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Aug 24-30-08 Ezekiel 1-13


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Our little Church is using a Chronological Bible Reading Schedule by Skip Andrews. It can be found here:
Each Sunday a lesson is given from some of that week's reading. This lesson covers Aug 24-30

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Aug 24-30-08 Ezekiel 1-13

  1. 1. Ezekiel 1-13 <ul><li>This week’s lesson, </li></ul><ul><li>A Brief Overview of Ezekiel 1-13 </li></ul><ul><li>is taken from, </li></ul><ul><li>The Word In Life TM Study Bible </li></ul><ul><li>and </li></ul><ul><li>Max Lucado’s Devotional Bible </li></ul>
  2. 2. Is Your Life Discouraging <ul><li>Ezekiel, a priest who had favor in God's eyes, suffered because of the sin of the whole nation. In exile, he preached to fellow Jewish captives. </li></ul><ul><li>God ordains our position so that we can show God's love to those around us. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Is Your Life Discouraging <ul><li>What we want is relief. We want our problem or heartache to just go away. And yet the biblical message of rest is that your relief may come from the power you gain when you accept your suffering. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Is Your Life Discouraging <ul><li>Your relief may come from the strength you develop from serving in spite of it. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember, Jesus said, &quot;Take My yoke (suffering) upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest for your souls.&quot; </li></ul>
  5. 5. Is Your Life Discouraging <ul><li>If you are bewildered, badgered, broken, or battered as you try to make your way along the freeways of life, take a rest. You'll find a quiet calm awaiting you when you accept what you cannot change, and serve the very people who contribute to your pain. </li></ul><ul><li>(From Little House on the Freeway by Tim Kimmel) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Is Your Life Discouraging <ul><li>Is your life discouraging? Is the difficulty unavoidable? God has placed you where you can help others. Encourage others who have the same illness you have. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Is Your Life Discouraging <ul><li>Share Christ with those who have also experienced the loss of a loved one. Get to know others who are recovering from a problem you have faced and share with them what has helped you. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Impending Judgment <ul><li>Before the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., God told Ezekiel about the impending judgment. </li></ul><ul><li>Israel’s idolatry needed to be judged. God will not tolerate anything that displaces him in our lives. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Impending Judgment <ul><li>What is idolatry? Idolatry is anything that comes between us and God. Joshua told his people that their nation would be destroyed if they persisted in idolatry, and their souls would suffer eternal death. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Impending Judgment <ul><li>He said, &quot;You must make your decision today. You must decide whether you want to serve the idols of this life, or the living God.&quot; Joshua 24:15e NET But I and my family will worship the Lord!&quot; </li></ul>
  11. 11. Impending Judgment <ul><li>What about you? Are you taking your stand with Joshua? No matter what the cost? I am asking you to choose this day whom you will serve </li></ul>
  12. 12. Impending Judgment <ul><li>Our families cannot choose Christ for us. Our friends cannot do it. God is a great God, but even God can't make the decision for us. He can help, but only we can decide. We have to make our own choice. </li></ul><ul><li>(From Day by Day with Billy Graham </li></ul><ul><li>by Joan W, Brown) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Impending Judgment <ul><li>We don't see many people worshiping idols today. However, we do see career, cars, money, and pleasure crowding God out of people's lives. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Impending Judgment <ul><li>No one is immune from such temptation. Be aware of selfish desires for material wealth or social status. Have only one concern: a right relationship with God. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Then You Will Know: I Am The Lord <ul><li>Ezekiel 6:7 NET The slain will fall among you and then you will know that I am the Lord. Ezekiel was sent to the Hebrew captives in Babylon. Despite the fact that the Babylonians had invaded Judah twice, fulfilling the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah, </li></ul>
