Wednesday 8 October 2014

"COME AND HEAR WHAT THE WORD IS..." Bible Readings Thoughts for Oct. 7th


            We have a conscience challenging chapter (33) in Ezekiel today.  We learn that the prophet has been in captivity among the other Jews for 12 years and 10 months when the hopes of those there are finally extinguished, by news coming from “a fugitive from Jerusalem (who) came “and said, ‘The city has been struck down.’” [v.21] 
           The LORD then makes Ezekiel aware of the reaction of the people to the messages he has been giving them, “…  your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, 'Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.'   And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain.    And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it.”[v.30-32]
Clearly the LORD knew all their hearts, as he does now – and we can see strong comparisons – and warnings for ourselves.  Are our “hearts set” more on this world and the “gain” we can get?  It does not necessarily mean money!  But we must each ask ourselves – examine our hearts – what are the things that fill our time – what things mainly occupy our minds.  How much do we have in mind the words of our Lord, “do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." [Matt 6 v.31-33]  What wondrous things will then be added in the kingdom!
Is there any point in witnessing today?  Ezekiel may have thought that!  After being told by the Lord, “I will make … her proud might … come to an end” the Lord then makes a significant point to him, “Then they will know that a prophet has been among them.” [v.28,33]  What will they “know” of you and I? A significant point for us to bear in mind are the powerful words of Paul we read today as he brought his letter to the Ephesians to a climax, “… take up the whole armour of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm … praying at all times”  [6 v.13] Let us read and hear what God’s word reveals - with our hearts absorbing its message so that we gain essential strength and so “stand firm” in these final godless days. 

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