Seeds of Promise Devotionals by Shenica Graham
Devotional: Answer the Call
Read The Bible In One Year
|SEP.||Book||Read From||Read To||Devotional|
|2nd||Ezekiel||Chapter 5||Chapter 9||Answer the Call|
Memory Verse: 4 And behold, there was the glory of the God of Israel [Who had loved and chosen them], like the vision I saw in the plain. (Ezekiel 8:4 (AMP))
In today’s reading, Ezekiel was commanded to shave the hair of his head and beard. As God is holy and Ezekiel upright before Him, the unjust will not stand in God’s presence and Ezekiel signified the presence of God. The shaving of Ezekiel’s hair symbolized a complete removal of the people from the presence of God. The hair was to be divided into three parts, representing the three-fold judgment of God, including that a third of the people would be devoured by famine and pestilence, a part by the sword, and a part would be scattered by the wind. Those “scattered” would be taken captive by other nations, and or driven from the land by fear, hence they would be fleeing for their lives and would run into other countries seeking refuge.
God was grieved by the idolatry of the people. He said in Ezekiel 6:9, “…I have been broken [hearted]…”
God testified to Ezekiel against the house of Judah (Ezekiel 8), whom He had loved and chosen to be His people. He had chosen them, but they had not chosen Him. You can imagine God’s heart growing more and more heavy as He carried Ezekiel about Jerusalem in the Spirit, showing greater and worse abominations being committed by His chosen people. Each time God seemed to utter shock saying to Ezekiel, “Can you believe what these people are doing? – after all I have done for them?”
17 Then [the Spirit] said to me, Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it too slight a thing to the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they commit here, that they must fill the land with violence and turn back afresh to provoke Me to anger? And behold, they put the branch to their nose [actually, before their mouths, in superstitious worship]! (Ezekiel 8:17 Amplified Bible (AMP)).
After all, it was not the land or any idol god that had sustained them, though they tilled the ground and ate the fruit thereof and offered sacrifices to false gods. The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness of it also belongs to Him. Therefore it grieved the heart of God that the people would rebel against His commandment to have no other god(s) before Him. The people did not appreciate God’s way, but held Him in reproach because God was not like a lamped genie, bowing to their every whim. They did not like to hear the words, “wait,” and (especially not) “no.” This is not an uncommon occurrence for the ungrateful heart. When the mind is not given to thankfulness, it becomes like the seed Jesus explained that was choked by weeds. Weeds do not need fertilizer to grow. They will come up on their own and take over the crop if the ground is left unattended. Therefore the expelling of weeds is something that takes effort. Such is the heart condition. Gratefulness is a state of being that must be cultivated, else it will cease to exist.
Though a remnant were to be saved of the people, those who had utterly rejected God would not escape His wrath without repentance. God told Ezekiel that some of the people would be left alive to bear in remembrance the judgment that was had on the rest for idolatry. These remaining were charged with reminding their descendants of the people’s calamity in order that they should avoid the same end.
Woe is for those who must be reminded who God is by suffering great loss. God repeated several times to the prophet Ezekiel that after the famine and pestilence and sword and scattering of the people, then they would surely know that He is God. God was getting their attention in a last-resort way. He had shown them kindness and they did not respond to Him with gratefulness. Rather, they melted their gold and made idols on which to lavish their affections. They also behaved lewdly before God. Still, when God said that He would utterly destroy them, He yet vowed to save a remnant of the people alive.
God works fervently to draw our hearts to Him. He does not want to destroy His glory – which is man that He created to praise Him. We have the ultimate choice, that we may choose life – which is to serve God in the beauty of holiness. If we cannot bring our hearts under subjection, to reverence our divine maker, we fail to put our treasure of life in the proper place – the hand of God. Without so doing, our very lives are in danger. Without the shadow of the Almighty in which to stand, we are exposed to the worldly elements driven by the prince of the air, who seeks whom he may devour. God desires a relationship with His people, and we desperately need Him to survive. The sooner we realize our void without Him, the sooner we can accept the fullness that only comes from His divine intervention.
Living without the presence of God is more dangerous than any threat anywhere. We understand by Ezekiel 9 that God is willing to restore the soul that realizes its disparity, that repents of its sin. Finally, when God sent forth six men holding battle axes and one man clothed in white linen, with (a pen mightier than a sword) a writer’s ink bottle, God commanded the the writer to mark the people who were grieved about the sin that had been committed. These people were saved from the final destruction of the axes (Ezekiel 9:4-5).
We should feel in our hearts that we cannot afford to worship anyone or anything other than the one true God. In your time of need, when all you can say is “God have mercy,” who do you want to answer your call?
Source: Matthew Henry’s Commentary