  16. 16. Then You Will Know: I Am The Lord <ul><li>the exiles still did not understand why God had allowed these events to happen, nor why they had been deported to Babylon. They still had not grasped the fact that their nation's troubles were the result of their idolatry and other sins against the Lord. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Then You Will Know: I Am The Lord <ul><li>God used Ezekiel to make this truth clear. Time after time, over a period of at least 20 years, the prophet spelled out the people's sins and warned them of the certainty of God's wrath. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Then You Will Know: I Am The Lord <ul><li>Nevertheless, the people remained willfully blind to their condition. </li></ul><ul><li>This hardness of heart helps to explain why the phrase, &quot;You [or they] shall know that I am the LORD,&quot; is repeated some 60 or 70 times in the book. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Then You Will Know: I Am The Lord <ul><li>Quite often, these declarations can be found in the middle of a promise of God's wrath: </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;The slain shall fall&quot; ( 6:7 ); </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;I would bring this calamity&quot; ( 6:10 ); &quot;thus will I spend My fury&quot; (6:12 ); &quot;I will. . . make the land desolate&quot; ( 6:14 ). </li></ul>
  20. 20. Then You Will Know: I Am The Lord <ul><li>We will either know the Lord in His grace and mercy, or in His wrath and fury. The choice is ours. But regardless of our response, God makes it clear that &quot;You shall know that I am the LORD.&quot; God is determined to be heard. He is the Lord—and sooner or later, we will know that He is. </li></ul>
  21. 21. God Hates Idolatry <ul><li>God spoke through his servant Ezekiel. He showed the Israelites the reason for their exile. </li></ul><ul><li>God hates idolatry. He hates anything that gets in the way of a relationship with him. And self-centeredness, at its root, is idolatry. </li></ul>
  22. 22. God Hates Idolatry <ul><li>The self-centered see everything through self. Their motto? &quot;It's all about me!&quot; The flight schedule. The traffic. The dress styles. The worship styles. The weather, the work, whether or not one works— everything is filtered through the mini-me in the eye, Selfishness. </li></ul>
  23. 23. God Hates Idolatry <ul><li>Such a condition can be fatal. </li></ul><ul><li>Listen to the words of James. </li></ul><ul><li>James 3:16 NET For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice. </li></ul>
  24. 24. God Hates Idolatry <ul><li>Need proof? </li></ul><ul><li>Let's examine one newspaper, today's edition. How many examples of selfishness will we find in the first few pages? </li></ul>
  25. 25. God Hates Idolatry <ul><li>1. A teenage girl died in a car wreck. Her boyfriend was challenged to a race on a city street. He took the dare and wrapped the car around a telephone pole. </li></ul>
  26. 26. God Hates Idolatry <ul><li>2. The largest petroleum company in the world has filed for bankruptcy. Executives allegedly knew the ship had leaks but told no one until they had time to make huge profits. </li></ul>
  27. 27. God Hates Idolatry <ul><li>3. A prominent citizen is put in jail for child pornography. </li></ul><ul><li>Selfishness is to society what the Exxon Valdez was to scallops and sea otters—deadly. </li></ul>
  28. 28. God Hates Idolatry <ul><li>Is it any wonder that Paul writes: &quot;Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others&quot; ( Philippians 2:3-4 , NASB). </li></ul>
  29. 29. God Hates Idolatry <ul><li>At first glance the standard in the passage seems impossible to meet. Nothing? We shouldn't do anything for ourselves? No new dress or suit. What about going to school or saving money—couldn't all of these things be considered selfish? </li></ul>
  30. 30. God Hates Idolatry <ul><li>They could, unless we are careful to understand what Paul is saying. The word the apostle uses for selfishness shares a root form with the words strife and contentious. It suggests a self-preoccupation that hurts others. </li></ul>
  31. 31. God Hates Idolatry <ul><li>A divisive arrogance. In fact, first-century writers used the word to describe a politician who procured office by illegal manipulation or a harlot who seduced the client, demeaning both herself and him. Selfishness is an obsession with self that excludes others, hurting everyone. </li></ul>
  32. 32. God Hates Idolatry <ul><li>Looking after your personal interests is proper life management. Doing so to the exclusion of the rest of the world is selfishness, </li></ul><ul><li>(From A Love Worth Giving by Max Lucado) </li></ul>
  33. 33. God Hates Idolatry <ul><li>Idols come in attractive packages today. You can identify them when they keep you from worship, consume your tithe, or become what you are most proud of. What can you do? Take time to evaluate what may be idols in your life. Pray that God will help you remove them from your life. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Mercy To The Repentant <ul><li>Ezekiel 9:4 NET The Lord said to him, &quot;Go through the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who moan and groan over all the abominations practiced in it.&quot; </li></ul>
