Monday, October 1, 2012

Ezekiel 20:1-44 - The History of Israel's Rebellion

LINK: Ezekiel 20:1-44

BACKGROUND 

This prophecy was given on August 14, 591 B.C. (11 months since the last date given by Ezekiel, 8:1). It was given when some of the elders came to visit him as they had done in chapters 8 and 14. God did not want them to inquire, and He gave them a history lesson of His faithfulness, long-suffering, and mercy as He tried to draw them back to Himself, but they were disobedient. He particularly focuses on their deliverance from bondage to Egypt. The message is clear: those who persist in rebellion will be "purged" (20:38). 

This passage does end with a promise of future restoration (20:32-44). Like the deliverance from Egypt, he would deliver them from the lands to which they had been scattered, gather them in the wilderness, pronounce judgment on the rebellious, and bring those who are faithful to Him back to the Promised Land. 

The judgement in the wilderness is a picture of a shepherd holding out his staff and having the sheep pass under it single file (Jeremiah 33:13). The sheep who were His would be allowed to enter back into the fold which was a place of protection. The fold is the "bond of the covenant." Many commentators believe this is not the Mosaic Covenant (Ezekiel 16:59) but the New Covenant He will make with her when He restores her to Himself (Jeremiah 31:31-33). This is an "everlasting covenant." Many commentators believe that this scene is for the future time when Christ will reign. He is the Good Shepherd who will evaluate the sheep. 

The rebels will be judged, but the faithful will be brought into the land, and they would know that He is the Lord (20:42, 44).

APPLICATION 

How much of this history review do you remember from the first year of the Bible Book Club?

If we do not learn from history, it will repeat itself. Review your history with the Lord by telling Him your testimony.

What lessons have you learned from your history with God?  Have you learned them well so as not to repeat passed mistakes and sin?  Are you still wandering in the wilderness of sin?  

PRAYER

Lord, most of Israel did not learn from their rebellion and sin. Help us to learn lessons from our history so that we may serve You. Amen. 
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