When was the last time you were serious about hearing from the Lord? The leaders of Israel were very serious. So they went to Ezekiel to receive a message from God.
On August 14, during the seventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, some of the leaders of Israel came to request a message from the LORD. They sat down in front of me to wait for his reply. Ezekiel 20:1
These leaders had made up their minds, they weren’t going anywhere until they heard from the Lord. So Ezekiel delivered the message God had for them.
Son of man, tell the leaders of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: How dare you come to ask me for a message? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I will tell you nothing!’ Ezekiel 20:3
The Israelites felt free to call on the Lord, but they failed when it came to serving Him. God reminded them through this message to Ezekiel of their nation’s sinful history.
Son of man, bring charges against them and condemn them. Make them realize how detestable the sins of their ancestors really were. Ezekiel 20:4
God Offered Freedom and Life
In Egypt, Israel grew into a mighty nation while in bondage, but they had no life of their own. The Lord offered them freedom and life.
So I brought them out of Egypt and led them into the wilderness. There I gave them my decrees and regulations so they could find life by keeping them. Ezekiel 20:10-11
God miraculously delivered the Israelites from Egypt, but they continued to sin. And they continually disobeyed God even while wandering in the wilderness.
But the people of Israel rebelled against me, and they refused to obey my decrees there in the wilderness. They wouldn’t obey my regulations even though obedience would have given them life. Ezekiel 20:13
An entire generation died in the wilderness because they disobeyed the Lord. In this message from God, He also warned their children in the wilderness to obey Him.
But their children, too, rebelled against me. They refused to keep my decrees and follow my regulations, even though obedience would have given them life. Ezekiel 20:21
God’s Theme is “Life”
Do you see the theme from the message God gave to these people? When He rescued them from Egypt, He offered them life.
Then twice in this message to these leaders He said, obedience would have given them life. But they ignored God and refused to obey Him. Then He said something interesting.
I gave them over to worthless decrees and regulations that would not lead to life. I let them pollute themselves with the very gifts I had given them. Ezekiel 20:25-26
In other words, He said, “I let them do what they wanted to do.” The gifts they polluted themselves with included offering their children as sacrifices.
God then, injected a couple of thought-provoking questions into His message.
Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign Lord: Do you plan to pollute yourselves just as your ancestors did? Do you intend to keep prostituting yourselves by worshiping vile images? Ezekiel 20:30
What is the Message of God for Me?
Just like the Lord’s message was to Israel, God wants us, you and me to live in obedience to Him. The reason why? So we can enjoy life.
Jesus told His disciples that if they love Him, they will keep His commandments. Love and obedience to the Lord result in life. Look at what Jesus told Martha.
I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. John 11:25-26
The message God has for you begins and ends with Jesus.
- God gave His Son Jesus so you can have life. John 3:16
- Jesus died and rose again so you can have life. – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
- Call upon the name of Jesus for salvation, so you can have life. – Romans 10:9-10
- Jesus is coming back for the church so you can have life – 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
- You will spend eternity with Jesus because that is life. – Revelation 21:27
This hasn’t changed from the Old Testament times. God still requires obedience and it is still the key to life.
Those leaders who asked God for a message probably had the attitude that they did nothing wrong. Therefore they couldn’t figure out why they were in captivity.
The Lake of Fire is for the Disobedient
The same thing will happen with many who end up spending eternity in the lake of fire. They too will wonder what they did wrong.
Chances are, they lived a good life of kindness and generosity and they did many things right. But the reason anyone will end up in that lake comes down to disobedience.
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
That is life at its fullest! The message from God in John 3 continues. This time, however, it includes those who don’t believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. John 3:18
Lord, Even though it’s real, you don’t try to scare us into heaven with the threat of eternal torment. Instead, you offer us eternal life with you because of your wonderful love for us.
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