God’s Love – Heavenly Minded

“I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 20:37-38 NKJV

How is everyone doing? Are we remembering to breathe because God is still bigger and in control?  As we see in these verses, (which at first seems heavy) God’s love and merciful plan is in motion. We may not be waiting to return to Israel like the people Ezekiel was preaching to, but we are in an exile, of a sort, waiting to be miraculously taken home to the Jerusalem in the heaven.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Ezekiel, chapters 20-21 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).

So as we read – are we looking up these symbols?  The other day, the metaphor of the tree… did you look it up? The symbolic connection to the tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. AND the symbolic connection to the tree Jesus hung on to save us.  And the rod of Moses and the rod of Aaron and the burning bush and the trees in the book of judges and Jesus is the tree of life and we are to be engrafted in…. all the trees and branches, and vines throughout the Bible.  A very significant symbol in our belief. 
Jerusalem and the temple are also symbols. Jerusalem is a symbol of the Garden of Eden and of the safe place where God and mankind can commune face to face. The temple is the holiest place inside Jerusalem, and Jesus compared Himself to the temple saying tear it down and he will rebuild it in 3 days – but we are also the temple, the sacred place that should be inside Jerusalem.  So until Jerusalem is returned from heaven, our goal is to take our temples to heaven.

Yes – the symbolism in the book of Ezekiel is dark and heavy at first glance. But once we start to understand the symbols we understand the opening verse is about God preparing his church for heaven.  Store up treasures in heaven, which come from obedience to God. Like we read earlier this week and get saved and hope to God that faith in that salvation prayer is enough. We all know that Bible says not to persist in sin – will we chance it? Will we continue in sin and hope our eternity is secure? Seems a big risk for temporary pleasures of this earth.  Break from sin – repent.  (Not just those struggling with big sins – but even those who have hidden small compromises.)

Chapter 20 is all about Israel’s sin problem according to the passage titles. But as we examine it while we read – we learn it is actually all about hope and restoration. It is all about salvation! It is all about my own testimony as well!

“Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I raised My hand in an oath to give to your fathers. And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel,” says the Lord God.’ ” Ezekiel 20:42-44

I was sinning and self-destructing (as sin leads us to do) and one day God just changed everything. He took me to an internal face to face with His promises to me and His call and His hope of salvation.  There I remembered my ways, in a new light – instead of looking at my ways in darkness. With seeing myself in the light, I realized all the ways I was defiled, and loathed myself because of the evils that I committed.  Not a conviction in a contemporary understanding – the acknowledgement and honesty alone was transformational. A conviction unto righteousness – a conviction that included a surrender and repentance without all the steps broken out like we do daily in the salvation prayer. At that moment I said – If you are who you say you are, I will follow you completely.  In that moment I understood and knew who God is. It is part of that moment as we saw in verse 44.
The Lord dealt with me for His Name’s sake – His name? God is LOVE. I was dealt with in love through mercy and grace. He did not punish me according to my sins – I would be dead and burning in hell.

Judgment is coming – we have been praying for the evil rulers of this world be dealt with. We have been praying we can live a peaceable life as the word tells us to pray. Therefore God must be just. This will purge all of us – sinner and saint. All of us.  Get humble and repentant. Because it is how we come face to face with understanding the depths of who God is (like we saw in verse 44). It is how the evil is weeded out of each of us – can evil people be in heaven? If we harbor evil will we make it into heaven? We need to surrender all and work out our salvation…

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;” Philippians 2:12

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  I was told that I often use fear tactics when I speak or write… I am not trying to scare you, but instead to prepare you. But there is a healthy amount of fear of the Lord and trembling in his Holy presence, in the secret place, in the pray closet, that is required to work out your salvation. I speak truth. I forbid the evil spirit of fear, in the name of Jesus. Take the raw truth and lay exposed in front of your maker – show him all the ways in which you have altered and corrupted His masterpiece. And tell me you do not fear with a Holy purifying fear. There is a spirit of fear that is evil and corrupts these truths and tells you to flee from them word of God. But Jesus is the WORD, Jesus is God, God is LOVE – run towards it!!! And you will feel the reverent fear that Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and Isaiah spoke of. If you haven’t yet – press in deeper with God. God will love you through it and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. You can have a deep and meaningful relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If the old prophets could, if the disciples could, if Paul, who never met Jesus could have this sort of real, holy and amazing relationship with God – then so can you and I!!! They were just people who put the work into the relationship. 

