These notes were initially part of but removed from Ezekiel 13-15 before the publication of that post.
I’m fixin’ to recap and repeat myself a bit but it leads to a point so hang in there with me.
I wanted to start by pointing out a couple of things from the last few day’s readings that remind us there is a difference between what YHWH’s word says versus what the world tells us it says:
In Ezekiel chapter 7 we see the following:
- Ezekiel 7:3 Now the end is upon you, and I will send my anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways…
- Ezekiel 7:4 And my eye will not spare you, nor will I have pity, but I will punish you for your ways…
- Ezekiel 7:8 Now I will soon pour out my wrath upon you, and spend my anger against you, and judge you according to your ways…
- Ezekiel 7:9 And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways…
Do you see the pattern here?
They are being punished according to their ways: how they live, their actions.
It is important to read the entire chapter 7 (if you haven’t already) to understand the context of what these ways are which are bringing about this punishment, but their ways are certainly not much different from what we see today, both within the body of believers and within the world.
The main point I wanted to make here is that we have not seen, up until this point in reading the Bible from the very beginning, nor will we see from now until the end of reading the book, any passage where the Father suddenly changes and begins judging us based on what’s in our heart: whether or not we feel we are a good person or whether or not we feel we truly love Him.
Rather, we see advice like Jeremiah 17:9 where we are warned that our own hearts are deceitful above all things.
Y’all, the world tells us to follow our heart.
The Word tells us the heart is deceitful above all things.
Following your heart is not Biblical advice.
Following the Father and following our Messiah is.
But what if our heart has changed? Well, let’s see what that will look like, if our deceitful heart was replaced with something from Him.
There is that amazing prophesy that we read in Ezekiel 11:
17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ 18 And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. 19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord God.” Ezekiel 11:17-21
Ezekiel 11:17 began taking place in 1948 with the nation of Israel.
Ezekiel 11:18 is …well. We still have abominations in Israel, in our churches, and in our own lives. Is it something that has begun being fulfilled?
I think so as I’ve seen the fruit. Is it fully fulfilled? We can definitely see evidence that fulfillment has not reached completion.
Ezekiel 11:20 is yet another reference to the new covenant. Pay special attention to this, as we’ve mentioned back in Jeremiah 31:31.
It is helpful to read the verse in different translations on Biblehub by clicking here: https://biblehub.com/ezekiel/11-20.htm.
Check out those different translations of Ezekiel 11:20 and then see if you can answer these questions:
What will we walk in? “My” Statutes.
What will we keep? “My” rules”.
What will we do with those rules? Obey them.
And THEN we shall be “my people” and know that He is our God.
Who is “my” in this passage? YHWH.
Are these different rules or a new set of statutes? No.
The new covenant is not a new set of laws or a new set of rules or even a new religion as is sometimes taught. It is simply the Father’s law being written on our hearts. We can simplify this and think of it as the Ten Commandments being written on our hearts.
What does this look like? We will desire to follow them and to keep His statutes, rules, commandments, whatever you want to call it. When this is written on our hearts, we will have a desire to obey Him. Our deceitful hearts will be replaced by a new spirit and a desire to follow YHWH, to walk and live as Messiah lived.
With this in mind, some think that we may not even be under the new covenant yet!
Why would they think that?
Because we live in a time in which there are ministries and religious leaders who are actively teaching that not only do we not have to obey the Ten Commandments, but that they don’t even apply to us! Y’all, seriously, yesterday on Instagram, I read a comment that said “If we don’t sin, then Jesus died for nothing.” ? They were serious! (Although we certainly don’t have this mindset, we need to understand that it exists)
And no, I’m not going to take part in the whole “we can’t help but sin because we are human” conversation.
Too often we use that as an excuse to just live however we want under the guise of having a “good heart”. But when we say that His commandments are too hard we are contradicting the Father, and when we believe it, we are considering His word to be a lie. Father has told us that His commandments aren’t too hard for us. (Deut 30:11)
You know, when we are doing our best to follow our Father and not sin, but then accidentally or inadvertently sin, and repent with sincere hearts, that is when we are covered by Grace.
And OH MY GOODNESS is He ever a God of Grace!!!!!
But when we say that we can’t possibly avoid sinning as our excuse to not even try avoiding it, we’ve put ourselves in a whole other category. In essence, we are willfully sinning against the Father.
So are we in the new covenant? This is a question that each of us needs to prayerfully ask ourselves and the Father. See what YHWH tells us that looks like and check within and without to see if it lines up.
I don’t like talking about these hard truths and constantly encouraging self examination but this is how I live my life – asking our Father to show me the hard truths and examining myself daily in order to get more in line with His word.
For me, church used to be something I did one day a week. We’d go, sing some songs, dress nice, smile, and leave feeling good about ourselves.
I wish I could just sing some songs with y’all, fill you with joy and self satisfaction that you’d done a good thing in singing along with me, and then tell you to have a nice day. Some days in the word may even be like that.
But that ain’t church to me now.
Church is searching the word, praying for a light to shine in my own life to help me remove what doesn’t please Him and fill that place in with things that do. It’s coming before the Father knowing full well I’m not worthy of His love, but also feeling the weight of it just the same. It’s being humbled and hoping for even more of that. It’s letting go of my identity in earnest pursuit of taking on more of His. It is a 7 day a week, 24 hour a day life filled with Him. It is setting my desires aside and seeking His desires instead. It is seeking His heart, not my own.
And you know what? I have never felt happier, more spirit filled, more purposeful, more joyful, and closer to my Father and my Messiah than I do right now. I desire to follow Him. His commandments are a delight, the way of Life! I rejoice in His statutes.
I found church and it’s at His feet with my Bible open.
Can you have that kind of church and still attend wherever you go right now for worship?
But you can’t have a relationship with Him if you only seek Him once or twice a week.
We can’t say we are following Him if we go by our rules instead of His.
The Father is not interested in casual relationships with His children. (Rev 3:16)
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23
I want to be as close to my Father as I possibly can. I want to know Him. I want my life to be lived according to His plan and for His purpose.
He tells us that He wants the same.
With that said, y’all, let’s open up our Bibles.
It’s time to go to church.