“I also will clap my hands together, and I will satisfy my wrath. I, the Lord, have spoken.” Ezekiel 21:17
God’s judgement is a dominant theme in the grander story of Scripture. You can feel His judgement and wrath in the images of today’s reading. The wonderfully good news for us is that Jesus bore the wrath of God and the punishment for our sin. The joy-filled glorious good news for us today is that through Jesus Christ we have been spared from God’s wrath.
Take a moment to marvel at God’s grace for you.
Others need to hear this good news. Are you open to sharing it with others? Ask the Lord to open your eyes to the opportunities around you to talk about God’s grace and salvation.
“For I take no pleasure in anyone’s death.” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “So repent and live!” Ezekiel 18:32
In today’s reading there is a theological truth that must be grasped. While the sin of someone else does effect others, each person is responsible for their own sin (Ezekiel 18:20). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Notice the good news though. God takes no pleasure in someone’s death (Ezekiel 18:32). Even though the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23). So the Lord says “repent and live!” So the Lord tells those who have repented to tell others this wonderful news (Romans 10:14-15).
Praise the Lord for His compassion!
Take a moment to confess the sins you’ve committed this week and seek forgiveness.
“Repent and turn away from your idols; turn your faces away from all your detestable things.” Ezekiel 14:6b
In today’s reading we see God continue to show concern for the condition of our hearts. The sin of idolatry is highlighted. Equating unfaithfulness to the Lord with prostitution, Ezekiel 16 gives us a graphic picture of idolatry and unfaithfulness. Here unfaithfulness is equated with prostitution. Ultimately, through Ezekiel, we see that unfaithfulness to the Lord begins with the condition of our hearts. Thankfully there is good news. The Lord dealt with Israel according to what they had done but still promised to remember His covenant with them (Ezekiel 16:59-63). Inspite of their unfaithfulness, He promises a permanent covenant.
Examine your own heart today. Is it receptive to the Word of the Lord and the work of the Lord?
“I will give then integrity of heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove their heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:19
Today’s reading gives us one of the most important statements of hope in the whole book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel 11:19-21 is a promise of hope. A relationship with God is marked by receiving a new heart and a new Spirit. God promises a new heart of flesh to replace the heart of stone. This will enable His people to follow Him faithfully. Not perfectly, but faithfully.
The condition of the heart was central to Ezekiels message. What is the condition of your heart today?
If you are a follower of Jesus, He has replaced your heart of stone with a heart of flesh. You won’t live perfectly, but are you living faithfully?
“You will know that I am the Lord when their slain lie among their idols around their altars…” Ezekiel 6:13a
Ezekiel shaved a third of his hair, burned a third of his hair, and scattered a third of his hair to the wind. This represented God’s judgement on His people for their continued idolatry. Severe judgement is due to us because of our severe sinfulness against the Lord. The punishment of death fits. There were a few strands of Ezekiel’s hair left, representing God’s grace to keep a remnant of His people for Himself. Praise the Lord that Jesus offered Himself up to God, for all of us, so that we can be spared the ultimate death – separation from God for eternity.
Take a minute to praise the Lord for His grace in your life and confess your sins to Him.
“So, I opened my mouth, and he fed me the scroll.” Ezekiel 3:2
When Ezekiel ate the Word of God it was “as sweet as honey” (Ezekiel 3:3) in his mouth. Consider the difference between a protein bar and a five course meal. The protein bar provides a short burst of energy and there is a short time limit on being full. On the other hand, a five course meal is far more filling and full of more needed nutrients. It’s good to “eat” the Word of God in similar ways. When I’m tempted to rely on my own abilities the Spirit brings Provers 3:5-6. But I cannot fully rely on a remembrance of a verse to spiritually fed like God intends. I also need to regularly sit down and “eat” larger portions of the Word of God.
What does your diet of God’s Word look like? Are you spiritually starving? Commit to read the Word on a regular basis.
“Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope.” Lamentations 3:21
Laments are a form of poetry full of prayers and difficult conversations with God. While these prayers are characterized by gut-wrenching honesty, the intent is to bring the one lamenting back to God. The goal is to gain hope in the Lord and His faithful love. Therefore, most important word in today’s reading may be the word ‘yet.’ The author uses the word in Lamentations 3:21 to mark a turning point towards hope. The focus is on God as the source of our hope. He is our source of hope when we are lamenting.
What are you lamenting, or mourning, over in this season of life? Like the author of Lamentations, maybe you feel there is no one to turn to for comfort. Turn to the Lord in prayer and, with honesty, express how you feel to Him. Turn to Him as your source of hope.