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Ezekiel 20:1-49

In the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth of the month, some of the elders of Israel came to seek the Lord, and they sat down in front of me. The word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and tell them: 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Why do you come seeking me? As surely as I live, I will not allow you to seek me, declares the Sovereign Lord.' (Ezekiel 20:1-3 NET.)

These three verses and a fourth, 13, have given me food for thought and causing me to ask questions about the intent of the entire chapter. Men come to Ezekiel to seek God, and God tells them he will not tell them anything, and then states His case against them: the sins of their fathers/ancestor are being held against them. We have read in a previous chapter, Eighteen, that the soul that sins is the soul that will die (verses 4, 20). No longer will the proverb be true, that the Fathers eat sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge. (Eze 18:2). So what is God up to is He contradicting His Word? What does God know about these people that He brings up a charge against them from the near and distant past?

If God is not a man that He should lie (Num23:19), then it is our understanding, to be more correct, it is my understanding that is “off” and I must do some intense studying.

Because God has Foreknowledge of our actions and activities, He must know that whatever He tells this group they will not listen, much less obey. If He is bringing up their ancestors sins than I believe the group before Ezekiel, who would know their father’s traditions, will weigh whatever God would have told them against their father’s customs and side with their fathers. One of the hardest things for us to do when we become Christians is to break away from the things we have traditionally followed and choose the path of God. Even when our entire family goes to “church”, many of the traditions of the churches we have found ourselves growing up in or currently attending are not the traditions of God. The thirteenth verse in this chapter, 20, states that clearly,

"But the people of Israel rebelled against me, and they refused to obey my laws there in the wilderness. They wouldn't obey my instructions even though obedience would have given them life. And they also violated my Sabbath days. So I threatened to pour out my fury on them, and I made plans to utterly consume them in the desert.

I don’t believe it was just the breaking of the Sabbath day that got them into trouble, it was their disobedience and rebellion against God that caused them to break the Sabbath. One could conceivable keep the Sabbath and break every other law that God made.

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
(Joshua 24:15 AMP)

Psalm 107:1-43

In reading this Psalm, I realized that this is broken up into four sections. Each section describes four types of people who find themselves deep in the consequences of their sin. They may have gotten in their mess by holding different thoughts and views about life, and how to live it but they all found themselves in the same place, despair.

I’m not sure if this classification is right but I will give it a try.

The first group mentioned is in verses 4-9

Some wandered in the wilderness in a solitary desert track; they found no city for habitation. Hungry and thirsty, they fainted; their lives were near to being extinguished. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses. He led them forth by the straight and right way, that they might go to a city where they could establish their homes. Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with good. (Psalms 107:4-9 AMP)

These guys and gals are the ones trying to get away from evil society thinking if they can just get away from folk, evil sinful folk they will be alright and free from temptation. I guess maybe I see them as isolationist, running from sin into sin: the sin in their own hearts.

Second group: (10-16)

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and in irons, [Luke 1:79.] Because they had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High. Therefore He bowed down their hearts with hard labor; they stumbled and fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke apart the bonds that held them. [Ps. 68:6; Acts 12:7; 16:26.] Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men! For He has broken the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron apart. (Psalms 107:10-16 AMP)

For me the clue to the type of people mentioned here is the word “darkness.” Those without God have no light. So there are the folks who have rejected God. This group was the one I belonged to. Having been hurt by Christians and then out of my pain, hurting others, I walked in darkness bumping into every thing in site.

Group Three: Fools (17-22)

Some are fools [made ill] because of the way of their transgressions and are afflicted because of their iniquities. They loathe every kind of food, and they draw near to the gates of death. Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivers them out of their distresses. He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction. [II Kings 20:4, 5; Matt. 8:8.] Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men! [Heb. 13:15.] And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving and rehearse His deeds with shouts of joy and singing!
(Psalms 107:17-22 AMP)

Well this seems to be quite clear on this group, fools. The Book of Proverbs is full of descriptive adjectives and behaviors of fools. In fact in the very beginning of Proverbs, in the Amplified, we are given an understandable description of a fool.

but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline. (1:7); And the scoffers delight in scoffing and [self-confident] fools hate knowledge?(1:22), and For the backsliding of the simple shall slay them, and the careless ease of [self-confident] fools shall destroy them. (1:32).

Fools reject and despise godly wisdom, instruction, discipline and knowledge and they are carelessly self-confident.

The fourth and final group (23-30)

Some go down to the sea and travel over it in ships to do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord and His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises up the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. [Those aboard] mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the deeps; their courage melts away because of their plight. They reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man and are at their wits' end [all their wisdom has come to nothing]. Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He hushes the storm to a calm and to a gentle whisper, so that the waves of the sea are still. [Ps. 89:9; Matt. 8:26.] Then the men are glad because of the calm, and He brings them to their desired haven.
(Psalms 107:23-30 AMP)

These are the folks who are always looking for and believing that the grass is always greener over there somewhere. Everything is better some where else but here.

What do you see in these four groups of text? Or maybe I’ve just gone off on a tangent.

Grace and peace,

What a beautiful song by Jason! Thankyou for sharing!

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