Passages that stuck out to me in today’s reading of Ezekiel 20:30-22:31 in The One Year Chronological Bible (NIV). God is speaking to Ezekiel about the judgment and restoration of Israel, the coming attack on Judah by Babylon, and the sins Jerusalem has committed against Him to earn His wrath and judgment.
‘Testing will surely come.’ – 21:13
The sooner we accept this fact and get in ingrained in our heads, the better off we will be. We have never been promised a trouble-free life. Scripture REPEATEDLY tells us that we will face troubles, yet we continue to somehow think that life should be easy if we follow God. He’s been clear that the opposite is quite often true. The closer we follow, the more difficulties we will face. When we begin to see God for who He really is, I believe that is when we can be content in all circumstances, like Paul tells us. He is our joy and our contentment and our peace, not things in this life.
‘It will not be restored until He comes to whom it rightfully belongs; to Him I will give it.’ – 21:27b
“He to whom it rightfully belongs” is Messiah. And He’s talking about the coming of Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords in Revelation, not Jesus as the God-man in the gospels. That is when Jerusalem, and the whole of creation (including us) will be fully restored to what it/we were initially created to be.
‘Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says” – when the LORD has not spoken. The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice.’ – 22:28-29
This reminds me that we, as believers, need to “test the spirits” like John tells us in 1 John 4, to see if what pastors/leaders/teachers/people are telling us is really what God is saying in His Word. So many times people pick and choose parts of Scripture to condone their behavior AFTER the fact instead of taking it as a whole and seeing what is really being said. Like I am trying to instill in my girls’ Sunday School class, context is key. Scripture is a grand narrative, not a tweet. You have to view the parts and pieces in light of the whole or you are going to make mistakes at best, or intentionally mislead people at worst. God gets mad when His Word is twisted and misused. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want the God of the UNIVERSE mad at me.
‘I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.’ – 22:30
Our job as Christ followers is to stand before Him in the gap on behalf of our world and point others to Him. I think that when the day comes that He can’t find anyone to do that, then that will be the day that the King of kings returns to claim His rightful throne.