Tuesday, March 4, 2014

ISRAEL, THEN AND NOW

Suggested Reading: Ezekiel 21-22

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

Just outside ancient Ephesus in Turkey is this wall on which people have placed thousands of written prayers. It is said that Mary, the mother of Jesus, lived here in the home that John made for her. From the Cross, Jesus asked John to care for His widowed mother. Tradition says that John, unlike the people described in our key verse, took care of her needs. John stood "in the gap."

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verses: Ezekiel 22:29-30

The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.

 

What did the people of Jerusalem do wrong? According to these two chapters, nearly everything! The leaders and many of the people consistently broke God’s laws for moral and social conduct, for religious practices and economic systems. Ezekiel, the prophet, had already been taken by King Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon in the second wave of captives. Life in Jerusalem continued. As Ezekiel writes in 21:21, the King of Babylon was at the crossroads of decision as to what he should do regarding the latest rebellion of King Zedekiah in Jerusalem. Zedekiah was in the process of making an alliance with Babylon’s arch enemy, Egypt. In contrast of the clear words of God’s prophets, Nebuchadnezzar was making his decisions based on divination practices such as described in the words, “He looks at the liver.” They would dissect a liver from an animal and look there for guidance. It sounds ridiculous to us, but what about the astrological charts in today’s newspaper? Ezekiel would’ve been willing to stand “in the gap” for Israel, but he was unable to return to Jerusalem. All he could do was obey God, and “sigh…with a breaking heart” (21:6), and speak his prophetic word from a distance.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for grace to do my best to “stand in the gap” for others. Grant me the empathy to “sigh…with a breaking heart” for people whose lives are broken because of economic circumstances (the poor and needy) and because of deliberate sin against You. Lead me, guide me, direct my ways in the ways of righteousness, I pray. Help me to speak up against those things that destroy people and to realize that actions speak louder than words. In the Name of the Jesus, who wept over the needs of the people and took action to establish righteousness, I pray. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Yesterday, I promised to continue the “Make You Think” emphasis. Why would God call for a prophet’s word from human lips? Was it really necessary? Could He not have gone ahead and done what ever He wanted to do without someone speaking out His Word in advance? For His own reasons He involved free-will people in His decisions. I think that those words, “free will,” are the key to understanding the reason for prophecy. When a word of prophecy is spoken, God, who made man in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-30) and gave humanity “dominion” over the earth, waits for the permission of a spoken prophecy before taking “dominion” over human affairs. I have found it hard to get my mind around this.

There was one time only in my life that I believe I experienced the kind of Biblical prophecy experienced by Ezekiel. It was in Jerusalem. I was a member of the press corps covering President Carter’s last-ditch stand to conclude the treaty between Egypt and Israel known as the “Camp David Accords.” I won’t take the space to tell the story here, but it is in my latest book, This Far By Faith.?It was a live statement on government radio stations, broadcasting with immediate translations into Hebrew and Arabic languages, covering the entire Middle East, including Iraq (Babylon) and Egypt (click here for a copy of my book). This is a very subjective judgment, but I believe that “word” rendered the ruler of the darkness of this world powerless to mess up God’s will for Israel and Egypt at that time.

Yours for the purpose of understanding a little bit more of the reason why God called prophets to speak out in advance of events,

David

P.S. Tomorrow, God willing, I want to write about the difference between New Testament prophecy and that of Ezekiel’s time. We must be very careful in this area. False doctrines have been taught and religious cults established by what has been called “prophecy.”

19 thoughts on “Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  1. Thank you for sharing your understanding of why God would call a prophet’s word from human lips. It is quite a concept to grasp. I am reminded of Philippians 2:13 “for it is God in you to will and act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” I am cautious and sceptical hearing any prophetic word spoken and it is marvellous when a prophecy unveils the will of God, as was yours in the Camp David Accord. Much to think about, what you say. Looking forward to tomorrow and how we ought discern Old Testament and New Testament prophecy. Blessings and His strength, to all!

  2. I have heard modern day prophets speak. One since the 70’s. What he speaks does come to be true. At that time he spoke that there would be a great shaking in the church and there was. He spoke of financial colapses which did happen. I think that God speaking through a prophet shows His connection to His people. Many are more aware of a Living God Who “tells it like it is” (or as it should be).

  3. I, like the David above, look forward to what you have for tomorrow. I have witnessed way too much psuedo-spiritual prophecing over the years. Praying for the witness of the spirit of God to be on your blog tomorrow.

  4. Let’s pray for healing in the Ukraine. It looks like Putin is not going to back down unless we can change that through prayer…

    God Bless! Amen!

  5. As many of you might remember before I came to Christ I was involved in what is known as the occult sciences– I considered myself a bit of a fortune teller because many of my predictions did come true. Since being born again, I have come to understand that being able to predict what will happen in future is vastly different than prophecy.
    Prophecy isn’t merely telling us what God will do in the future, it reveals something of Himself– it has a Divine Purpose; God isn’t really concern with telling us what will happen, but why it will happen. It is that WHY that separates prophecy from prediction.
    So whenever I heard any new prophecies on television or elsewhere I have to always ask Why would God want to reveal that– and if it doesn’t fit with God’s character and plans as reveal in Scripture I wouldn’t trust it.

  6. Looking forward to tomorrow Pastor David as you instruct us in prophecy.

    I pray it will help all of us discern when certain people claim they are speaking for what will be in the future. May God grant us the spirit of discernment to seek His truth.

    Today’s reading is almost frightening as the people were warned in advance and still did not TURN and LIVE, may we all learn from that.

  7. Yes I’m praying for the people in the Ukraine and also Russia wemust pray for or enemys If we ask God will answer all our prayers….R..

  8. Today is my sister, Sylvia’s birthday. Would you fellow bloggers please pray for her spiritual, emotional and physical well being as she has not attended church and she MS symptons which has affected her mobility and speech somewhat. Her husband is not a Christian and her daughter needs prayer too. I phoned, had prayer with her and told her how much your prayers helped me during my surgery. Your blogs David and friends continue to bless me. Blessings to you today!

    • I pray your sisyer Sylvia is released from MS and begins to feel well enough to attend church. Dear Lord please encourage her husband and daughter to get to know and worship thee, amen.

  9. Ger praying for your sister Sylvia may her heart lean on the Lord so He can direct
    her path, may her husband also be led by the Lord for He wants no one to go
    Lost God bless you and your family….R….

  10. Dear Rev. David M.
    As I read todays scripture all the rebels that were present in the time of Ezekiel sadly can be compared to a great part of our present time . So the importance for each of us to stand in the gap for all that live in darkness .
    Looking forward for your teaching on prophecy from the old and new testament.

    Adding my prayers for Gers sister Sylvia and all her family .
    Also praying for Ukraine .
    Thank you Lord that we may come to you with our hearts aching , knowing that You and You alone can accomplish what seems impossiblewith our human eye. And like Jesus said follow me and we will change the world.
    Thank you Jesus , thank you Lord , Amen.

    Have a blessed day sisters and brothers in Christ and keep warm.
    xxxx Carole.

  11. With a heavy heart we can all see as we read the book of Ezekiel these same kind of sins being committed today all around the world. How we need to pray! Thank you David for tackling the subject of the difference between Old Testament prophecy and New Testament prophecy. We all need to be able to discern truth from error, but don’t want to miss the truth either. Bless you my brother for your zealousness for the Lord,

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