One man's view of theology, sports, politics, and whatever else in life that happens to interest me. A little bit about me.

Friday, October 10, 2014

TOMS: Ezekiel 32-33

For an introduction to this series, click here.

Oct. 10, 2006

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Let's get into our text for today. Ezekiel 32 is a pronouncement of Egypt's future doom. It concludes a four-chapter section on Egypt's demise. Then in chapter 33 Ezekiel turns his attention back to Israel. Once again, God comes to him with a commission as a watchman for Israel. After this, God reminds the people that He will forgive His people if they will only turn to Him and repent, but if they do not repent, they will die. This is when God says, "Why will you die, O house of Israel?" (33:11).

Then Zeke, who is living in Babylon, receives word that Jerusalem has finally been destroyed. Remember that there were several waves of destruction and exile from Jerusalem, as the people disobeyed God's command to cooperate with the Babylonians and God allowed the Babylonians to defeat them over and over. God responds by having Ezekiel tell the Jews what only God would know- the secret sinful attitude they were harboring in their hearts.
"Your people...say to one another, each to his brother, 'Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.' And they come to you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it. When this comes- and come it will!- then they will know a prophet has been among them." (33:30-33, ESV)

How many times do you and I come to a church service or come to the Word of God looking to be entertained instead of fed? I know I have, lots of times. Sadly, there are lots of churches and preachers who cater to people looking for entertainment. Tell them jokes, sing some good songs, put on a good show, and you will always attract some sort of crowd. But what is the crowd you're attracting learning? These people were not blatantly rejecting the prophet's word, they just weren't connecting it to their lives. We fall into that same trap. We hear the Word preached, and the first thing that comes into our minds is critiquing the sermon. And it doesn't matter if it's a good sermon or a bad sermon. When you've heard preaching all your life, it becomes too easy to just "appreciate" it on that level. Both preachers and listeners have to learn to cut through that and speak to people's hearts.

I also think sometimes our Bible classes, whether they be in a Christian school, Sunday School or whatever else, turns the Bible into some kind of trivia book instead of a guide for life. I was one of the thousands of kids who could rattle off whole chapters from memory and answer any sort of question about the stories, but I couldn't give you any sort of explanation as to why I believed many of the basic doctrines of the faith. I guess this is part of the reason I am not a teacher, but if I was teaching Bible, especially in a Christian school, I would skip the memorization and have the students actively outlining and defending what they believe about basic doctrines. The class could discuss the merits of all the doctrines and the objections (I can always provide better arguments for what I don't believe than for what I do - I'm not really sure why). Even in Sunday School, if you're not challenging your students to advance in their faith, then you're not doing them any good. I know you will have different people at different levels, but you can't spend all your time trying to bring the 1's up to a 2 when you have 3's and 4's in the class.

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