Day 20: The Verdict for God's People

Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "Because you people have brought to mind your guilt by your open rebellion, revealing your sins in all that you do - because you have done this, you will be taken captive..."

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "O city that brings on herself doom by shedding blood in her midst and defiles herself by making idols, you have become guilty because of the blood you have shed and have become defiled by the idols you have made."

Ezekiel 21:24 & 22:3-4, NIV 


Why should we even bother with reading the Old Testament Prophets? After all, they never seemed to have anything good to say. They always seemed to be bringing up what the people were doing wrong. They always seemed to have words of gloom and doom for the people. On top of that, it was thousands of years ago when these things happened! So, why bother?


The reason is that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow! The message of the prophets is not just for the people who lived during their times, it is an enduring message. It is a message that warns what God will do to His people - that means people who were saved at one time - if they do not repent. And when you read the message of the prophets concerning the sin of the people of that bygone era, it sometimes seems that those very words could be coming from today's headlines.


One reason that we read the prophets is that people never change, and neither does God. God has always been grieved when His people go astray, and He has always sought men and women who will take a stand against such wickedness. But He wants us to know that if they don't take a stand, there will be a severe penalty to be paid! This is one of the lessons that God wants us to learn, and it is just one of the reasons that we need to read the prophets, because there are warnings contained in their message that we need to take to heart.


Now, consider the specific passages that make up today's reading in Ezekiel. God is essentially laying out His case against the people of that time, in a very similar manner that a prosecuting attorney would lay out a case against a criminal. And what was that case? Israel had sinned! They were sexually immoral. They were greedy. They shed innocent blood. They served worthless idols. And, they refused to repent.


And God had had enough!


The reason that we read the prophets of old is that we may know these things and understand there is a limit to what God will tolerate. But there is something else that we need to learn from these prophets: God is also a God of great mercy. Had the people only repented, He would have taken them back and never punished them... but they failed to learn that lesson, so they were punished.


Our duty today is to learn that lesson. Are we listening to God's case against Israel and taking it to heart? If not, what do you think God's message about us will be, on that last day when He presents His final case?


Now all had been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, NIV


Today is day 20 of the 30 day challenge to read the books of the prophets of God, with Ezekiel 21-30 being the reading for today. May God richly bless you as you read His warnings and make every effort to live your life according to His instructions!