The Cycle

Ezekiel 29-31

ezekiel 29-31

Tuesday, March 28

Like Tyre and the other nations mentioned in Ezekiel 25, God will place Egypt into the hands of Babylon.

 

Here are a few of the main points/interpretations and moments of personal application that I picked out in our passages today as noted by the visual above:

  • Egypt = monster
    • Egypt will be like a sea monster with hooks in their jaw, and fish leaching onto its scales (29:3-5).
    • God will bring a sword (Babylon) against Egypt and they will become a scattered and desolate land (29:11)
    • After 40 years, God will reunite Egypt and they will be a lowly kingdom (29:15)

 

  • Egypt = Assyria = Garden of Eden
    • Assyria was once a thriving, beautiful nation. Even the “garden of God” (Eden) could not rival it” (31:8)!
    • Assyria was taken captive by the Babylon’s and Egypt has the same fate.

 

  • Life Application: I am a big-picture person. Therefore, it feels like I have basically read the same thing for the past five chapters.  The cycle looks something like this: there is a nation that disobeys God and subsequently God sends Babylon to conquer them, leading them to desolate decline.  So, what can we learn from this cycle? We learn that this matter is important to God because he repeats it over and over again.  God is trying to relay an important message to His children because He continually makes the same point through the prophet Ezekiel.  I pray that the Holy Spirit is working in your heart and mind as you read this text, and that you might open your heart to the change God desires.  What is God trying to show you through this repetition?

 

For me, I come back to the theme that God yearns for our attention.  He longs to hear from us and be in communion with us.  In Ezekiel, we see that God longs for the nations to follow Him and is willing to go to extreme measures to call His children back home.  I Corinthians 6:19 comes to mind, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have received from God?  You are not your own”.  We are not our own, but belong to God.  How can you break-up with your old self and give a new part of your plans, emotions, desires, and abilities to God?  God longs to hear from YOU!

-Amber McClain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Keep on Praying! (2 Kings 18-20)

Friday, November 11

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Watch out!  The Assyrians who just attacked and captured Israel are now on the doorstep of Judah, ready to do the same to the smaller neighbor to the south.  Judah is shaking in their boots – and wearing sackcloth – and PRAYING.  The Assyrian king sends a letter of doom to Hezekiah, King of Judah, in which he also questions the power of Judah’s God (big mistake).  Hezekiah goes directly to the temple and prays for his country:

Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. 17 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 19 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.”      2 Kings 19:15-19

The prophet Isaiah sends a message to Hezekiah that God has heard his prayer.  And sure enough – THAT night a miraculous answer is given.  An angel of the Lord puts to death 85,000 Assyrian soldiers, and the rest run away in the morning.

All looks great – until Hezekiah becomes deathly ill.  And so, Hezekiah prays:

“Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

and God hears and answers and Hezekiah is told he will be given 15 more years of life.   When bold Hezekiah asks for a sign to be sure this is true, the shadow cast by the sun moves backward 10 steps!  This healing was no mere coincidence or just really good medicine at work.

Talk about some power in prayer!  Wouldn’t you love to go to a class on prayer taught by Hezekiah.  Prayer is powerful because the God Hezekiah prayed to is so powerful!  There is no enemy or illness too strong for the Almighty God!

So, what about when we faithfully pray for our crisis to be fixed and the answer is no or not now?  The enemy wins or the illness brings death?  Is it because God isn’t powerful enough?  NO.  Or perhaps we weren’t good enough?  NO, not necessarily.  Just a few chapters ago we were reading of Elisha, the God-fearing, power-praying prophet who performed many miracles: parting the water, healing leprosy, feeding a hundred men with just 20 loaves of bread, changing the deadly stew to nourishing, making the ax-head float and the oil over-flowing AND raising a boy from the dead!   Elisha was no doubt a man of God and God answered his prayers in mighty ways time and time again.  However in 2 Kings 13:14 we read “Now Elisha was suffering from the illness from which he died.”  Even on his deathbed he delivers another message from God to the king of Israel.  Then, he died.  And even in death his bones were powerful enough to raise the life of another (2 Kings 13:21).   Sometimes the miracle even comes after death – in the lives of others.

Not only is God all-powerful but He is also all-knowing and all-wise.  And, sometimes that means the good die or the enemy has a victorious day.  In 2 Kings 19 after Hezekiah prays for deliverance for his country, Isaiah delivers a message from God against the attacking Assyrians.  He says: “Have you not heard?  Long ago I ordained it.  In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass, that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone…but I know where you stay and when you come and go…and I will make you return by the way you came” (19:25,27,28)

God has got this.  Nothing He doesn’t see.  Nothing He doesn’t know. Nothing He doesn’t know how to handle.  He sees the big picture.  He IS the big picture.  Rest in that knowledge.  Pray big to the Almighty, just as Elisha and Hezekiah did.  You just might  witness a miracle!  Or it might be a day ordained for the enemy to win or the prophet of God to die.  Either way – God is God and He is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-wise.

Keep on Praying!

Marcia Railton

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A Price to Pay (2 Kings 15-17)

Thursday, November 10

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2 Kings chapter 15 includes multiple assassinations of rulers, a one month rule, a 6 month rule and a twenty year reign of an evil king. . . makes our U.S. terms of office and system of voting look pretty good – far from perfect – but better than the political system of the Divided Kingdoms.

Of the 7 kings listed in Chapter 15, only two of them are said to have done what is right in the eyes of the Lord: Azariah and Jotham.  It is curious that those are the only two kings listed here in which the author gives the name of the king’s mother.   Young women – never underestimate the importance of the job of raising up a new Godly generation.  Yes, young men – your children will need a Godly daddy, too!!

There is a repeated phrase that we have heard over and over again describing the kings of Israel: “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord…he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam.”  I think it is worth reminding ourselves what were the sins of Jeroboam?  When Israel divided after the reign of Solomon, Jeroboam became the ruler of the larger 10 tribes in the north, who would keep the name Israel.  However, they lost the two southern tribes which would be called Judah – as well as the holy city Jerusalem, the home of God’s special temple.  Jeroboam didn’t want his subjects trying to travel to Jerusalem to worship, as prescribed by God.  So he (not God) created new “holy places” for Israel which included golden calves and he selected new priests not from the tribe of Levi.  God’s whole system of worship (which had been carefully laid out in the books of Law) were replaced by Jeroboam – for convenience and ease.  But there would be a price to pay.

In Chapter 17 God sends the Assyrians to capture Israel.  They have used up their chances.  God is fed up with their disobedience.  Scripture says,”They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, ‘Do not do as they do’.” (17:15)  There is often great ungodliness – and danger – in blending in with those around us.  God’s people are to stand out as different – dedicated to His Word and commands rather than to what others are doing or what is currently convenient and accepted.  Who are you following?  Any guesses what the consequences (good or bad) are going to be?

Marcia Railton