Sunday, January 13, 2019

January 13 - Ezekiel 5

Today's reading in our daily plan is Ezekiel 5. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • In today’s chapter, God instructs Ezekiel to shave his head and his beard. Shaving represented mourning, humiliation and repentance. After Ezekiel shaved, he was to divide his hair into three bundles and each would represent the coming destruction of the people of Israel in different ways. One third would die inside the city of Jerusalem, one third would be killed by enemies outside the city, and one third would die “scattered in the wind” (see verse 12).
  • Ezekiel was also to take a few of his hairs and protect them inside his robe to symbolize the small remnant of faithful people whom God would protect. But even within this group, there were those who had faith that was not genuine and they too would be judged and destroyed by God.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Jerusalem was the center of God’s nation and was intended to have a good influence on the countries around it, but instead the people of Israel allowed themselves to be shaped by their neighbors. The people turned their back on God who had taken them out of slavery in Egypt and placed them in a prosperous and powerful position.
  • Hypocrisy is nothing new and God knows what is true in people’s hearts. Going through the motions, performing the right actions, and saying the right words are not what make faith genuine. Genuine faith doesn’t mean never having doubts or anger, but it does mean always turning to God and being honest with him about how you feel rather than looking for comfort outside God.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • One of the sins that brought God’s judgement to the people of Israel was that they defiled the Temple which was God’s sanctuary. In the New Testament, we learn that God now makes his home within us. Our body is God’s temple. We defile God’s temple today by allowing gossiping, bitterness, love of money, lying, or any other wrong actions or attitudes to be a part of our life. Take a moment and talk to God; ask him to help you become aware of a part of your heart that needs cleaning. Be open with a trusted friend and ask them to help you maintain accountability in improving this part of your life.