Year 3 Day 62
Read - Ezekiel 5:1-4
Message - Alan Burke
We all make informed choices every day. Some of those choices are neither here nor there, others can and will lead to consequences. Think of how are to eat 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day, it’s good for your health but we may have a better chance of eating 5 portions or variety of biscuits daily. Also we should choose unsaturated oils and spreads but how many of us are unwilling to give up butter. I’m not a doctor, I tend to avoid them, but I know enough, actually we all know enough that if we never ate fruit or vegetables and only ate biscuits that were not going to be too well or even eating too many biscuits. We also know enough to know that if we fried everything in dripping and then spread an inch of butter on it before we eat it, then heath problems are coming if we don’t that is experience them already. While we make informed choices many of us still try to bury our heads in the sand and think that we are the exception and our choices will never impact us!
I want to take you to the book of Leviticus as we start (Ch 26), you can read it although it is not essential for this devotion. There God made His covenant with His people, in it He was clear that if His people obeyed His word and kept the covenant then there would be blessing. But and this is key, for if they did not keep the covenant then there would be curses for their disobedience. The Lord God made it clear, live in my way and good things will happen, don’t live in my way then bad things will happen. It wasn’t rocket science, it wasn’t that they were ignorant of how to live, they had all the information necessary to make an informed choice and they chose, well, to go their own way. Sin reigned among them!
Now Ezekiel is told by the Lord that he is to take a sharp sword, use it as a barbers razor and to shave his head and beard. There is a reason though why God was telling Ezekiel to do such a thing, well there are two reasons. Firstly it is because the sword speaks of the judgement that is coming upon the people at the hands of the invading army and the other point, well for that we have to let scripture interpret scripture. Israelite men were prohibited from from shaving or cutting parts of their beard (Lev 19:27). Ezekiel before hand would have had likely a big strangely beard and long hear, and although saving was a sign of mourning, of distress, priests themselves were prohibited from shaving, Leviticus 21 tells us “’Priests must not shave their heads or shave off the edges of their beards or cut their bodies.” (Lev 21:5). If a priest shaved his head he was seen as defiled, meaning he was no longer Holy. God in telling Ezekiel to do this was to be a visual aid for the people, that as Ezekiel had become defiled, that he was no longer holy. The point is this, they too as a people were defiled they were no longer holy and they would suffer by the sword but in a much worse way than Ezekiel did.
Yet in the midst of this judgment notice how there is hope! For Ezekiel is to take a few strands of hair and tuck them away in the folds of his garment (3). Yes some would be thrown into the fire that would spread to the whole house of Israel but not all of those that were to be placed in his garment would be lost. Some, the remnant of the people of God would be saved. Even in the midst of the coming judgement God did not fail to show His mercy. In the judgement that comes they would know indeed that the Lord is God, the remnant would repent and turn once more to Him and one day through the remnant one would come, who now has come Jesus Christ. We are by our nature unholy, we are unable to come before a Holy God, yet Jesus Christ the only begotten son of God came to deal with the sins of His people, all those who repent and believe. That is the good news of the gospel, that our sin has been dealt with through another, through Jesus and we have experienced the mercy of God that we do not deserve though faith in Jesus Christ.
Q61 What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required, (Amos 8:5, Mal. 1:13) and the profaning the day by idleness, (Acts 20:7,9) or doing that which is in itself sinful, (Ezek. 23:38) or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations. (Jer. 17:24–26, Isa. 58:13)