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: New Month! New Memory Verse Challenge!! Here is another great verse to pick up an swing when you need a sword in your hand!

1 John 4:4

NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Ezekiel 20-21 NKJV

The Rebellions of Israel

20 It came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord, and sat before me. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Have you come to inquire of Me? As I live,” says the Lord God, “I will not be inquired of by you.” ’ Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? Then make known to them the abominations of their fathers.

“Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On the day when I chose Israel and raised My hand in an oath to the descendants of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I raised My hand in an oath to them, saying, ‘I am the Lord your God.’ On that day I raised My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands. Then I said to them, ‘Each of you, throw away the abominations which are before his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’ But they rebelled against Me and would not [a]obey Me. They did not all cast away the abominations which were before their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said, ‘I will pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.’ But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles among whom they were, in whose sight I had made Myself known to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt.

10 “Therefore I made them go out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 And I gave them My statutes and [b]showed them My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them.’ 12 Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. 13 Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them’; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them. 14 But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out. 15 So I also raised My hand in an oath to them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands, 16 because they despised My judgments and did not walk in My statutes, but profaned My Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols. 17 Nevertheless My eye spared them from destruction. I did not make an end of them in the wilderness.

18 “But I said to their children in the wilderness, ‘Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols. 19 am the Lord your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; 20 hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.’

21 “Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, and were not careful to observe My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them’; but they profaned My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the wilderness. 22 Nevertheless I [c]withdrew My hand and acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out. 23 Also I raised My hand in an oath to those in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the Gentiles and disperse them throughout the countries, 24 because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes, profaned My Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers’ idols.

25 “Therefore I also gave them up to statutes that were not good, and judgments by which they could not live; 26 and I pronounced them unclean because of their ritual gifts, in that they caused all [d]their firstborn to pass through the fire, that I might make them desolate and that they might know that I am the Lord.” ’

27 “Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “In this too your fathers have blasphemed Me, by being unfaithful to Me. 28 When I brought them into the land concerning which I had raised My hand in an oath to give them, and they saw all the high hills and all the thick trees, there they offered their sacrifices and provoked Me with their offerings. There they also sent up their sweet aroma and poured out their drink offerings. 29 Then I said to them, ‘What is this [e]high place to which you go?’ So its name is called [f]Bamah to this day.” ’ 30 Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Are you defiling yourselves in the manner of your fathers, and committing harlotry according to their abominations? 31 For when you offer your gifts and make your sons pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols, even to this day. So shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live,” says the Lord God, “I will not be inquired of by you. 32 What you have in your mind shall never be, when you say, ‘We will be like the Gentiles, like the families in other countries, serving wood and stone.’

God Will Restore Israel

33 As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. 34 I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. 36 Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,” says the Lord God.

37 “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38 I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

39 “As for you, O house of Israel,” thus says the Lord God: “Go, serve every one of you his idols—and hereafter—if you will not obey Me; but profane My holy name no more with your gifts and your idols. 40 For on My holy mountain, on the mountain height of Israel,” says the Lord God, “there all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, shall serve Me; there I will accept them, and there I will require your offerings and the firstfruits of your [g]sacrifices, together with all your holy things. 41 I will accept you as a sweet aroma when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will be hallowed in you before the Gentiles. 42 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I raised My hand in an oath to give to your fathers. 43 And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall [h]loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed. 44 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel,” says the Lord God.’ ”

Fire in the Forest

45 Furthermore the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 46 “Son of man, set your face toward the south; [i]preach against the south and prophesy against the forest land, the [j]South, 47 and say to the forest of the South, ‘Hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree and every dry tree in you; the blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be scorched by it. 48 All flesh shall see that I, the Lord, have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.” ’ ”

49 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! They say of me, ‘Does he not speak parables?’ ”

Babylon, the Sword of God

21 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, preach[k] against the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel; and say to the land of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am against you, and I will draw My sword out of its sheath and cut off both righteous and wicked from you. Because I will cut off both righteous and wicked from you, therefore My sword shall go out of its sheath against all flesh from south to north, that all flesh may know that I, the Lord, have drawn My sword out of its sheath; it shall not return anymore.” ’ Sigh therefore, son of man, with [l]a breaking heart, and sigh with bitterness before their eyes. And it shall be when they say to you, ‘Why are you sighing?’ that you shall answer, ‘Because of the news; when it comes, every heart will melt, all hands will be feeble, every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it is coming and shall be brought to pass,’ says the Lord God.”

Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ Say:

‘A sword, a sword is sharpened
And also polished!
10 Sharpened to make a dreadful slaughter,
Polished to flash like lightning!
Should we then make mirth?
It despises the scepter of My son,
As it does all wood.
11 And He has given it to be polished,
That it may be handled;
This sword is sharpened, and it is polished
To be given into the hand of the slayer.’

12 “Cry and wail, son of man;
For it will be against My people,
Against all the princes of Israel.
Terrors including the sword will be against My people;
Therefore strike your thigh.

13 “Because it is a testing,
And what if the sword despises even the scepter?
The scepter shall be no more,

says the Lord God.

14 “You therefore, son of man, prophesy,
And strike your hands together.
The third time let the sword do double damage.
It is the sword that slays,
The sword that slays the great men,
That enters their private chambers.
15 I have set the point of the sword against all their gates,
That the heart may melt and many may stumble.
Ah! It is made bright;
It is grasped for slaughter:

16 “Swords[m] at the ready!
Thrust right!
Set your blade!
Thrust left—
Wherever your [n]edge is ordered!

17 “I also will beat My fists together,
And I will cause My fury to rest;
I, the Lord, have spoken.”

18 The word of the Lord came to me again, saying: 19 “And son of man, appoint for yourself two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to go; both of them shall go from the same land. Make a sign; put it at the head of the road to the city. 20 Appoint a road for the sword to go to Rabbah of the Ammonites, and to Judah, into fortified Jerusalem. 21 For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the road, at the fork of the two roads, to use divination: he shakes the arrows, he consults the [o]images, he looks at the liver. 22 In his right hand is the divination for Jerusalem: to set up battering rams, to call for a slaughter, to lift the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to heap up a siege mound, and to build a wall. 23 And it will be to them like a false divination in the eyes of those who have sworn oaths with them; but he will bring their iniquity to remembrance, that they may be taken.

24 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your doings your sins appear—because you have come to remembrance, you shall be taken in hand.

25 ‘Now to you, O profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose iniquity shall end, 26 thus says the Lord God:

“Remove the turban, and take off the crown;
Nothing shall remain the same.
Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted.
27 [p]Overthrown, overthrown,
I will make it overthrown!
It shall be no longer,
Until He comes whose right it is,
And I will give it to Him.” ’

A Sword Against the Ammonites

28 “And you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God concerning the Ammonites and concerning their reproach,’ and say:

‘A sword, a sword is drawn,
Polished for slaughter,
For consuming, for flashing—
29 While they see false visions for you,
While they divine a lie to you,
To bring you on the necks of the wicked, the slain
Whose day has come,
Whose iniquity shall end.

30 ‘Return it to its sheath.
I will judge you
In the place where you were created,
In the land of your [q]nativity.
31 I will pour out My indignation on you;
I will blow against you with the fire of My wrath,
And deliver you into the hands of brutal men who are skillful to destroy.
32 You shall be fuel for the fire;
Your blood shall be in the midst of the land.
You shall not be remembered,
For I the Lord have spoken.’ ”

Footnotes

  1. Ezekiel 20:8 Lit. listen to
  2. Ezekiel 20:11 Lit. made known to
  3. Ezekiel 20:22 Refrained from judgment
  4. Ezekiel 20:26 Lit. that open the womb
  5. Ezekiel 20:29 Place for pagan worship
  6. Ezekiel 20:29 Lit. High Place
  7. Ezekiel 20:40 offerings
  8. Ezekiel 20:43 Or despise
  9. Ezekiel 20:46 proclaim, lit. drop
  10. Ezekiel 20:46 Heb. Negev
  11. Ezekiel 21:2 proclaim, lit. drop
  12. Ezekiel 21:6 Emotional distress, lit. the breaking of your loins
  13. Ezekiel 21:16 Lit. Sharpen yourself! or Unite yourself!
  14. Ezekiel 21:16 Lit. face
  15. Ezekiel 21:21 Heb. teraphim
  16. Ezekiel 21:27 Or Distortion, Ruin
  17. Ezekiel 21:30 Or origin

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