accountability at board meeting August 29 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Ezekiel 33:21- 36:38

Holding People Accountable

An organization, business, or even family must hold its members accountable. If it doesn’t there will be a deterioration of it. There will be loss of productivity and quality, loss of motivation, loss of respect, and loss of reputation. For their name’s sake, the LORD’s, and ours, each of us must be held accountable. This is what Israel needed to learn.

At this time in Israel’s history, Israel and Judah were in exile in the nation of Babylon. They were there because they did not hold themselves accountable. They had sinned greatly - more, in fact, than all the surrounding nations around them. Because God had been very patient and sent them prophets but took little action, they thought God did not see their misdeeds or that God was like a permissive parent. They found out differently. They were held to account for their many sins, and now they would be in exile for seventy years.

Ezekiel records, “In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month on the fifth day, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, ‘The city has fallen!’” (Ezekiel 33:21, NIV). Although Ezekiel had prophesied about this for twelve years, they were shocked! Though many of the exiles liked Ezekiel’s preaching (unlike Jeremiah), they did not take him seriously. Finally, God closed his mouth for a time because they were not listening. They continued in their sins and deceived themselves into believing that the nation of Judah could survive Babylon’s attacks as she had previously, and they would soon return to the land. It was not to be, for finally God did judge.

After Jerusalem fell there were some in the land who survived Babylonian destruction. They were poor people and under the control of Babylon. Strangely, however, they became proud. God told Ezekiel,

“Son of man, the people living in those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land. But we are many; surely the land has been given to us as our possession.’” (33:24, NIV).

Like some employees in a firm or educational system, they thought they would not be removed because of tenure. They disobeyed the laws of God yet expected to retain their place. This self-deception caused them to continue and even increase their wicked behavior. God held them to account, however, and they were removed. Now very few remained in the land, and foreigners occupied it. God likened Israel’s leadership to bad shepherds, who did not care for their flock (their people). Because they cared only for themselves, their sheep were scattered by war and by exile. They were devoured. For these sins God said he would hold the shepherds accountable. We may not be shepherds of sheep, but most of have responsibilities over some people. How do we treat them? God will certainly hold us accountable.

Because of their incompetence God said He would be Israel’s shepherd. He would deliver his people from exile and bring the scattered ones back to pasture in the Promised Land. He would be their protector and provider. This would happen in part when they would be delivered from exile after the seventy years of exile were complete, but this prophecy will find complete fulfillment during the millennial reign of Christ. Apparently, he will even resurrect King David to be prince over them (2Samuel 7:16; Ezekiel 34:24). We know the prince could not be Christ because he will offer up sacrifices for his own sins (Ezekiel 45:22). First, however, before the millennial reign of Christ, God will have to give Israel a new heart to obey Him (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

In our last Bible study we saw how the nation of Tyre was held to account for profiting from Israel’s disaster. In today’s reading Edom is again held responsible for rejoicing over Israel’s demise. Instead of helping her sister nation, she rejoiced and profited by her downfall (the same accusation was made in Obadiah and in Ezekiel 25:8-14).

In the future God will save Israel spiritually, restore her land and protect her. You may ask, why would God save Israel? Had she not violated every law of God? Had she not defiled herself by bowing down to all the gods of the surrounding nations? Was she not more wicked than all the nations around her? Yes, yes, yes! Now she would suffer for it, but when God’s wrath would be complete, he would look upon her again with mercy. It would not be because Israel deserved it, but God in his great love would do this for his own name’s sake. He will change her heart, forgive her sins and restore her for his name’s sake. It is difficult to love others who have acted wickedly against us, yet God leaves us this example to follow.

Lessons to live by:

  • Live responsibly in the fear of the LORD
  • Love your neighbor as you would yourself.
  • Take care of those under your charge. Shepherd them with kindness, not harshness.
  • Love others who have acted wickedly against you. Act with justice and righteousness, but also act with mercy and love so that they might know God.
  • Do you know God in a personal way? He offers you forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...). If you obey him you will be in his favor and escape eternal punishment.

Today’s Bible memory verse: Ezekiel 36: 9a “I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor.” (NIV)

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