C2C Aug. 28 – Sep. 3

August 28 — Great Faithfulness — Lam. 3-5.  There is much grief expressed at the beginning of chapter 3, including feelings of isolation: “… though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer” (3:8).  The solution to those negative experiences and feelings is then given even for us: “But this I call to mind, and therefore have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases …” (3:21-22).  When we are down, we are to remember God’s love.  The description of God’s goodness continues with, “… his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (3:22-23).  Sound familiar?  It is the source of my favorite hymn: “Great is Thy faithfulness!  Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”

August 29 — Ezekiel — Ezk. 1-3.  Like Jeremiah, Ezekiel is a long book of collected prophecies.  Jeremiah stayed in Jerusalem until it was destroyed in 586 BC, but Ezekiel the priest was exiled earlier with prominent people, including King Jehoiachin.  His mission was to call the exiled Jews back to God.  They had seen the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s predictions because they had been “a rebellious house” (3:9); now they should learn their lesson and return to obeying God.  Many of the visions in this book are of a fantastic nature.  Ezekiel seemed to be at a loss for words to describe the unusual things he had seen.  These kinds of apocalyptic visions are shared by Zechariah, Daniel, and the book of Revelation.  Ezekiel is called “the son of man” 93 times, the only man thus called except Daniel (one time) and Jesus.  Here are some “Big Ideas in Ezekiel” to look for as you read: 1) God judges sin.  2) God has ultimate control over history.  3) There is still hope for God’s people even after God’s judgment.  4) God promises to live among his people.

August 30 — Wasted Words? — Ezk. 4-7.  The first 24 chapters of Ezekiel predict the coming destruction of Jerusalem.  Why waste those words on the exiles already in Babylon?  I believe it is because most of those Jews still justified their way of life and maintained that Jerusalem would not really be destroyed by Babylon.  Some, like Ezekiel, could honestly say, “I have never defiled myself” (4:14), but most, like those still in Jerusalem, needed to be shown the powerful punishment of God for their continued sin before they would acknowledge and submit to Him.  Seven times in three chapters (5:13; 6:7, 10, 13, 14; 7:9, 27) this fact is emphasized: “I will punish you according to your ways … Then you will know that I am the LORD” (7:9).  It is so much better to live in purity like Ezekiel than in sin like Judah!

August 31 — The Glory Has Departed — Ezk. 8-11.  Today’s reading is about the second of four visions given to Ezekiel, and the same wheeled cherubim of the first vision appear again.  The focus is on the destruction of Jerusalem for their wicked practices that defiled God’s holy temple.  In a gradual manner, “the glory of the LORD” departed from the Holy Place to the threshold of the temple (9:3; 10:4), from the threshold to being over the cherubim (10:18), and finally from the city to “the mountain … on the east side of the city” (11:23), the Mount of Olives.  Not everyone was destroyed by God’s wrath, however, because God ordered a mark to be put on the foreheads of those who grieved about the spiritual pollution in the city (9:4).  Similarly, when plagues fell around God’s people onto the Egyptians, protection marks were placed on the Hebrew’s doorways.  And that forehead-mark of protection will be seen again near the end of time when God’s wrath falls on the earth (Rev. 7:3; 9:4).  To Ezekiel’s contemporary Jews, God gave a wonderful promise of a future restoration to their land for those with obedient hearts (11:17-20).

September 1 — Saved to Send — Ezk. 12-14.  God continued sending prophetic messages to the Jews already in exile in Babylon.  He still referred to them as “a rebellious house” (12:2) because they rationalized Ezekiel’s prediction of Jerusalem’s fall as being, “for many days from now” (12:26), because they listened to false prophets “who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!” (13:3), and because each had an idolatrous heart “and yet comes to the prophet” for advice (14:4).  The disaster would come, yet God would allow some survivors, perhaps the “marked” people from yesterday’s reading.  That remnant would declare to other nations the wickedness of Judah that caused the fall (12:16) and some would go to Babylon to wake up the previously exiled Jews when they “see your ways” (14:22).  Again, the purpose of the remnant was to evangelize and point people back to God.

September 2 — Amazing Grace — Ezk. 15-16.  Jerusalem is depicted here in a graphic extended metaphor to show that after having been graciously chosen by God and cared for in a loving, abundant way, they responded in selfish, ungrateful, and unfaithful ways.  They would receive the deserved penalty for disdaining the covenant God had made with them, but afterward, God promised to restore them with “an everlasting covenant” (16:60).  God’s grace and love are emphasized here despite His need to satisfy His justice.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.–Robert Robinson (1758)

September 3 — Responsibility — Ezk. 17-19.  Personal responsibility seems to be the emphasis in these parabolic chapters.  The idea is repeated several times: “The soul who sins shall die” (18:20).  The sinner is urged to turn away from sin (18:21) and the godly person to continue living righteously (18:24).  Although God obligates Himself to punish sin, He asks, “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked … and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” (18:23).  God’s heart desires reconciliation for the people He created.  Lord, grant us that kind of heart for those estranged from You!

Published by abibleread

This website honors the Bible as the inspired Word of God through which God speaks to us as we read and study it.

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