Monday, September 13, 2010

Bible study: Instruction and Encouragement from Ezekiel

"For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope!" Rom. 15:4


Ezekiel was a young priest taken captive and carried off to Babylon where he served as a prophet among the exiles by the Chebar River (branch of the Euphrates) at the time that Daniel lived in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar and Jeremiah remained among the Jews in Jerusalem.


"...the word of the Lord came directly to Ezekiel the the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar Canal. And the Lord's hand was upon him there...He said to me: "Son of man, I am sending you to...the rebellious nations who have rebelled against Me to this must say to them: This is what the Lord God says. Whether they listen or refuse (to listen)...they will know that a prophet has been among them...If I say to the wicked person: You will surely die, but you do not warn him..that wicked person will die for his iniquity. Yet I will hold you responsible for his blood." Ez. 1:3; 2:3-5; 3:18.

God's people had fallen away from intimacy with Him because of sin and rebellion. In His faithful love, God sent a witness to speak on His behalf to draw wandering souls back to Himself. In Acts 26, Paul recounts his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus when Jesus said, "...stand up on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they my receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me." Paul was obedient to the call. "I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God's grace...for I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God!" Acts 20:24,27


In Ezekiel 47, the prophet describes a vision of water flowing from the millennial temple. Beginning as a trickle, the water rose ankle deep, to knee deep, to waist deep until it became a river, deep enough to swim in! Ezekiel was told, "...there will be life everywhere the river goes!" v.9

In New Testament Scripture, water represents the Holy Spirit and the Word."The one who believes in (Jesus), as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him. He said this about the Spirit.." (John 7:38-39) "...Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, to make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the Word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and blameless." (Eph. 5:25-27)

Does the thought of being God's witness bring fear and trembling to your heart? Have courage, O daughters of Zion! The God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus- the great Shepherd of the sheep- with the blood of the everlasting covenant, has equipped you with all that is good (His Spirit and His Word) to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever! Amen! (Heb. 13:20-21)

Years ago, a new neighbor volunteered to help me teach 4th graders in Vacation Bible School. My new friend set up crafts while I told the daily Bible story and gave a simple presentation of the gospel. Weeks later, I asked her if she had a relationship with Jesus to which she replied, "Yes, when you told the Bible story in VBS, I trusted in Jesus and He came into my life."

Mainstream readers travel roads all over the globe. Should Jesus appear to you today, would He address you as His witness or a wandering soul? God's primary agenda for this earth is to seek and save those who are lost from Him (Luke 19:10). God's primary agenda for those He has brought close to Him is for us to proclaim and clarify the gospel to wandering souls that "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day..." (1 Cor. 15:1-4)

You are the beautiful, beloved daughters of the King! :) Today, as we travel the road of daily life, may we rise up on our feet and stay alert...God may open a door for us for the message, to speak the mystery of the make it clear as we ought to speak. May we walk in wisdom and make the most of the opportunity! May our speech be gracious, as though seasoned with salt, so that we may know how we should speak to each person. (Col. 4:2-6)

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