THE STORY chapter # 17
(My home church is participating in the study of THE STORY – The Bible As One Continuing Story Of God And His People. Foreword by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee. Each week, my Thursday post focuses on our current study chapter.)
The cycle of bad kings doing evil in the eyes of the LORD continued. Evil king, succeeded by his evil son, succeeded by his evil son, etc., lead the nations to sin against the LORD. They persisted to worship at the high places, offer sacrifices to man-made idols, and follow detestable practices.
The LORD had enough. He spoke through His prophets, “I am going to bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.” Then, God’s word through the prophets came true. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, began to invade Jerusalem. He removed all the treasures from the Lord’s temple and the royal palace. He also carried many of Jerusalem’s people away.
But his terror was not over. Nebuchadnezzar forced the city of Jerusalem into famine, by surrounding it. He broke through the city wall, putting more people to the sword and setting fire to every important building- including the LORD’s temple and the royal palace. After all this, anyone remaining was taken into exile, except for the poorest of poor. Jerusalem, as it once was, was now no more.
But God, because He never ceases to overflow with offerings of mercy and grace, again offered the people of Israel hope. This time He spoke through Ezekiel, the prophet.
“Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.
“ ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. EZEKIEL 36:22-28
Again, God was instructing the Israelites He would let them start over. Just as He instructed their Hebrew ancestors, after He directed them to wander forty years in the desert for their constant grumblings against Him. God will not let His holy name – His power– be profaned, overlooked, pulled down or shaken off. Our God, is God, and we should never treat Him lightly.
THE STORY by Max Lucado & Randy Frazee