Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Ezekiel 34-36
Our reading begins on a painful note as YHWH rebukes the shepherds for feeding themselves and not their flocks. There are many obvious parallels we can draw today but the takeaway that can be most useful to us right now is to make sure we are feeding directly on the word of our Father.
Anything given to us outside of that directness with the word must be held up to it and tested against it. For one who seeks to follow the Father, If a teaching contradicts His word, it has to go. And now is a great time to remind you that you have a responsibility to test my notes as well. Please don’t just read the word and then see what I think about it and move on. Do your own thinking, researching, and testing. Remember, YHWH’s word is the straight edge to which all else must line up, never the other way around.
Beginning in Ezekiel 34:10-16 OUR story takes a monumental turn!
Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them. “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land.
There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.
This is building, leading up to another part of this story which we will discuss tomorrow.
Do you feel the hope building? Y’all, this is OUR Story. We are among the sheep being rescued! He goes on to state that the sheep will also be judged, taking special care to point out those who muddy the clear waters for others and more specific references. This is all something to take in and ponder in our hearts, ruminating on in our very souls and asking for guidance from the Holy Spirit to ensure that we aren’t muddying anything or in any way abusing our fellow sheep or leading them away from the Father by our behavior, words, or actions.
In the middle of chapter 36 (Ezekiel 36:20) the Father speaks of having people profane His name because of the behavior of His people. This is something that always hits me with a gut punch. Some years ago I came across Romans 2:23-24
23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, alas it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
And I realized that our actions, our words, our behavior that is outside of the fruits of the spirit and not led by knowledge of YHWH’s word and an earnest seeking of His will and influence in our lives can lead people to blaspheme the name of our precious Holy Father!
I’m sure we all know someone who hates Christianity (Or however we identify our faith in YHWH and Messiah) and they all have a tale to tell about that one Christian who, at some point, caused them to feel this way. This is a heavy burden to bear but also a sobering fact to consider.
We can’t risk causing others to blaspheme His name because of our misrepresentation of Him.
We simply must know, study, and remain in Him through His word in order to avoid that.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 Another blessed mention of the new covenant. Notice, once again, the conditions of the covenant are the same:
26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
Not a new set of statutes or commandments, but the desire of heart to follow and obey what He has already set in place.
Do we desire that? Is it on our heart to know His rules, ordinances, commandments, and walk in them, being careful (particular, with great desire not to disregard) all of His rules?
There is a lot to think on today and we are leading up to a crescendo. Hang tight friends, new life is about to spring forth.
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!