mad person not talking August 14 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Ezekiel 6, 7, 8, 9

The End of Talking

When is it time to stop talking and start acting? The answer is when talking is ineffective and action is necessary. Sometimes we have to let people know who is in charge. However, before we jump the gun and act, we need to prove that our actions are justifiable.

God does not need to prove that his actions are justifiable because he is God - he is just. Nevertheless, on the eve of his destruction of Jerusalem he proved to the prophet Ezekiel that he was justified in destroying Jerusalem by Babylon. God was angry with his people for their extreme wickedness and rebellion. After waiting more than 100 years after the exile of Israel, sending prophets to warn the nation of Judah, and disciplining them over and over, more talking was useless - it was time for action! Has God been very patient with us? Has he talked and talked to us through the Bible, pastors, caring friends or relatives, but we still have not listened? One day there will be an end to talk, and God will take action. God longs to give you forgiveness, spiritual life and peace if you come to him. Do not force him to act with justice (more...).

The LORD showed Ezekiel exactly what God's people were doing behind closed doors, in the darkness, and even in his temple. God sees what is done in secret. God was going to judge them, and they were going to learn He is the Sovereign LORD.

Ezekiel sat in his house one day with seventy Jewish elders in Babylon. As they sat, Ezekiel saw a vision of God take him up by the hair and transport him to places within the temple of God (Solomon's temple) in Jerusalem. God’s purpose was to show the evil of the leadership and priests of the people.

The first thing Ezekiel saw was an “Idol of Jealousy” standing in the temple where God was worshipped! This was possibly an Asherah pole used in Baal worship. It was constructed and brought in during the days of Manasseh, but late in his life he repented and had it destroyed. When King Josiah cleaned out the temple, however, the same idol was there again. Apparently, the leaders and priests did not easily give up their idolatry. Perhaps this was also the Idol of Jealousy in the temple during the present reign of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T., by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p.1243).

The second thing Ezekiel saw was a secret door in the temple. Behind the door the seventy elders of Jerusalem were worshipping “all kinds of crawling things and detestable animals and all the idols of the house of Israel,” (Ezekiel 8:10, NIV). Pictures of these were portrayed on the walls. The elders had lost confidence in God and were calling out to strange gods to save them, gods who were only figments of their imagination. To Ezekiel’s astonishment, one man there with them was Jaazaniah, the son of Shaphan. If you will remember in 2Kings 22, Hilkiah the high priest found the book of the Law in the temple and gave it to Shaphan the secretary. Shaphan then took it and read it for King Josiah. This led to a revival. Jaazaniah was from a faithful family! This was disheartening. Moreover, it was disgusting!

Furthermore, in his vision, at the north gate (probably the entrance to the temple’s outer court) he saw women mourning for Tammuz. Tammuz was a false god who was worshipped because it was believed that he brought spring vegetation. Since there was a famine during their siege, they thought that Tammuz had died for that season and had not arisen to bring new life, so they mourned for him. They did not repent and look to the true God for his provision. (Insights from The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T., by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p.1244).

Last, Ezekiel was taken into the inner court of the temple. He saw at the entrance twenty-five men (probably priests) before the altar of the LORD. They were not burning sacrifices and confessing their sins and the sins of the people, however, they were worshipping the sun, facing east with their backs to the temple of the LORD.

The leaders and priests were not the only wicked ones; the people were also wicked idolaters. They had filled the land with violence and put branches in their noses (an apparent reference to Mid-East idolatry in their time, (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T., by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p.1244)).

For these sins and more God was going to take action against Jerusalem, and judgment would begin at the temple. God hates hypocrisy and pride. Judgment always starts at the house of God. Just because we claim to be Christians does not keep us safe from God's discipline. We need a personal relationship with him (more...), and we need to fear the LORD and walk in his ways.

God would, however, have mercy on some. Those who feared the LORD would have a mark or seal placed on their forehead, and God would not destroy them. God says that true followers of Christ have the Holy Spirit’s seal placed upon them until the Day of Redemption. They will not suffer the everlasting destruction of hell fire but will have an everlasting life of bliss with Jesus and all believers (2Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). Do you have the seal of God on you? If so, praise God, seek to please him, and do not grieve him by your lifestyle. If not, why not get right with Him and be saved (more....)?

What about the rest who do not turn to God - will they all be lost? Will they all be destroyed? Unfortunately, yes. God told Ezekiel that it was too late; Jerusalem was beyond hope. If you are living, however, it is not too late for you. After death is the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Every man and woman will be judged. Christians will be judged, not for their sins (Christ paid for them in full), but for their actions as to whether they were useful or useless (2Corinthians 5:10). Non-Christians (those who have not accepted Christ’s sacrifice for them) will be judged at the Great White Throne somewhere in outer space. Revelation 20:11-12,15; 21:8 says,

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead [those who have not believed in Jesus], great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (NIV)

Please, if you have not accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for you, repent before God takes action. He wants you to have spiritual life and peace. God must punish sin because he is holy and righteous and just. He is God, and eventually we will find that out if we turn away from Him.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2Peter 3:9, NIV)

The Christian should keep in mind that God is a jealous God and will punish disobedient believers until they repent. If you have strayed away from God, come back to him before it is too late. Walk in the fear of the LORD.

Lessons to live by:

  • God is very patient but will eventually take action. We must repent before it is too late.
  • God sees what is done in secret.
  • God is holy and righteous and expects his people to be that way.
  • God judges both the righteous and the unrighteous so we must turn to him to be saved and live to please him.
  • Do you have the seal of God on you? If so, praise God and do not grieve him by your lifestyle. If not, please turn to him and be saved (more...).

Today’s Bible memory verse: Psalm 80:19 “Restore us, O LORD God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.” (NIV)

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