November 22


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Ezekiel 33-35

We are in the Prophetic Stream reading from the New American Standard Bible.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord, give us your pastoral heart that Ezekiel tells us about.  Amen.

33 – The Lord makes it quite clear that a Believer has a duty to warn one who is straying in disobedience. If we, in God’s safe keeping, look out and see one proceeding into perdition, that man’s blood is on us if we do not take the responsibility to warn him that destruction lies ahead if he does not repent and make amends.  Yes, we are guilty for what he does if we play the politically correct game and remain aloof dismissing the matter with platitudes of “respecting others views”, minding one’s own business, honoring their privacy, live and let live, blah blah and such gobbledy. Regardless of their response to our warning, we are absolved of any guilt as long as we speak to them what God would have us say as corrective direction.    18 months or thereabouts after Jerusalem was sacked [586 B.C.] the first exiles from Judah arrived in Ezekiel’s territory of Babylon. His tone to the arrivals is more or less, “what did you think was going to happen. You are [top to bottom] as idolatrous as witchdoctors, you murder with glee, you swap wives like you were exchanging coupons at a store,  Did you want God to bless this?!” God had it to wipe out all of you for your sedition. You’re fortunate to be alive. So don’t even intimate the ‘gee, doesn’t God love us?’ malarkey!” God had to strip Israel/Judah because of your sinfulness. Don’t act aghast.” As the rest of the Judeans arrived in Babylon, they admired Ezekiel, but they didn’t listen to him either – just like they hadn’t been listening to God.  They would, however, come to revere Ezekiel in time.

34 – God wants Ezekiel to deliver the mail to the “shepherds” of Israel; the priests and kings who led the people into wretched idolatry.  Imagine how things could have been different had they stuck to the Covenant? As in most settings of the world, leadership is the answer. And it would be the sound answer, except that leadership was the problem in Judah. The shepherds were using the sheep to provide themselves with possession. The sheep hadn’t been shepherded into God’s Presence as the priests and leaders were supposed to do.  So the sheep went gravely astray. The leaders would have cared about the problem but they were lounging in palaces, nibbling on roasts, and sinning themselves.     The marvelous scenario is then told of when God is going to shepherd His people.  What a fascinating contrast God provides against what the derelict priests let the population slouch to. Every Pastor needs to be reminded of what is written here.  This is how God loves His sheep – and leaders are to love God’s people the same way.
35 – With Judah falling silent and uninhabited, the neighboring country of Edom [Mt. Seir] thought it was time to go in and take possession as they saw fit.  Judah was attacked with finality in 586 B.C.  So Edom was staging to move in and call Judah (and beyond) their own. They were delighted to have the Jews extricated and gone “forever” so it appeared. Well, being people who are ignorant of the things of God, they were all excited making plans to absorb Judah when in 583, B.C., Babylon rushes in and lays the country out.   The dead were everywhere.  God needed the land of Israel to lay fallow for 70 years. No peoples were going to intercept this plan of God.

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