Shana Tova U’Metuka!

Have a good and sweet year. At sun set tonight, the Lord says He declares the feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah.  He tells us to call for a solemn assembly, blow the trumpets, and humble yourself. This is the end of one year and the beginning of another and it is the same in our lives – one season ends and another begins.  It is God’s ordained timing – It is HIS holiday.

And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first day of the month, that the word of the Lord came to me, saying…” Ezekiel 32:1 NKJV
Our reading today is placed 28 days and 2700ish years ago – give or take.  Ezekiel is receiving this word one month before new year’s day.  God found it important enough to note the timeline – so I find it interesting how close it is to our timeline – a few short 28 days off, give or take. The calendar is an interesting thing.

The modern Christian calendar set time as revolving around the birth of Christ (the history of the calendar is really very interesting so I will try not to get side-tracked).  And as sweet of a sentiment it is – it is a variation to the Roman calendar, which is based on idols and pagan gods as well as sorcery and the planets in the sky. This modern calendar did not only change which month the new year began in – it also changed the way it is commemorated. The year no longer begins with humility, repentance – getting our house in order and our life right with God; and remembering the Garden of Eden and how we were made to commune face to face with God but our sin and pride separated us. We need to start with addressing sin and pride to have a blessed year.  But instead the modern new year celebration is a drunken debauchery! And if you do any soul searching and attempt to change from your old ways with a “new year equals new me” declaration, then you become mocked by others. Even modern psychology suggests that new year’s resolutions are damaging to your psyche. Because you set yourself up for failure and give your self a means to measure that failure. (Insert face-palm)

God said to repent and turn from our wicked ways – but we cannot do it without His grace transforming us and without humility and true repentance. How can He heal us if we do not repent and get humble? Anyway…

God was the only one there when the world was created – and if HE says it began on this date, then I cannot disagree (I wasn’t there).  If He says to ring in the new year with a solemn assembly, repentance and humility, and a feast of sweet treats, then I cannot argue.  This is NOT a Jewish holiday – it is the Lord’s holiday. He said so. 

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 32-34 (embedded below the image below for your convenience). Today’s reading the Lord declares His judgements on Pharaoh and Egypt – I love how God’s tender love always shows through as it is written in a lament style. God laments what has to be done. 

Chapter 33 warns us to be watchmen – read and understand and cross reference Jesus in the garden the night before He died saying watch and pray! With this warning to be watchmen is His loving reminder that He is just – He is fair.  Here come the judgments of the Lord on the wickedness of our time – and on any evil still within us. 
So – let’s discuss this again – it bears further explanation.  We have been deeply asleep. We are only just startled awake and do not have all our bearing yet. Do you know that feeling? Spiritually the majority of the modern world is deeply asleep – and then there are a few of us shaking it off. I know many people who have been “saved” for 50 plus years… and even they are waking up right now.  So keep in mind that we aren’t awake enough to understand everything like we want to. Every time I type the words: humble ourselves and repent – I honestly think: well, God I have done that and honestly practice searching myself with God every day.  But I get a check in my spirit when I think that! I still have so much God needs to work on and I need to repent from not seeing it within myself – and it is a daily thing as long as we are on this earth. God transforms us slowly. Some faster than other, some slower than others – but it is not an insta-transformation and then it is done and we no longer need to work on ourselves or work on humility. (The Bible says humble “yourself” – it is something we are to work on.)
So be watchmen – watch and pray – watch for this holy judgment – watch by being prepared so we have already been washed and marked by Jesus’s blood.

Then in verse 21 – the judgement comes and Jerusalem falls: historically, symbolically, and in every manner of speaking.  Talk about a “new year – new me” transformation – it became destroyed.

30 “As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ 31 So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. 32 Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. 33 And when this comes to pass—surely it will come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.” Ezekiel 33:30-33

Oh Lord, this sounds like today’s world. Everyone seeking the anointed preachers – seeking to hear from God through someone else – seeking an experience with God through someone else…. Because they do not want to be doers of the word – just hearers of the word!

The next chapter is a firm warning to false prophets and teachers how shepherd flocks. This chapter needs its own 2 hour sermon! So much good stuff for today’s world. 

