Ezekiel 16

Vs. 2, “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices.”  Here we are presented another allegory (story with a hidden meaning) just like our previous chapter.  We are presented a picture of a baby (vs. 4-6) and in this portrays God’s love for Israel.  As the baby grows up to a woman, the woman is beautiful and starts to turn to the world (vs. 15).  Israel is compared to wife who turns to adultery and prostitutes herself to others (vs. 32).  The sin plays out and the prostitute suffers severely for her wayward sins.  Yet, we see a husband (God) whose heart is broken, but still loves his wife and forgives her.  It’s really a very sad alleogry that must break the heart of God to see those He loves turn their hearts hard with pride and selfishness.

 

Regarding application…Remember Your Sins.  Vs. 61, “Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed…”  Seems like a strange encouragement.  But this is exactly what we need to do.  Too often, we get so busy with life we press forward with the tasks at hand, forgetting the things we need to repent of.  We think, “It’s all good!”  But little do we realize we are going down that slippery slope not realizing we are going downward.  Brothers & Sisters, I encourage you to travel deeper into your heart.  Be still today and ask the Lord help reveal to you what might be things that are keeping you from completely turning to Him.  He loves us so much, don’t ever forget that!

Ezekiel 14

Vs. 6, “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices.”  Not only were the people with Ezekiel earlier deported to Babylon because of their idolatry, they were now repeating their sins by setting up idols in Babylon too.  It may look good that they were coming to Ezekiel (vs. 1-5), but their inner heart had no intention to turn back.  As Ezekiel shared a prophecy of continued sin, they thought that God would save them because they saw Godly people in Babylon that were among the exiles.  However, this would not ensure the salvation of those who hardened their hearts.

 

Regarding application…Where’s Your Heart?  Vs. 5, “I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols.”  They had forgotten their first love.  They experienced the promises of God when they reigned with Him in the Promised land…and now they also were experiencing the judgement of God as they were exiled.  Sin seperates us from God.  Their sin seperated them from God and their homeland.  Often times, tough times make us bitter towards God.  Yet, for some people, tough times tug at their heart and they turn back to God.  Question: Which are You?  Where is your heart today?  Open your heart to God and let Him recapture your first love!

Matthew 25

Vs. 13, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”  Jesus continues the theme of reminding us how we should always be ready (vs. 1-13).  As you know, it’s been nearly two thousand years since Jesus would tell us to be ready.  Everday that goes by is reaching us closer to Jesus’ return.  The parable of the talents (vs. 14-30) is a exhortation to us to use wisely the talents (abilities) that God has given to us.  Each of us us have been richly blessed by God, so let’s not selfishly sit and do nothing.  And lastly, we come across the sheep and goats (vs. 31-46).  This is judgement day as Jesus gathers all nations to Him after the Tribulation and the 1000 year reign.  Of course, the sheep are the good and goats are the bad.

 

Regarding application…Reaching Out Your Hand.  Vs. 44, “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?”  Scholars believe that Jesus is referring to the Tribulation when those believing in Christ will need extra help because their faith is being persecuted.  Jesus is teaching us something beyond just this event though.  Jesus is reminding us we must be a Rahab to the spies and a Good Samaritan.  When we reacy out our hands to our neighbors we are powerfully showing our love to Jesus.  Especially to those Christians who are in dire need of help and compassion.  Question: Who can you extend God’s gracious love and help to today?