AUGUST 18 READINGS...Ezekiel 10:1-13:23
We come to a very, very sad part of Scripture for the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Ezekiel is given another vision from the Lord as to what is happening in Jerusalem. In the midst of the false prophets proclaiming the pride that Judah should have because the Lord is with them, God shows Ezekiel a horrifying event. We read that the Spirit of the Lord leaves the Temple. In Ezekiel’s vision this is done with great fanfare with the living creatures, he saw by the river Kebar, ushering out the Lord’s Spirit. The Lord no longer dwelt in the Temple…He was no longer enthroned between the cherubs on the Ark of the Covenant…He left the Temple completely. After leaving the Temple the Spirit of the Lord leaves Jerusalem. Think of the horror…Ichabod (the Spirit of God no longer dwells here) could now be written over the Temple and over the city of Jerusalem. There can be no greater tragedy for a people than for the Spirit of the Lord to leave them. Everything that comes from the presence of the Lord is now gone. NO protection, NO covenant, NO empowerment, NO comfort, NO peace…NOTHING! Do you ever wonder about our country, and more specifically our churches? Where is the Spirit of God? Are we doing all this on our own…by our own human power and wisdom? I fear that the Lord is not really welcome in most churches that use His Name. The Jewish people assume that because it was “the Lord’s Temple”, and the city had the “Lord’s Name on it”, that the Lord must certainly be there…He just left them. He left them because long before His leaving they had left Him. We have left the Lord…how can we expect His Spirit to work among us? Return to the Lord now, before it’s too late!
The Lord reminds Ezekiel of how the nation of Judah had gotten to such a spiritually anemic, and even dead condition. They had listened to the false prophets rather than to the prophets of God. The Lord called these false prophets, “whitewashers”. They splashed their worthless white paint on that which was ugly, trying to convince the people that all was well with God, even in the midst of their ungodliness. The Lord said that He stands against these false prophets, as He stands against all false prophets and teachers. These false prophets were made up of both men and women…using their influence to beguile the people of God. And the people were willing to receive these clearly false prophesies, because it was what they wanted to hear. This brings us to an important question for our day. DO WE WANT TO HEAR FROM GOD, OR DO WE JUST WANT TO HEAR WHAT WE WANT TO HEAR? I fear that like Judah we no longer want to hear the Word of the Lord, but have actually gotten to the time where we are heaping up false teachers to tell us what our itchy ears want to hear. Do not be mistaken there is a high price to pay for rejecting God’s Word for the false words of humanity. Don’t believe me? Look at Judah!
Please share your thoughts from today’s reading. Ask the Lord to give you a desire to hear from Him, and to silence all the other voices speaking their tripe into your life. Don’t ignore what the Lord is saying, but follow Him in complete obedience in these dark days.
TOMORROW’S READINGS…Ezekiel 14:1-16:63