Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 3- Pouring Out His Fury

November 3, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Ezekiel 7:1-9:11; Hebrews 5:1-14;
Psalm 105:1-15; Proverbs 26:28

Men are not flattered by being shown that there 
has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them.
 ~Abraham Lincoln

Ezekiel 7:1-9:11

When I was a child people in the United States would load up in their station wagons all across America during the summer months and take long road trips to see this great land on their vacations.  My family was no different.  Some years we would head out West and see the Rocky Mountains.  Other years we would go South to the sandy beaches of Florida.  Although I have good memories, time tends to soften some of the more difficult parts of the journey.  Siblings have a way of getting on your nerves in cramped quarters for long periods of time.  My sister and I would inevitably fight.  This could go on for hours with us saying things like "Same to you, but more of it."  "Stop touching me.  Dad, she touched me!"  This would be interspersed with us laughing uncontrollably about something inane.  My dad would tolerate this for a period of time until he could stand it no longer.  Then all hell would break loose. We could hear his belt sliding through the belt loops of his pants being whipped out to hit us so that we would shut up, already!  The end was near!  I can't honestly say that our dad really hit us with the belt.  The sound of it being whipped out was enough to get us to behave for at least 20 minutes or so.  : )

Today, God has had it with Israel.  The end is near!  Just like when God brought the flood upon the earth in judgment for man's sins, God is once again fed up with the idolatry, injustice, and hypocrisy of the nation of Israel.  Ezekiel is the man chosen to call out the warning. Ezekiel is told to warn the people that as the watchman for Israel, he sees God's judgment coming.  It will mean calamity and death for many. As the Scripture says, "Not one person whose life is twisted by sin will recover." 

In Ezekiel chapter 8, Ezekiel explains another vision from the Lord.  It is in the sixth year of King Jehoiachin's reign in captivity.  Again, Ezekiel sees the man who looks like he is a burning flame from the waist down.  He is glowing from the waist up.  Ezekiel is grabbed by the hair and taken in the vision to Jerusalem.  God is about to show Ezekiel the hidden sins of the leaders and people of the land.

The first thing that has made the Lord so angry is an idol that has been placed next to the altar of God. Next, Ezekiel is taken to the Temple courtyard to an opening in the wall. As he digs through the wall, Ezekiel finds a hidden room where snakes, lizards, and other hideous creatures have been drawn on the walls as part of pagan worship.  It appears to be some form of nature worship.  There are also idols that are being prayed to. In addition to this, incense is being burned and offered up to these idols.  The hearts of the leaders are not going toward the God of Israel, but toward the the pagan gods of other nations. They have turned away from God.

After this, Ezekiel is taken to see that the women of Israel have also turned away from God.  They are weeping for a god called Tammuz. Tammuz was a Babylonian god who was loved by Ishtar, the Queen of Heaven.  Tammuz was an agricultural god, but also was supposed to have died, been mourned for, and then come back to life.  I sense a distortion of God's true Redeemer Child story, here.  God does not tolerate the bastardization of His story on earth.  These pagan religions kidnapped His people's hearts.  God is going to judge this travesty and this distortion of truth.

The final blow is when Ezekiel is taken to see twenty-five Israelite men who have turned their backs to the Temple of God and are worshipping the sun, instead. At this, the Lord thunders for the city to be destroyed. In Ezekiel's vision, six men appear to do this work. One man, who is wearing linen and carrying a writer's case, walks through the city to mark the forehead of any person who has sorrow over the sins of Israel.  God always judges the hearts of the individual.  He spares the humble. After marking the humble, God commands that all unmarked people be killed.

As the men carry out God's orders, Ezekiel falls on his face and asks the Lord if He is really going to wipe out all of Israel. God confirms that their murders and injustice have sealed their fate.  The man in linen clothing returns to God to say that his work is complete.

What a dramatic vision of how God feels about those who worship other gods besides the One True Creator God. His fury is justified.  It is ridiculous to make up false stories and to worship the objects that He has created.  God does not tolerate this.

How is idol worship occurring in our day?  How can you avoid the mistakes that we see in this chapter? God will judge the earth in future days.  Will your forehead be marked because of your humility and sorrow about sin?  Will you avoid God's judgment because of your faith in Christ?

Hebrews 5:1-14

Today we will learn that Jesus is superior to the Levitical priesthood.  In most ancient cultures the priests were the keepers of knowledge.  They actually kept the people from the knowledge of God because they were part of an elite spiritual group that held secret knowledge.  Jewish tradition did not follow this pattern.  The priesthood in Judaism was designed to be representatives of the people, who would go to God to seek forgiveness and offer sacrifice on behalf of themselves and the nation. 

In Hebrews we learn that the High Priest was a man that was chosen to represent other human beings in their dealings with God. His humanity allows him to deal gently with the flaws of the people.  He is gentle because he is subject to the same sins. It is a position that is appointed by the call of God. Jesus was chosen by God for the position of High Priest.

Jesus was from the tribe of Judah.  We know from our readings that the priests were to come from the tribe of Levi.  The author of Hebrews explains that Jesus can be the High Priest because he was a priest from the order of Melchizedek.  Do you remember Melchizedek from the 14th chapter of Genesis?  He was the king of Salem (peace), who acted as a priest for Abraham. Psalm 110 prophesies that one day there will be One who becomes a priest for mankind in the order of Melchizedek.  Melchizedek is not described as having a beginning or ending.  This is the kind of priest that Jesus Christ is.  He is the beginning and the ending of all things. He is eternal.

We learn that Jesus was qualified to be a High Priest in that he was human, he was called by God, and his death was what qualified him. He was the Just and the Justifier.  He was the one who offered a sacrifice and he was the sacrifice.

Paul (I believe he is the author of Hebrews) admonishes the Jewish Christians to whom he is writing because he would like to expound more, but they are young in their faith.  They must still drink spiritual milk, rather than being able to digest spiritual meat. Solid food is for those who are mature and able to recognize the difference between right and wrong. This is a strong indictment.

Are you able to eat meat as a Christian?

Psalm 105:1-15

Search for God and think about Him.  This leads down the road of maturity.

Proverbs 26:28

If you lie about someone, you hate them.  Flattery is a form of lying.

What did you notice today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton


  1. My mom had a fly swatter for Long Trip Law and Order. haha
    This part of the prophecies of the Old Testament is sobering, b/c judgment is happening or about to happen and it's so thorough as God punishes his unfaithful people.

  2. The discipline we receive from our parents really is a loving picture of God's discipline in our lives!!