"A Watchman for the House of Israel" (9/6)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Ezekiel 32-34.

Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life” (Ezekiel 33:7-9).

A watchman’s job was simple: warn the people when danger threatened in order to give them time to prepare for the threat. Ezekiel’s job as “a watchman for the house of Israel” was similar. He was to warn them of divine punishment that was coming because of their sins. The hope was that the warning would lead them to prepare for the “threat” by putting away their sins and turning back to the Lord.

There are at least two lessons we can take from this:
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Whether They Listen or Not (8/27)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Ezekiel 1-4.

During the Babylonian captivity, Ezekiel was among the captives when God called him to prophesy. But He warned Ezekiel that this would not be an easy task.

Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. I am sending you to them who are stubborn and obstinate children, and you shall say to them, “Thus says the Lord God.” As for them, whether they listen or not—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them’” (Ezekiel 2:3-5).

The reason why the people were suffering at this time was because they had been stubborn and rebellious against God. Being taken captive to Babylon did not change their attitude. Yet God sent Ezekiel to them anyway.
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"They Have Obeyed Their Father’s Command" (8/17)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Jeremiah 35-37.

The Lord told Jeremiah to go to the Rechabites, bring them to the house of the Lord, and give them wine to drink (Jeremiah 35:2). This was not an endorsement of the consumption of alcohol, but there was a point to this. Notice the response of these men to the offering of wine:

We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, not to drink wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons or daughters, nor to build ourselves houses to dwell in; and we do not have vineyard or field or seed. We have only dwelt in tents, and have obeyed and have done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us” (Jeremiah 35:8-10).

These were grown men (evidenced by the fact that they had wives and children). They were free to make their own choices about drinking wine, dwelling in houses, and tending to fields or vineyards. But their continued obedience to the will of the earthly father indicates a deep respect for him, especially since following these instructions would mean living a very different lifestyle than their fellow countrymen.
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You Too Have Done Evil and Have Not Listened (8/11)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Jeremiah 14-17.

Now when you tell this people all these words, they will say to you, ‘For what reason has the Lord declared all this great calamity against us? And what is our iniquity, or what is our sin which we have committed against the Lord our God?’ Then you are to say to them, ‘It is because your forefathers have forsaken Me,‘ declares the Lord, ‘and have followed other gods and served them and bowed down to them; but Me they have forsaken and have not kept My law. You too have done evil, even more than your forefathers; for behold, you are each one walking according to the stubbornness of his own evil heart, without listening to Me. So I will hurl you out of this land into the land which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers; and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will grant you no favor” (Jeremiah 16:10-13).

The people could not understand why God would be punishing them. They had been deceived by the false prophets into thinking they were secure, yet Jeremiah spoke of calamity. They were blind to their own sin, so they challenged Jeremiah’s message. But Jeremiah gave them three reasons why God was sending a great calamity against them.
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If Only You Had Paid Attention (7/27)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Isaiah 44-48.

God desires to bless and reward His people. But the rewards He promises are, and have always been, conditional.

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Your descendants would have been like the sand, and your offspring like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from My presence’” (Isaiah 48:17-19).

Following God’s instructions by walking in His ways leads to a reward. During the time of the Old Law, this reward was physical prosperity, peace, and a continued preservation of the nation of Israel. Today is a little different. We may not have physical prosperity (1 Corinthians 15:19) or peace (2 Timothy 3:12). The nation in which we live could fall, leading to economic instability and hardship (Proverbs 27:24). But God does promise a reward to us if we are faithful today.
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The Love of the Truth

Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-10).

Those who do not possess a love of the truth will be lost. Their fate will be the same as the “lawless one” – the one who acts contrary to God’s revealed will who will be slain by the Lord. Why is it that we need to have a “love of the truth” in order to be saved? What will a love of the truth cause us to do?
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