Learning from Ezekiel 20-27
20:1-26 - What great things God did for His people, Israel. He ‘brought them out of the land of Egypt’. He led them to ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’ (6). Think of what God has done for us. He has brought us out of our sin and into His salvation: ‘He called you out of darkness into His marvellous light’ (1 Peter 2:9). Saved by the Lord, Israel was to live for the Lord: ‘I am the Lord your God. Obey My laws and My commands’ (19). We have been saved by the Lord: ‘You have been saved by grace through faith. This is not your own doing. It is the gift of God’. He calls us to live for Him. We have been ‘saved... for good works’. Our ‘good works’ are to ‘bring glory to our Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16). Let us ‘walk in the light’, rejoicing in our Saviour - ‘the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin’ (1 John 1:7).
20:27-49 - Here, we have a clear statement of God’s purpose for our lives: ‘Through you I intend to display My holiness for all the nations to see’ (41). He wants other people to notice that we are different. He wants them to see that we have been changed by Him: ‘As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him’ (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is to be our testimony: ‘What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart!... I have ceased from my wandering and going astray since Jesus came into my heart! And my sins which were many are all washed away since Jesus came into my heart!’ (Mission Praise, 748). May God help us to live as ‘a new creation’, being ‘renewed every day’. Make it ‘your aim’ to ‘live for Him’ and ‘please Him’ (2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 5:9,15,17).
21:1-32 - We read here about ‘the time of final punishment’ (25,29). God’s Word speaks to us about ‘eternal punishment’ as well as ‘eternal life’: ‘Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not have life, but will remain under God’s punishment’ (Matthew 25:46; John 3:36). God loves us. He sent His Son to be our Saviour. He calls us to put our faith in Christ (John 3:16-18). He speaks to us His Word of promise - ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’ - and His Word of warning - ‘How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?’ (Hebrews 2:3). God is calling us to ‘flee from the wrath to come’ (Luke 3:7). We must turn from sin - ‘Turn away from your sins and live’ - and turn to Him - ‘Turn to Me and be saved’ (18:32; Isaiah 45:22).
22:1-31 - ‘I looked for a man..., but I found none’ (30). God is looking for people who will be faithful in prayer. What happens when God’s people refuse to pray? God’s Word leaves us in no doubt - ‘I will pour out My anger on them..., bringing down on their own heads all they have done’ (31). What a tragedy! The people refused to pray - and there was no blessing from the Lord: ‘You do not have, because you do not ask God’ (James 4:2). Things could have been so different: ‘If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land’ (2 Chronicles 7:14). God wants to bless us. We must pray for His blessing. ‘Ask and it will be given to you...’ (Matthew 7:7-8).
23:1-49 - ‘Because you have forgotten Me and turned your back on Me, you will be punished for all your sin’ (35). We are to remember the Lord. We must not forget Him. We must not let the Word of God ‘go in one ear and out the other’. We must be ‘doers of the Word’ as well as ‘hearers of the Word’ (James 1:22-25). Let’s put the past behind us and make a new beginning with God: ‘Return to Me, and I will return to you’ (Malachi 3:7). ‘Have mercy on me, O God... Cleanse me from my sin... Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation’ (Psalm 51:1-2,10-12). Let this be the prayer of your heart and the blessing of God will flow into your life.
24:1-27 - ‘I will punish you because of the way you lived’ (14). God is calling us to think about the way we are living. He wants us to leave behind the old, self-centred way of living. He wants us to begin a new life, a life that is centred on Him. Real change comes from God. We must pray that He will change us - ‘Change my heart, O God. Make it ever true. Change my heart, O God. May I be like You’. We must pray for a deep work of the Spirit of God in our hearts - ‘Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me... Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me...’. We must pray that we will become more like Jesus - ‘Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, all His wondrous compassion and purity. Oh, Thou Spririt divine, all my nature refine, till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me’ (Mission Praise, 69,613,410).
25:1-17 - We read here about God’s judgment upon sinful nations - Ammon (1-7), Moab (8-11), Edom (12-14) and Philistia (15-17). God speaks to us. He says to us, ‘You will know that I am the Lord’ (5,7,11,17). He speaks to us as our Judge. He speaks to us about ‘sin, righteousness and judgment’ (John 16:8-11). We are sinners. God is righteous. There will be a Judgment. This is God’s way of showing us how much we need His love. He shows us how much we need to be saved so that we might learn to be truly thankful to Him for the Good News of His love, the Gospel of our salvation - ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son...’; ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’; ‘Christ died for our sins’ (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3). Let us ‘rejoice in God our Saviour’ (Luke 2:47).
26:1-21 - ‘I am against you, O Tyre... You will be no more... You will never again be found...’ (3,21). God’s Word is spoken against us: ‘There is no-one righteous... All have turned away... There is no-one who does good... All have sinned...’ (Romans 3:10,12.23). God speaks His Word against us ‘so that every mouth may be silenced’ (Romans 3:19). He wants us to to stop making excuses for ourselves. He wants us to start listening to what He has to say to us. For the city of Tyre, the situation was hopeleess. For us, there is a Word of hope. Jesus Christ has come ‘to seek and to save the lost’. Jesus Christ has ‘died for our sins’ (Luke 19:10; 1 Peter 3:18). ‘Through faith in Jesus Christ’, we hear God’s Word of forgiveness: ‘I will remember their sins no more’ (Romans 3:22; Hebrews 8:12; 10:17).
27:1-36 - ‘Your wealth... will sink into the heart of the sea on the day of your shipwreck’ (27). We will sink if we don’t ‘keep our eyes fixed on Jesus’. We must not allow ourselves to get weighed down. We must not become ‘entangled’ in the world’s way of living. We must ‘throw off everything that hinders’ our spiritual growth. Jesus is ‘the sure and strong Anchor for our lives’. He will keep us from sinking. Let us look to Him and learn from Him: ‘Do not lay up treasures on earth... Lay up treasures in heaven’ (Hebrews 12:1-2; 6:19; 2 Timothy 2:4; Matthew 6:19-20). ‘Will your anchor hold in the storms of life...? We have an Anchor that keeps the soul , steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the Rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!’ (Church Hymnary, 412).