Today’s readings.. (2 Kings 21), (Ezekiel 11), (Luke 7)

The words of Ezekiel the prophet invite us to think about how God works; the unlimited power he has to know all that is happening; more than that, to know all that men and women are thinking!  And of course Jesus had the same ability; if you were not on the side of Jesus it must have been unnerving when you were forced to realize this, it was surely somewhat the experience of Simon the Pharisee in today’s reading of Luke 7 v.36-50.
In Ezekiel today (Ch.11) we read (v.5) how the spirit of the LORD fell on him and he is told to say “Thus says the LORD: So you think O house of Israel, for I know the things that come into your mind.”  (v.2 had told us they “devise iniquity” and “give wicked counsel”)  Again, (v.8) “You have feared the sword, and I will bring the sword upon you.”  God knows the things we devise in our minds – he looks to see if we are seeking his help to get rid of them.
Ezekiel becomes very distressed at the revelation of God’s impending horrific judgements on Israel and he falls on his face saying (v.13) “Ah Lord GOD! Will you make a full end of the remnant of Israel?”
God responds to that plea by saying three things.
The first stage is to be  [v.16] he will be “a sanctuary to them …, in the countries where they had gone.”  That seems to predict the synagogue system that started to develop in the Centuries that followed: it was in full operation by the time of Christ.  The synagogues were the first stop in the preaching of Paul and others, they went into the synagogues to spread the gospel message.
The Second stage, [v.17] looked into the distant future, although Ezekiel would not have realized this. “I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries;” – that was the situation during the 20th Century.
Third, [v.19] “I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them.”  When they see, and recognise Jesus as their Messiah this will happen.  But notice the warning in v.21  “But as for those whose heart goes after detestable things … I will bring their deeds upon their own heads.”   This will apply to both Jews and Gentiles. May we turn from the “detestable things” that surround us and have  a new heart and a new spirit as a result of our reading of God’s word and our regular fellowship with those who also do this.


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