Friday, July 14, 2017
Daily reading assignment – Ezekiel 25-30
The historical context of today’s reading finds both Israel and Judah in captivity after God’s people rebelled and turned away from His law and commandments. Having rejected the warnings of His prophets, the LORD judged those nations as He promised; however, He never forsook them. Ezekiel 25 reminds us God is jealous for His people.
After destroying Jerusalem and the Temple, Nebuchadnezzar’s army took the people of Judah captive to Babylon. Witnessing the calamity of God’s people, the heathen nations rejoiced in their sorrows and sufferings. The LORD, however, took no pleasure in judging Judah and despised the heathen’s joy in the sorrows of His people.
Through His prophet Ezekiel, God warned the Ammonites (25:1-7), Moabites (25:8-11), Edomites (25:12-14) and Philistines that His judgment of Judah should serve notice of His wrath against the nations that found pleasure in the sufferings and sorrows of Israel and Judah (25:15-17).
Ezekiel 26-30 continues the prophet’s warning to the nations that their pleasure in the sufferings and sorrows of Israel would be rewarded with their own judgment. Tyrus, the sea capital of Phoenicia would fall to Babylon (26:1-21; 27:1-36; 28:1-19). Zidon, a city north of Tyrus, would also suffer the calamity and destruction that was the fate of Tyrus and neighboring nations who reveled in the destruction of Jerusalem (28:20-24). Ezekiel 28 ends with the blessed promise God would gather His people from Babylonian exile and restore them to their land (28:25-26; 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1).
Egypt too would be judged for her sins against Israel and her treasures would be the reward of Nebuchadnezzar (Ezekiel 29:1-16) as Babylon served God’s purpose for bringing judgment against that nation (29:17-21) and her neighbors (30:1-26).
There is a lesson in today’s reading that nations of the 21st century would be wise to heed:
There are grave consequences for those people and nations that take joy in the sorrows and sufferings of the Jews and Christians.
The atrocities committed against the Jews in the Second World War and the virtual annihilation of those nations that perpetrated them (Nazi Germany and fascist Italy) stands as a testimony that God loves His own, even when His people turn from Him.
Many reading this brief devotional are unaware those nations and people occupied by the Soviet Union and overwhelmed by Communist oppression in the years that followed World War II were guilty of crimes against the Jews on a scale that is unfathomable. Eastern European nations that fell into the Soviet bloc of nations and suffered under communism were themselves guilty of murderous acts against the Jews and suffered their own sorrows until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
I close with illustrative verses of God’s love for Israel and a warning for all who harm His people.
Zechariah 1:14 – “…Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.”
Zechariah 2:8 – “…he that toucheth you [Israel] toucheth the apple [pupil] of His eye” [meaning the eye of the LORD].
Zechariah 8:2 – “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury.”
Warning: Mistreat God’s people and take pleasure in their sorrows and you will inevitably suffer the same, for God is a jealous God.
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith