The Heart of God: Exile and Return (1)
And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
Read and meditate on Ezekiel 2, 3, 7, and 16.
God’s judgment on His people was not the last word. His covenant cannot be broken; His promises remain sure. God’s grace continues with His people through a season of judgment and trial. The message is clear: God’s chosen people may deny Him, but He can never deny Himself. Grace will prevail over sin, for the honor and glory of God and His Name. Ezekiel sets the stage for this next period of the unfolding of God’s covenant.
1. Ezekiel prophesied to the people of Israel after the initial deportation of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar (cf. Ezek. 1.1-3). In chapters 2 and 3, Ezekiel finds his calling both sweet and bitter. Why?
2. What does it mean that God described Ezekiel’s role as a “watchman”? In what sense are those who are entrusted with the Word of God watchmen for His people? Is this a calling we share in some respects? Explain.
3. Why, according to chapters 7 and 16, was it necessary for God to bring this judgment upon His people? What did God intend as a result of this judgment (cf. Ezek. 7.4, 27; 16.60-63)?
4. Can you see how Ezekiel’s message of judgment winds around the three unifying ideas of Scripture – God’s glory, God’s people, and God’s work of redemption? Explain.
5. Meditate on Hebrews 12.3-11. What should God’s people today try to learn from God’s judgment against His people in Ezekiel’s day?
We don’t like the idea of judgment – that God might bring trials or suffering against us because of our sin. But God uses judgment to remind us that He is the Lord and to bring us back to the paths of obedience He has marked out in His covenant and by His Law. What kinds of judgment might we expect the Lord to bring upon us? How should we respond?
God stands in the congregation of the mighty;
He judges among the gods.
How long will you judge unjustly,
And show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the poor and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy;
Free them from the hand of the wicked.
They do not know, nor do they understand;
They walk about in darkness;
All the foundations of the earth are unstable.
I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are children of the Most High.
But you shall die like men,
And fall like one of the princes.”
Arise, O God, judge the earth;
For You shall inherit all nations.
T. M. Moore
Two books can help you gain a fuller understanding of the terrain we will be covering in this series. Kingdom Documentsprovides a concise overview of the primary teaching of the Old and New Testaments, and shows, through early Church creeds, how our forebears understood the primary teachings of God’s Word. (click here to order). I Will Be Your Goddevelops more fully the idea of God’s covenant and leads us to consider the practical implications of our covenant relationship with God (click here).
Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, offers a parallel study of our theme in this series, using brief video presentations and the workbook God’s Covenant: An Introduction. All courses at The Ailbe Seminary are available without charge.
We are happy to be able to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in this series by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.