But for you – I will just highlight and pull out a little bit and let you read it and talk with God about it.  Be hungry for God – it is good to be zealously hungry. It is good to study and dig in. It is good to seek good teachings.  But. Go to the same table for your meals and make sure they are serving meat.  Make sure the shepherd resembles a Moses, a David, a Joshua, a Daniel, etc.  And doesn’t look like Jezebel or Nebuchadnezzar!  
With the internet there are people like me handing out juicy morsels – go ahead and get a treat. Make sure it is meat. Even with me, check – read it for yourself, study to show yourself approved.
But – do not chase every preacher – every excited person jumping up and downing declaring Jesus saves. Please be careful. There are more out there with a corrupted message than those with a pure word.  This is why I tell you to memorize the word – who it clean and uncorrupted – it is your weapon, do not let it get dull from watered down, muddy preaching.  Be careful what you put in your head.  Your brain can only be added to and you cannot take something out of it. You cannot remove a corrupted twisted lie from the devil – but you can correct it and learn the truth to straighten it back out!  Philippians 4:8 is so vital in this regard.

Ok, I carried on for longer than I usually do – I am full of fire shut up in my bones!

The new year greeting for tonight is actually a prayer – so let me pray for you to have a good and sweet year and for all of you reading these words: May the Lord, bless your coming year, keep you close and safe under His wing, may His face shine on you and overflow you with grace.  You are the head and not the tail; above only and not beneath; and in all your ways and endeavors you are greatly blessed, highly favored and deeply loved – you are blessed to be a blessing. In the name of Jesus – amen!

Draw close to God in your relationship through Christ Jesus in the coming year.

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: This month we have another great verse to pick up and 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!

I am aware this is not a scripture verse – I am prayerfully declaring a blessing upon you.

BIBLE READING: Ezekiel 32-34 NKJV

Lamentation for Pharaoh and Egypt

32 And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first day of the month, that the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say to him:

‘You are like a young lion among the nations,
And you are like a monster in the seas,
Bursting forth in your rivers,
Troubling the waters with your feet,
And fouling their rivers.

‘Thus says the Lord God:

“I will therefore spread My net over you with a company of many people,
And they will draw you up in My net.
Then I will leave you on the land;
I will cast you out on the open fields,
And cause to [a]settle on you all the birds of the heavens.
And with you I will fill the beasts of the whole earth.
I will lay your flesh on the mountains,
And fill the valleys with your carcass.

“I will also water the land with the flow of your blood,
Even to the mountains;
And the riverbeds will be full of you.
When I put out your light,
I will cover the heavens, and make its stars dark;
I will cover the sun with a cloud,
And the moon shall not give her light.
All the [b]bright lights of the heavens I will make dark over you,
And bring darkness upon your land,”
Says the Lord God.

‘I will also trouble the hearts of many peoples, when I bring your destruction among the nations, into the countries which you have not known. 10 Yes, I will make many peoples astonished at you, and their kings shall be horribly afraid of you when I brandish My sword before them; and they shall tremble every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of your fall.

11 ‘For thus says the Lord God: “The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon you. 12 By the swords of the mighty warriors, all of them the most terrible of the nations, I will cause your multitude to fall.

“They shall plunder the pomp of Egypt,
And all its multitude shall be destroyed.
13 Also I will destroy all its animals
From beside its great waters;
The foot of man shall muddy them no more,
Nor shall the hooves of animals muddy them.
14 Then I will make their waters [c]clear,
And make their rivers run like oil,”
Says the Lord God.

15 “When I make the land of Egypt desolate,
And the country is destitute of all that once filled it,
When I strike all who dwell in it,
Then they shall know that I am the Lord.

16 “This is the lamentation
With which they shall lament her;
The daughters of the nations shall lament her;
They shall lament for her, for Egypt,
And for all her multitude,”
Says the Lord God.’ ”

Egypt and Others Consigned to the Pit

17 It came to pass also in the twelfth year, on the fifteenth day of the month, that the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

18 “Son of man, wail over the multitude of Egypt,
And cast them down to the depths of the earth,
Her and the daughters of the famous nations,
With those who go down to the Pit:
19 ‘Whom do you surpass in beauty?
Go down, be placed with the uncircumcised.’

20 “They shall fall in the midst of those slain by the sword;
She is delivered to the sword,
Drawing her and all her multitudes.
21 The strong among the mighty
Shall speak to him out of the midst of hell
With those who help him:
‘They have gone down,
They lie with the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.’

22 “Assyria is there, and all her company,
With their graves all around her,
All of them slain, fallen by the sword.
23 Her graves are set in the recesses of the Pit,
And her company is all around her grave,
All of them slain, fallen by the sword,
Who caused terror in the land of the living.

