Scripture reading for August 20th: Ezekiel 7-11
Ezekiel had a hard message to preach to the people of Judah who were in captivity. In today’s reading he announced that the end had come! God was finally forced to act and judge the land because the people of Judah failed to listen and repent. Judgment must always begin at the house of God. Why? Because those with the most light are most accountable for their response!
What were the terrible things done in Judah by it’s leaders? Ezekiel cites violence and the idolatry brought on by wealth as trigger points. (Ezekiel 7:10-13) People went through the motions of religion but were really trusting in their own strength and wealth. Materialism has a way of creeping in and taking God’s people captive. In this tragic end, the people’s silver and gold would not be able to help or save them. (Ezekiel 7:19-22) During the extreme famine, no amount of wealth would be able to buy food.
Another sin was violence and the shedding of innocent blood. (Ezekiel 7:23-27) The land must be purged of these sins and what men sow, they will reap! These sins, when persisted in, bring about a blindness and confusion concerning God and His holy word. People will look for God’s counsel and mercy but not be able to find it. God must judge them so that they know that He is the Lord who is in charge!
As this judgment of the end was prepared and executed, Ezekiel was taken by the hair and transported to Jerusalem. There he was given a vision of what was really going on in the city and temple among it’s religious and political leaders. (Ezekiel 8:2-6) All kinds of idolatry and pagan practices were being done by the so-called leaders of the nation. With judgment on the doorstep and the end at hand, they were seeking help from worthless idols! They were worshiping nature and the sun instead of the Creator of heaven and earth! (Ezekiel 8:16-18)
Ezekiel then got to see the Glory of the Lord being escorted out of the temple and city by some awesome creatures with wheels and wings. (Ezekiel 10:1-5) The worst form of judgment on God’s people, is the withdrawal of God’s presence and glory from their lives. Without God’s presence, all that exists is sin and darkness! That is truly the “end” we all want to avoid!