The Heart of God: Exile and Return (2)
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 33, 34, 37 and Daniel 2, 4, and 9.
We have a bit more to learn from Ezekiel, then we’ll turn to Daniel, who will remind us both of the sovereignty of God over the nations and the unfailing grace of His covenant.
1. Ezekiel enlarges upon the role of watchmen in chapter 33. Who were the watchmen in ancient Israel? Some had failed in their duty, and some fulfilled their calling. Explain. How should one prepare to serve as a watchman for God’s people today?
2. How had the shepherds of Israel – their watchmen – failed the Lord’s sheep (Ezek. 34.1-10)? How was God planning to remedy this situation? Who is this promised good shepherd (cf. Jn. 10)? How would His coming benefit the people of God?
3. Explain the prophesy of the dry bones (Ezek. 37). What is the role of the Spirit (breath) of God in this vision?
4. Looking at Daniel 2 and 4, what do we learn about the sovereignty of God over the nations and kingdoms of the earth? When would God establish His Kingdom? How would you describe the character of that Kingdom, as Daniel foresaw it, and Nebuchadnezzar came to experience it?
5. What led Daniel to seek the Lord in prayer in chapter 9? What seem to be the main components of his prayer, as He sought the Lord for revival in Israel?
God is sovereign over His people and over all the nations. His Spirit brings real power to the earth – spiritual power, to be sure, but power than can bring revival, renewal, and awakening, and an impact on all nations. In times of judgment, it’s good to seek out the promises of God, and to be reminded of His will for us, and of what He can do. Why is this so?
“Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you!
O Israel, if you will listen to Me!
There shall be no foreign god among you;
Nor shall you worship any foreign god.
I am the LORD your God,
Who brought you out of the land of Egypt;
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
But My people would not heed My voice,
And Israel would have none of Me.
So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart,
To walk in their own counsels.
Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies,
And turn My hand against their adversaries.
The haters of the Lord would pretend submission to Him,
But their fate would endure forever.
He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat;
And with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.”
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.