Today’s readings are Ezekiel 21-22
Read today’s Bible readings on BibleGateway by clicking here.
No sense in dilly dallying! Let’s dive on in to the deep end!
Note that in our reading today we will see that YHWH’s sword (judgement) is coming upon an entire nation and in it, both sinners and righteous will perish. However, this is not an eternal judgement against the righteous. Their salvation is still eternal, so this does not contradict Ezekiel 18 where we read that the righteous would not be condemned for the sins of the unrighteous. Still, knowing that the entire nation will face this judgement in many cases makes “Come out of her my people” a much more urgent directive.
Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; Revelation 18:4
Ezekiel 21:10 features a sentence in parenthesis. From what I can see, the sentence itself was part of the original text, but they chose to put part of it in parenthesis.
10 sharpened for slaughter- polished to flash like lightning! (Or shall we rejoice? You have despised the rod, my son, with everything of wood.) Ezekiel 21:10
Why did I point this out? Because text in parenthesis in our Bibles causes me to be leery. You see, there are some passages that we will read later on in the gospels where entire sentences were added into the text to support a church doctrine – and translators who added these words justified doing so by putting their additions to the text in parenthesis.
In today’s readings, seeing parenthesis placed around part of the original text helps to normalize this action – which gives me great pause. Just a word of caution, the Bible does not contradict itself. When we think it does, this is a call to dig deeper.
This is how we will immediately identify the added text when we get to it.
So two things:
Whenever you see something in parenthesis, know that parenthesis did not exist in the original languages these books were written in and it’s always a good idea to go read that verse
in several translations on Biblehub, such as this: https://biblehub.com/ezekiel/21-10.htm
Look that verse up there and then click on interlinear up at the top (INT) and seeing if it is in the original manuscript. Note that when looking at Hebrew in interlinear, we read right to left. https://biblehub.com/interlinear/ezekiel/21-10.htm
Just remember that YHWH’s word is inerrant – but we’ve seen in our reading from the very beginning how bold people can be. Give man five minutes and they’ll mess it up. This is why it is so important not to read the Bible with the intent of proving yourself right, but to see what YHWH says is right. Because if you give YHWH’s word authority, any added in contradictions will be glaring and obvious. Hang in there, you’ll see this to be true. In fact, every word of YHWH will always prove true.
We should not read the Bible to prove that we are right, but to see what is right, knowing that YHWH is the source of righteousness.
Ezekiel 21:21 is describing ways that Nebuchadnezzar would use to try to seek guidance from his false gods.
- Shaking arrows is something that was known as belomancy. There are two or three arrows, each with an inscription of sorts such as “God orders it” or “God forbids it” carved into them and you would put them in a quiver, shake them and then draw one to see what you were supposed to do. Sort of the first magic eight ball of sorts.
- Consulting images refers to asking idols and images what to do. It is possible that in doing this, the priests or unseen people could quietly answer and counsel the king while pretending to be the voice of the idol.
- Looking at the liver was a technique Babylonians used wherein they slaughtered an animal and then examined the liver for some sign of what to do – this was actually considered science in their time.
Sounds crazy, right? I also talked about this in my notes on Ezekiel 13. Just think about what we do today when we have “lucky” socks, necklaces, etc. Sometimes we close our eyes and make a wish on a flower or a four leaf clover. We wish each other good “luck”. When we do this, we are putting our faith, however serious or lighthearted it is, into things -and worse still, crediting these things when situations move in our favor.
Moving into Chapter 22 we begin to see another list of what all Israel has done to warrant the destruction that is coming upon Jerusalem. Shed blood, oppressed the sojourner and the widow, mistreated their father and mother, despised what is Holy to YHWH and profaned His sabbaths (notice that, once again, He claims full ownership of “His” Sabbath. The plural form simply lets us know that He is speaking of not only His weekly Sabbath but His appointed times as well – which also contain Sabbaths).
Now, we have seen that many nations were committing all of these sins at the same time but for Israel to commit them was far worse because they had been given the instructions of YHWH. They had been carefully taught by YHWH. He had made them His special people. For them, then, to turn from Him is all the more tragic in light of this.
For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 2 Peter 2:21
This passage goes on to speak of adultery and then it gets to the root of the problem. This is where our hearts stop beating and we just have to hold our breath and absorb the impact of this statement from our Father’s lips:
But me, you have forgotten, declares YHWH. Ezekiel 22:12
And THAT is the root of the problem.
When someone has a runny nose and we hand them a tissue, are we treating the cold? Nope.
We can call attention to symptoms of the illness (sins), but don’t let that be a distraction of the bigger problem- we have forgotten YHWH.
Look at the state of the world today. Look at the state of our country today. Look at our behavior. Look at what we as Believers follow. How far we have strayed. How great the idols to self are that we have built among us.
We. Have. Forgotten. YHWH.
That is a personal “we” which each of us needs to read and take ownership of and then do the same to this next statement.
The Father is calling us to reject ourselves and follow Him so that He can renew us.
The modern thought process goes something like this: We want a relationship with Father, but not THAT Father, not the one that we don’t know, not the one who is in the part of the book that we like to call “old” because we’ve been told that one is mean and angry and Jesus is soft and fluffy and will never get angry no matter what we do, and loves us just the way we are, regardless of how we turn our backs on everything He taught, lived, and preached. We’ve created this fluffy Jesus who came to break all of the Father’s rules and usurp Him for the throne so we can all just enjoy ourselves for eternity.
Here is the thing though:
YHWH doesn’t change and Messiah didn’t come to boot Him from the throne.
So if we call ourselves by His name, if we claim Him as our Lord and Savior, if we say that we are following Him and that He came here on earth to teach us how to live-
If Yeshua/Jesus is the only perfect example of how to live, then:
Why aren’t Believers living like He did?
Why aren’t we following His example?
Why aren’t we walking as He walked?
Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
1 John 2:6
There are generally two answers to this.
1. We don’t understand how He lived or walked and therefore we don’t really know what His example is other than what we’ve been shown in movies and soundbite quotes. Reading the Bible, in context, from start to finish, can fix this one.
2. We don’t really want to follow His example. We want to do the least we can get away with and still be included in the club. We can fix this by being honest and realizing that this is only an option in the world’s eyes, but it does not work in YHWH’s kingdom.
Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Ezekiel 22:26
People who the world views as representative of the Father and leaders to those who seek to follow YHWH, have done violence to His law. Some translations say they have violated His law or ignored His law. Either way, these are the people who should be loving His law and teaching others to do the same. Instead, they have made no distinction between holy and common – between what is to be revered and treated as special to the Father and what is revered by the world. This entire verse is what the world tries to teach us to do. When we can fit this description, when we don’t honor His teachings, when we don’t make a distinction between what is truly Holy to Him and what we want to be holy in our own eyes, when we don’t even know the difference between clean and unclean or recognize His set apart days, we have (inadvertently) followed the teachings of the world instead of the Word. If that prickled a bit, please read the verse above again as I was simply paraphrasing what the Father said. But be encouraged because:
We are returning.
Turn your face to us, Father, we are returning!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!
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