Ezekiel 17-19: Turn and Live
November 6, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
A riddle and a parable, chapter 17, of an eagle and of the vine, and of Israel’s rebellion against Babylon by seeking help from Egypt—“can he break covenant and yet escape?” (17:15). There is a principle behind God’s actions: “I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it” (17:24). He exalts the humble and brings down the proud.
In the midst of all this judgment, it would be easy to think that God was not being just—and so chapter 18 addresses that question. God makes it clear that it is the person themselves, rather than their father, for whom they are held accountable: “the soul who sins shall die” (18:4). God wants people to repent and to find life: “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” (18:23).
The warnings are to be heeded, and if so there is life that God has on offer for the repentant sinner. Israel, though, at this point shows no sign of heeding the warnings, and so chapter 19 has a “lament,” a formally written song and poem intended to stir the people up to realize their situation. Ezekiel uses the image of a “lioness” (19:1) and a “vine” (19:10), and in either case the message is the same: the exile.
Throughout these chapters we see a God who is sovereign, powerful, who delights to save, and through the word of his prophet holds out the gospel to his people that they might turn and live.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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