The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), August 21
God has called Abraham’s descendants to be a distinct people with whom He can dwell, and He has given them a well developed land filled with houses and plowed fields. They have chosen, however, to blend in with the people and nations around them and to defile the land with idolatry and sexual sin, “We will be like the Gentiles, like the families of other countries, serving wood and stone” (Ez. 20:32). Israel openly rebels against the LORD, and their capital becomes “infamous, full of tumult” where:
- Princes use their power to shed blood (22:6)
- Fathers and mothers are treated with contempt (22:7)
- The alien is oppressed and the fatherless and widows mistreated (22:7)
- The Sabbath is desecrated and the holy things despised (22:8)
- Slanderous men are bent on bloodshed (22:9)
- Lewd acts are committed at the mountain shrines (22:9)
- Men are without self-control and sexual sin of every sort is committed (22:10-11)
- Greed becomes pervasive (22:12)
- The Sovereign LORD is forgotten (22:12)
- The priests do violence to His law and profane His holy things; “they have not distinguished between the holy and the unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them” (22:26).
The Lord compares Judah’s impurity to dross that is worthless and cast out. He declares the land and her people as ruined, “Overthrown, overthrown, I will make it overthrown!” (21:27). Even in the midst of his pronouncement of judgment He includes a messianic allusion: “It shall be no longer, until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to him” (21:27, emphasis added). Whose right it is. The blessing conferred upon Judah’s head by his father Jacob uses the same words, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, not a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (Gen. 49:10, emphasis added). The Hebrew word Shiloh may be rendered, “that which belongs to him” or “the one to whom it belongs.”
Shiloh is not the offspring of a famous actor and actress. Shiloh is Jesus, who was born in a land ruined by sin and sinners. He lived, healed people, and died there as the substitute for man’s ruined condition. From there He was raised from the dead. He ascended to the Father in heaven from that ruined land. Now man has hope and redemption. Ruined no more!
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Ez. 20:1-22:16):
God calls Ezekiel to an unusual and difficult ministry. How does the LORD instruct Ezekiel to respond to the inquiry of Israel’s elders? What does His answer to their inquiry reveal about God?
What’s the identity of the sword that God intends to use to judge His people? What does this reveal about God and the tools that He uses?
List the sins for which Israel is judged in chapter 22. How do these sins compare with those of 21st century America?