Who Are the Good Guys?

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, You are one in the Godhead. Help Your church to be one.

 

Read: EZEKIEL 11:14-25

[14] The word of the LORD came to me: [15] “Son of man, the people of Jerusalem have said of your fellow exiles and all the other Israelites, ‘They are far away from the LORD; this land was given to us as our possession.’ [16] “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’[17] “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’ [18] “They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. [19] I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. [20] Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. [21] But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.” [22] Then the cherubim, with the wheels beside them, spread their wings, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. [23] The glory of the LORD went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it. [24] The Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the exiles in Babylonia in the vision given by the Spirit of God. Then the vision I had seen went up from me, [25] and I told the exiles everything the LORD had shown me.

 

Reflect: WHAT DO YOU SEE OF GOD’S HEART?

 The division could hardly have been greater. The exiles were blaming their troubles on the sins and defilement of those in Jerusalem, and now it was the other way around (15).But the Lord said three times over that they were brothers, blood-relatives and members of the house of Israel (15). They were not to cast each other off. Instead the Lord would one day (no date supplied, please note) bring those exiled back to the land of Israel (17).Then would be the time of cleansing– an undivided heart and a heart of flesh in place of their stony attitudes both to each other and to God (19). They would be God’s people and he would be their God (20).But not just yet. There had to be the removal of all that was evil and corrupt, and that included people as well as practices (21). And it would not spare the Temple. The glory of God’s presence would still have to depart and leave it to its fate. Verse 23 suggests tome that the Lord was rather reluctant to leave– was he perhaps pausing on the Mount of Olives for a last, long look at his old dwelling-place before taking his final departure?The division could hardly have been greater. The exiles were blaming their troubles on
the sins and defilement of those in Jerusalem, and now it was the other way around (15).
But the Lord said three times over that they were brothers, blood-relatives and members
of the house of Israel (15). They were not to cast each other off. Instead the Lord would
one day (no date supplied, please note) bring those exiled back to the land of Israel (17).
Then would be the time of cleansing– an undivided heart and a heart of flesh in place of
their stony attitudes both to each other and to God (19). They would be God’s people and
he would be their God (20).But not just yet. There had to be the removal of all that was evil and corrupt, and that
included people as well as practices (21). And it would not spare the Temple. The glory
of God’s presence would still have to depart and leave it to its fate. Verse 23 suggests to
me that the Lord was rather reluctant to leave– was he perhaps pausing on the Mount of
Olives for a last, long look at his old dwelling-place before taking his final departure? 

 

APPLY

Journal about your thoughts on God’s willingness and reluctance to bring judgment.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Keep Your people, Lord, from going our separate ways and thinking we can manage by ourselves.

 

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