ABC Sept. 4-10

September 4 — Ezekiel 24-27 — The Delight of Your Eyes (about 588-586 BC).  God used the death of Ezekiel’s wife to teach the exiled Jews an important lesson.  God announced to Ezekiel that, “I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you” (24:16) and he was not to shed tears over his loss.  When the people wondered about “what these things mean for us” (v. 19), God revealed that the temple in Jerusalem was “the delight of your eyes” (v. 21) and He was going to take it away.  Both were very dear but God removed them to teach a lesson about importance and affection.  When God told both Ezekiel and the people that “you shall not morn or weep” (vv. 16 and 23) over their loss, He was teaching a lesson about relative value.  What is “the delight of your eyes”?  How does your love for it compare to your love for God?  We need to work on building up our love for the Lord so that whatever we lose, we will still have what we love most.

September 5 — Ezekiel 28-31 — Proud Thorns and Reeds (around 586 BC [over a 16-year span])

Ezekiel concluded the prophecies against proud Tyre in chapter 28, adding their northern neighbor Sidon to it.  Of both these neighbors of Israel, God said they “shall be no more a brier to prick or a thorn to hurt them” (28:24).  Four times, this purpose of their judgment was stated: “they shall know that I am the LORD” (vv. 21, 23, 24, 26).  Pride was the cause of Tyre’s fall, who boasted, “I am a god” (v. 2).  The rest of our reading for today turned to Egypt, which is called “a staff of reed” (29:6) that broke when Israel tried to lean on it for support (v. 7). Their judgment also came because of pride.  They said, “The Nile is mine, and I made it” (v. 8).  Seven additional times, the purpose of Egypt’s judgment was stated: they “shall know that I am the LORD” (29:6, 16, 21; 30:8, 19, 25, 26).  In judgment “they shall know” but that will be too late!  As God prophesied through Isaiah, “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance” (Isa. 45:23) but “he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Matt. 25:41).

September 6 — Ezekiel 32-34 — Why Die? (about 586-585 BC).  In chapter 32, a list is presented of the nations that have died in judgment because of their pride and the terror they had caused for other nations like Israel.  These six nations, headed by Egypt, were all called “uncircumcised” to distinguish them from Israel.  In the next chapter, God set a watchman over Israel to blow the trumpet of warning for them to avoid similar divine wrath.  Then, God shared His heart and purpose in calling them: “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (33:11).  The choice was theirs; “Why will you die…?”  It gives God no pleasure to punish evil but it does give Him pleasure when people turn from their evil ways.  Let’s give Him the pleasure of our obedience today!

September 7 — Ezekiel 35-37 — The Name of the LORD (about 585 BC).  Eleven times in these chapters we see the repeated conclusion, “Then you will know that I am the LORD” (35:9, et al.).  His “name” involves two things: What He is called and Who He is.  His “called name” is Yahweh but His “described name” is everything about His matchless character and ability.  It is of utmost importance that we recognize and honor the name of the Lord.  Three times He pointed out the holiness of His name: having “concern for my holy name” (36:21), acting “for the sake of my holy name” (v. 22), and vindicating “the holiness of my great name” (v. 23).  Even when promising forgiveness for His people, He said, “It is not for your sake that I will act” (v. 32).  Even forgiving us is for His own sake.  He upholds His reputation as being supremely good in every way and supremely honored.  His name is “above every name” (Eph. 1:21; Phil. 2:9).

September 8 — Ezekiel 38-39 — God to Gog: (about 585 BC).  Gog and Magog are mysterious.  Gog was the chief prince of a place called Magog.  The only thing known about its location is that it is in “the uttermost parts of the north” (38:6; repeated in v.14 and 39:2).  God had a message for Gog: “I am against you” (38:3; 39:1) and He would execute judgment against him at some time “In the latter years” (38:8) and “In the latter days” (v. 16).  At that still-future time, God will bring them and their huge army of cooperating nations to attack Israel.  It is interesting that Gog and Magog are mentioned together only in these two chapters and in Revelation 20, which describes that final war against God’s people after the 1,000-year Satan-fettered reign of Christ on earth.  After Satan’s release, that vast army will be destroyed by fire from heaven and Satan will be cast into the lake of fire.  God’s message to Gog and Magog was not only that He is against them but that their judgment will end all evil on earth.  Won’t that be different?!

September 9 — Ezekiel 40-41 — Architectural Vision (about 573 BC). 

Maybe an architect would be fascinated with the detailed description of the temple seen in Ezekiel’s vision but for most of us, it might be somewhat boring and confusing.  To help with the physical description, I have attached one artist’s conception of what that very large temple would look like.  Scholars have long debated whether God intended for this temple to be built literally in Israel or whether its details are meant to be taken figuratively.  The great detail, including real places (cf. 47:15-20), argues for a literal temple but if so, when would it be built?  It was not the temple built at the return from exile under the leadership of Ezra and it was not the temple rebuilt by Herod.  Some say it will be built during the Millennial Kingdom under the Messiah’s rule but this temple includes animal sacrifices for sin offerings at a time subsequent to Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself.  It seems to me that big questions still face these interpretations.

September 10 — Ezekiel 42-43 — Holy Glory (about 573 BC).  The priests’ chambers built on the north and south sides of the temple building were “holy chambers” (42:13), not because priests stayed there but because those priests served an infinitely holy God.  They stored and ate “the most holy offerings” there (v. 13) and the garments they served in were made holy (v. 14) by their service in a holy place.  There was even a wall built around these holy buildings to separate them from what was “common” (v. 20).  Then, “the glory of the God of Israel” (43:2) entered the temple area through the eastern gate with a roaring sound and a shining brilliance (v. 2) that “filled the temple” (v. 5).  Ezekiel’s reaction was that “I fell on my face” (v. 3) and the desired response of his exiled audience when it was described to them was, “that they may be ashamed of their iniquities” (v. 10).  Those should be our responses as well when we encounter the matchless glory of God: to fall in wonder at His greatness and in shame at our sinfulness.

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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