Ezekiel 13-14 B

I was drawn to similar parts of these chapters as Bethany was last time. It’s important and deserves a revisit!

We feel passionate about people reading the Bible themselves, because we need to let God tell us who he is. Not just your pastor. Not an author of a Bible study. These resources can be so helpful when you’re seeking to understand the Bible and stay accountable to continue studying it. I’m still so thankful for the pastor I had in college who taught the Bible verse by verse and always eagerly urged us to sift everything he was saying through God’s word and the Holy Spirit. He, very wisely, never claimed to have all the answers or be the End All of knowledge on the text he was teaching.

Who are the ‘false prophets’ in your life?

Maybe it’s a podcast, an author or a good friend. Are you relying on them to make massive decisions about God for you?

Have you ever posed as a false prophet to someone else? Maybe you spoke into a situation and used spiritual language to manipulate the situation. You weighed in when you shouldn’t have, and you put your pride above the Spirit.

A good question to stop and ask yourself is what’s motivating me when I say this information or give this advice to someone? Your ego? Or the Holy Spirit?

-Carly

Ezekiel 11-12 B

“Son of man, what is this proverb you people have concerning the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days are long and every vision fails’? Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “I will make this proverb cease so that they will no longer use it as a proverb in Israel.” But tell them, “The days draw near as well as the fulfillment of every vision.” (12:22-23)

It’s easy to fall into the comfortable complacencies about being immune to things as if nothing has an end. Even though, history tells us: everything ends.

Some have started to wonder how much longer the hay day the United States will last. Every empire falls. Maybe we don’t have the same saying about long days and failing visions, but we do like to sing: “O say does that star spangled banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

When that happens, what will remain for you? Israel felt indestructible, because they thought the LORD’s favor was unconditional. While the fall of Jerusalem wasn’t the end of the LORD’s covenant, it did demonstrate His discipline, and underline what was permanent and what was dependent on them.

He has always been with His people. He has always been clear. Deuteronomy told them this would happen if they chose disobedience. He never abandons, but He does discipline and allow us to feel our consequences.

Do you confuse these two? Do you feel like the presence of the LORD in your life gives you license to live carelessly? Spend some time today remembering what truly is unconditional and what is conditional. Is there some thing in your walk that needs adjusting?

-Bethany

Ezekiel 9-10 B

“He said to him, ‘Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.’ ” 9:4

It’s hard to navigate between loving where you live and not aligning with the sin nature of culture.

Think about where you live now. Does the city break your heart? Do you see a lot of needs needing to be met?

Or do you call it home and it’s easy to love. Maybe you often find yourself slipping into the culture around you, normalizing behavior you once abhorred.

I remember when I first lived outside of my home state. The culture kind of shocked me. Everything was fast-paced and it seemed difficult to develop intentional relationships with people. It wasn’t long before I realized how quickly I imitated the culture around me. The things they bought, the way they spent their time. The size of their TVs. I laughed about this with friends, but a sinking feeling grew in my stomach. I needed to get out of this place before I mimicked anymore of the culture I originally disliked.

How do you find the balance between living intentionally in your city, yet being horrified at the things that horrify the Lord?

-Carly

Ezekiel 7-8 B

“Thus they will know that I am the LORD.” (7:27)

This is my summary statement for chapter seven, and this would be my summary of chapter eight:

“Yet you will see still greater abominations.” (8:6)

It’s pure madness that the LORD would repeatedly make Himself abundantly clear, then His people would turn away from Him to worship something lessor of purely from their own imaginations. Yet this is the classic tale of human history.

More than half the current population of the world is either Christian or Muslim. These two religions are based on the notion that the God of Abraham is the One True God and He is for all peoples, not just the Jews. (Granted, much of this is national/cultural identity and there’s a very unfortunate history of war we’re all painfully aware of).

Beyond these major world religions are still more that recognize a Creator God. This brings to mind Romans 1:20.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

On some level, at some point in everyone’s lives, the idea of a Creator has probably crossed every human mind. While other things have tried to claim to be that, the LORD has made Himself known.

That first phrase, summarizing chapter seven, appears in some form all throughout Scripture. He has been trying to teach us about Himself from the beginning.

But then the summary of eight: There’s no end to our habitual worship of other things; the abomination of putting something or someone else in His Place.

We are all guilty of idolatry, whether we come from an Abrahamic religion or not. Our perpetual draw towards worshiping lessor things has nothing to do with logic. He continues to make Himself known.

It’s a good practice to regularly evaluate idolatrous tendencies. What do our actions reveal about our root beliefs? I must maintain a humility about my ability to idolize false things, just like everyone who has ever lived.

Collective human history is a mixture of creative achievement and devastating atrocity. There’s much to celebrate, but still more to be sober-minded and humble about.

Take time to humbly ask the LORD about your idolatrous tendencies. His relentless pursuit of our sanctification is proof that He is Who He says He is, and He is worthy of all our praise.

-Bethany

Ezekiel 5-6 B

I wonder how often these chapters have been used in a fire-and-brimstone-style sermon.

On one hand, I think we can slip into a works-based relationship with the Lord. A lot of shame can stem from that, and that’s definitely not what he wants from his people.

But on the other hand, it’s easy to underestimate his wrath. Either way, we are in no position to apply the specific things God is saying to Israel to our own lives/culture/relationship. (God is not threatening you, the reader in 2020, to

But the general concept? We all need to pay attention and apply.

I once heard someone describe God’s anger as a slow-burning wick and it really helped things click for me. He’s not a time bomb. He won’t snap and obliterate us all when he runs out of patience. He is long-suffering. He loves us unconditionally. But there are consequences to our unrepented and repeated sin patterns.

Where do you fall on the spectrum of shame-based performance and intentional rebellion in your relationship with God? I’m more on the earn-my-love side of things. Either side of the spectrum, we are getting it wrong. He doesn’t want to scare you into obedience. And he doesn’t want you to disregard him either. Finding the balance is hard, but becomes more clear when I double down on reading his Word consistently.

-Carly

Ezekiel 3-4 B

These chapters are full of weird asks. Role play a small scale model siege of Jerusalem? Lay on your side for 430 days? Eat bread cooked over poop? This won’t be the last strange thing the LORD requires of Ezekiel.

There have been many times throughout my life where I’ve wished that the LORD could have let things happen for me the way it happens for normal people. Why not have me walk a typical, understandable, well trodden path?

In hindsight, I’m very thankful for my life and the strange twists and turns it’s entailed, but I’m sure Ezekiel spent much of his life wondering why he had to be so weird.

An old friend of mine once responded to a self sacrificing life choice by saying, “if Ezekiel can lay on his side for 430 days, I can do this.” Well okay!

What’s something you’ve found in your life from the hand of God that seems strange or maybe even unfair? How did you respond to Him under that circumstance?

I think it’s important to not look over your shoulder at someone else’s life, or make any such comparisons along this path we walk before the LORD. He is our Creator and He gets to do what He wants with us.

What does that look like for you?

-Bethany

Ezekiel 1-2 B

Admittedly, I don’t love hearing about other people’s dreams. It can be hard to follow and ultimately it doesn’t really matter because it didn’t happen. But a prophetic dream? Time to listen up!

“You must give them my messages whether they listen or not. But they won’t listen, for they are completely rebellious!” 2:7

I love how intricately God knows his people, yet how unconditionally he loves them despite it.

Do you find yourself predicting someone’s behavior? Does it prevent you from loving them well?

It is a gift to be known by someone and completely loved by them. Take a minute and reflect on this part of your relationship with the Lord.

-Carly