Year 3 Day 125
Read - Ezekiel 14:1-5
Message - Alan Burke
The elders of Isreal came to Ezekiel we are told right at the beginning, now this isn’t the same group as ch 8:1 where it had been the elders of Judah. This is significant for the elders in ch 8 are the civic leaders and here in 14 it is the religious leadership. That may seem neither hear nor there but as we look closer here in the passage it matters a great deal. Remember though what was going on back in Jerusalem, there was flagrant idolatry, whereas it wasn’t quite as bad among the exiled community, they were living in a land surrounded by idols but they kept up the appearance of piety, of sincere religious beliefs, of concern, of a desire to seek God’s will and purpose in the midst of the exile, initially it looked like they are waiting on the Lord, yet the reality couldn’t have been anything more different.
These elders had likely come presuming that they would receive some kind of encouraging word from the Lord, they were likely coming to be told something nice, something more positive from Ezekiel, after all they are showing up, sure their outward piety counts does it not. The issue is two fold, idols in their hearts and stumbling blocks before their faces. Things were evidently rotten to the core in Jerusalem, and while it may not have been just as evident among the exiles in Babylon the hearts of the people were not God’s, and the Lord says ‘should I let them inquire me at all’? (3).
The Lord had called His people to Love Him, their God with all their hearts and with all their soul and with all their strength. (Deut 6:5), but they didn’t, and now they were coming to the Lord to inquire of him, they were coming to God on their terms, when they fancied it, God was their back up, their fall back, he was where they went to really so that it looked good. These people, these elders, were wanting God on their terms, when it suited them, they looked religious, they looked pious, they looked the part but here we are confronted with how none of us know the heart, God saw their hearts. They were not giving the Lord the rightful place in their hearts, it was at best half hearted piety but it was really just a show, yet they still considered themselves ‘God’s people’ it was cultural observance but that was it, these elders looked pious but they were just like those back in Israel.
Appearances were deceptive when it came to these elders, I wonder is it the case for us, because it is very easy to get in a rut, we may not be like these elders have idols in our hearts, stumbling blocks before us, but you know life gets in the way and before we tell it we are just going through the motions. If you have repented and believed then salvation is secure but we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, ( Phil 2:12). Don’t be content with a mediocre relationship with the Lord, and remember that our relationship with the Lord isn’t going to be going well when we don’t make a priority of prayer, reading God’s word and worship on the Lord’s day, it’s not going to be in a good place unless we make it a priority.
Q8 How doth God execute his decrees?
God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence.