israel and Judah of their coming punishment. If they would not listen to him, their blood would be on their heads. If he did not tell them, their blood would be on his head. If you have a person within your sphere of influence whom you do not warn that their actions would bring punishment you will be held responsible. Remember, this is not about convincing them to change; it is about warning them of punishment to come.

God does not enjoy punishing the wicked.

Although I mentioned this earlier, I believe this point is important enough to repeat. God wants everyone to set things right. Because God wants to set all things right, He will respond in-kind. A good person who sins will be punished. A bad person who sets things right will be rewarded. If we cannot get our heads around that, we will miss God's entire Message throughout Scripture.

God would punish Israel's shepherds.

God's anger against Israel's shepherds comes as a result of their unwillingness to promote righteousness and their willingness to oppress others. They were unwilling to do what God called them to do and therefore God would punish them. Leaders are responsible for setting the proper example of setting things right.

God would become Israel's Shepherd.

God would go after them. God would rescue them. God would bring them home. God would feed them. God would protect them from predators. God would not allow the strong to bully the weak. If God wants to set all things right and leaders set the example most people follow, God will be the leader to set an example of setting all things right. God wants to be our Shepherd and set things right in our flock.

Do you want God to be your shepherd?

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