October 18

Ezekiel 18-20

We are in the Prophetic Stream reading from The Living Bible.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Dear God, we certainly receive a lesson in what not to act like in our lives and in your presence. I pray we are mentored by these passages and thereby don’t need to repeat them. May it be so.  Amen.

18 – It sounds like Ezekiel is speaking to all the psychology majors of the 1970’s; those who were blaming their parents for everything and taking personal responsibility for nothing.  The truth is unshakeable – that each man dies for his own sin.  The just and lawful will live. The irresponsible, the disobedient, the oppressors – they will die.  End of issue. No more blaming others for one’s own evil bent.  And by the way, those who repent will also live. Calling God ‘unfair’ because justice is meted out against the guilty is stupid and irresponsible.  He would love nothing more than to have no one to punish and for all to be following Him.  But man is unwilling so don’t blame God. God is still calling hearts back to Himself.  Think about it: the Hebrews have been wretchedly sinful for a couple of centuries now.  And God is not being gracious enough??  Get real!

19 – Using vivid symbolism – Judah was like a lion. David was it’s greatest king. The lionesses were the mothers. The cubs of the lion were the successive kings that came along over the centuries between David and Zedekiah, the last king. They were once so large and in charge and gloriously so.  Now they are bedraggled, captured, imprisoned, shamed and withering along with the kingdom.  The kingdom is not looking good, and the future is bleak.

20 – It’s right around 591-590 B.C.  when Jeconiah [Jehoiachin] who was taken captive. [Also told in II Ki. 24:15]  Six years after that, [about 4 years before the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem in 586 B.C.], the elders come to Ezekiel to seek the Lord’s advice, they ask, “where do we go from here?”  It’s a pathetic situation and a very tiresome question for Ezekiel to field.  The litany of Judah’s sinfulness is spelled out for them as well as a call for restoration. They are basically like a kid who won’t eat his dinner, but keeps eating rancid garbage from a dumpster until he gets deathly sick only to ask his parents, “how come you guys won’t help me get well?”  Looney, huh? Yes it is. That was the deviancy that Ezekiel was prophesying to.  Ezekiel goes back 1000 years to when they were a slave nation in Egypt.  God did not want them to be forever under Egyptian idols.  So he brought them out, gave them new laws and a new start.  And  they  just  couldn’t  obey.   They adopted cultic practices of the neighbors and blithely brought offerings to the Lord as well. And here they are  ‘playing pious’ coming to Ezekiel to ask, “what’s wrong here? what do we do now?…”  Nonetheless, God, in His goodness, still talks of a day when He is worshipped rightly in Jerusalem.  But the residents of Jerusalem will be run through a fiery trial first.  God help them.

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