24 “There is Elam and all her multitude,
All around her grave,
All of them slain, fallen by the sword,
Who have gone down uncircumcised to the lower parts of the earth,
Who caused their terror in the land of the living;
Now they bear their shame with those who go down to the Pit.
25 They have set her bed in the midst of the slain,
With all her multitude,
With her graves all around it,
All of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword;
Though their terror was caused
In the land of the living,
Yet they bear their shame
With those who go down to the Pit;
It was put in the midst of the slain.

26 “There are Meshech and Tubal and all their multitudes,
With all their graves around it,
All of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword,
Though they caused their terror in the land of the living.
27 They do not lie with the mighty
Who are fallen of the uncircumcised,
Who have gone down to hell with their weapons of war;
They have laid their swords under their heads,
But their iniquities will be on their bones,
Because of the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.
28 Yes, you shall be broken in the midst of the uncircumcised,
And lie with those slain by the sword.

29 “There is Edom,
Her kings and all her princes,
Who despite their might
Are laid beside those slain by the sword;
They shall lie with the uncircumcised,
And with those who go down to the Pit.
30 There are the princes of the north,
All of them, and all the Sidonians,
Who have gone down with the slain
In shame at the terror which they caused by their might;
They lie uncircumcised with those slain by the sword,
And bear their shame with those who go down to the Pit.

31 “Pharaoh will see them
And be comforted over all his multitude,
Pharaoh and all his army,
Slain by the sword,”
Says the Lord God.

32 “For I have caused My terror in the land of the living;
And he shall be placed in the midst of the uncircumcised
With those slain by the sword,
Pharaoh and all his multitude,”
Says the Lord God.

The Watchman and His Message

33 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will [d]save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’

“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have [e]delivered your soul.

10 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine[f] away in them, how can we then live?” ’ 11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’

The Fairness of God’s Judgment

12 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’ 13 When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die. 14 Again, when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does [g]what is lawful and [h]right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live.

17 “Yet the children of your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not [i]fair.’ But it is their way which is not fair! 18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die because of it. 19 But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is lawful and right, he shall live because of it. 20 Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not [j]fair.’ O house of Israel, I will judge every one of you according to his own ways.”

The Fall of Jerusalem

21 And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, that one who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has been [k]captured!”

22 Now the hand of the Lord had been upon me the evening before the man came who had escaped. And He had opened my mouth; so when he came to me in the morning, my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute.

The Cause of Judah’s Ruin

23 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 24 “Son of man, they who inhabit those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one, and he inherited the land. But we are many; the land has been given to us as a possession.’

25 “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “You eat meat with blood, you lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood. Should you then possess the land? 26 You rely on your sword, you commit abominations, and you defile one another’s wives. Should you then possess the land?” ’

27 “Say thus to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “As I live, surely those who are in the ruins shall fall by the sword, and the one who is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in the strongholds and caves shall die of the pestilence. 28 For I will make the land most desolate, [l]her arrogant strength shall cease, and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that no one will pass through. 29 Then they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.” ’

Hearing and Not Doing

30 “As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ 31 So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. 32 Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. 33 And when this comes to pass—surely it will come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

Irresponsible Shepherds

34 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and [m]cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.

‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! 10 Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”

God, the True Shepherd

11 ‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, [n]in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. 16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”

17 ‘And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats. 18 Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the [o]residue of your pasture—and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet? 19 And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet.”

20 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God to them: “Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. 21 Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, 22 therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.

25 “I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid. 29 I will raise up for them a garden[p] of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore. 30 Thus they shall know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord God.’

31 “You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord God.

Footnotes

  1. Ezekiel 32:4 Lit. sit or dwell
  2. Ezekiel 32:8 Or shining
  3. Ezekiel 32:14 Lit. sink; settle, grow clear
  4. Ezekiel 33:5 Or deliver his soul
  5. Ezekiel 33:9 Or saved your life
  6. Ezekiel 33:10 Or waste away
  7. Ezekiel 33:14 justice
  8. Ezekiel 33:14 righteousness
  9. Ezekiel 33:17 Or equitable
  10. Ezekiel 33:20 Or equitable
  11. Ezekiel 33:21 Lit. struck down
  12. Ezekiel 33:28 Lit. pride of her strength
  13. Ezekiel 34:4 harshness or rigor
  14. Ezekiel 34:13 Or by the streams
  15. Ezekiel 34:18 remainder
  16. Ezekiel 34:29 Lit. planting place

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