  35. 35. Mercy To The Repentant <ul><li>God’s forgiveness has always required repentance on the part of sinners. It did in ancient times; it still does today. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Mercy To The Repentant <ul><li>In Ezekiel's vision of Jerusalem, the Lord commanded angelic executioners to place a special mark on the foreheads of those who were moved to repentance over the &quot;abominations&quot; being committed in the city. </li></ul>
  37. 37. Mercy To The Repentant <ul><li>The rest were to be slain ( Ezek. 9:4-7 ). The justification for this slaughter was that the sins of the wicked—bloodshed and perversity (idolatry)—were &quot;exceedingly great&quot; ( 9:9 ). By contrast, citizens who demonstrated a deep concern for holiness were shown mercy. </li></ul>
  38. 38. Mercy To The Repentant <ul><li>This vision recalls a similar judgment in Egypt, in which the Lord killed the firstborn children of the Egyptians, but spared the Hebrew households that had marked their doorposts with blood. </li></ul>
  39. 39. Mercy To The Repentant <ul><li>In both cases, God marked out those to whom He would show mercy on the basis of their heart attitude toward Him. </li></ul><ul><li>It is interesting to note that the &quot;mark&quot; referred to by Ezekiel is the Hebrew letter taw, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. </li></ul>
  40. 40. Mercy To The Repentant <ul><li>Today, taw is the equivalent of &quot;T,&quot; but in Jeremiah's day it was written like an &quot;X&quot; and was often used as a signature ( Job 31:35 ). Early Christians pointed out the similarity between Ezekiel's &quot;mark&quot; and the sign of the Cross. Both indicated God's mercy and redemption of sinners. </li></ul>
  41. 41. Mercy To The Repentant <ul><li>The judgment foreseen in Ezekiel's vision applies to people today. It demonstrates that God shows mercy, but He always looks for repentance. </li></ul>
  42. 42. Mercy To The Repentant <ul><li>Those who resist Him and remain committed to sin can expect His wrath. But those who &quot;sigh and cry&quot; over their own sins and the sins of others will know His comfort and forgiveness. (Word in Life Study Bible) </li></ul>
  43. 43. Mercy To The Repentant <ul><li>compare </li></ul><ul><li>James 4:8 NET Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and make your hearts pure, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn, and weep. Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into despair. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you. </li></ul>
  44. 44. The Ultimate Tragedy <ul><li>Ezekiel 10:18 NET Then the glory of the Lord moved away from the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. 19 The cherubim lifted up their wings, and as I watched they rose up from the earth and the wheels went out alongside them. </li></ul>
  45. 45. The Ultimate Tragedy <ul><li>They stopped at the entrance to the east gate of the Lord's temple as the glory of the God of Israel hovered above them. </li></ul>
  46. 46. The Ultimate Tragedy <ul><li>Readers of Ezekiel 10 are likely to focus on the spectacular vision of the cherubim and the wheels within wheels. But the real story in this passage is the Lord's departure from His temple at Jerusalem. </li></ul>
  47. 47. The Ultimate Tragedy <ul><li>Given the history and significance of the temple, nothing could be more tragic for Judah. </li></ul><ul><li>The temple was designed by David and built by Solomon to be the &quot;house of the LORD.” </li></ul><ul><li>( 2 Chr. 5:1 ) </li></ul>
  48. 48. The Ultimate Tragedy <ul><li>When it was completed, God blessed the magnificent structure by filling it with His glory and presence ( 5:14 ). From then on, the temple was regarded as a hallowed symbol that stood for God ( 6:20 ). </li></ul>
  49. 49. The Ultimate Tragedy <ul><li>Yet now Ezekiel saw God departing from the temple. There is little wonder why. The people had turned the &quot;house of the LORD&quot; into a house of idolatrous abominations. </li></ul>
  50. 50. The Ultimate Tragedy <ul><li>As a result. God decided to leave His temple and go &quot;far away&quot; from His people ( Ezekiel 8:5-17 ; compare 11:23 ). Clearly, the end of Judah was at hand. </li></ul>
  51. 51. The Ultimate Tragedy <ul><li>Can there be a greater tragedy—to enjoy the Lord's presence, only to have it withdrawn because of a willful, long-term commitment to sin and rebellion? </li></ul>
  52. 52. The Ultimate Tragedy <ul><li>If that is the picture of your life. then Ezekiel's vision should serve as a warning and an appeal to repentance. Nothing could be worse than to drive God away when He longs to bless you with His presence ( Heb. 6:4-12 ). </li></ul>
  53. 53. The Ultimate Tragedy <ul><li>Even though God departed from the temple, He did not completely abandon His people. He scattered them throughout the world, but also assured those who feared Him that He would be a &quot;little sanctuary&quot; for them </li></ul><ul><li>wherever they went. </li></ul>
  54. 54. How Will You Know Him? <ul><li>We will either know the Lord in His grace and mercy, or in His wrath and fury. The choice is ours. But regardless of our response, God makes it clear that &quot;You shall know that I am the LORD.&quot; God is determined to be heard. He is the Lord—and sooner or later, we will know that He is. </li></ul>