The Cause of Judah’s Ruin

Cleveland Amory tells this story about Judge John Lowell of Boston. One morning the judge was at breakfast, his face hidden behind the morning paper. A frightened maid tiptoed into the room and whispered something to Mrs. Lowell’s ear. The lady paled slightly, then squared … More

Pretense

Near the beginning of Ezekiel’s ministry he was unable to speak except to give specific messages from God (3:26-27). After Ezekiel’s prophecies came true and the false prophets were exposed, he was again able to talk freely (vv. 21-22). No longer needing to prove himself, he was free to offer God’s message of restoration and hope. Ezekiel warns them of continued chastisement, and even destruction, in the land itself (vv. 23-29). Now that everything the prophet had said concerning Jerusalem’s destruction had come to pass, as he stated it would, the exiles were more prone to listen (vv. 30-33). They talked about him secretly (by the walls) and openly (in the doors) (v. 30). These people gave the appearance of following God, but they loved their money more (v. 31). They were coming to listen to Ezekiel in order to be entertained (v. 32).

Many people today see church as entertainment. They enjoy the music, the people and the activities, but they don’t take the messages to heart. They don’t seek to be challenged or to serve. Many also give the outward impression of being religious while remaining inwardly greedy. Jesus warned that  we cannot love God and Money at the same time (Matt. 6:24). It’s easy to say “I surrender all” when we don’t have much. It is when we start gaining money that it becomes difficult to avoid loving it. When people mock your witness for Christ or fail to act upon it, don’t give up. You cannot make them accept your message; you can only be faithful in delivering it.

Application

I never want to reduce church services to a level of entertainment in my life. I want my time of worship to have an impact on my life and that I will put His Word into practice each time I hear it.

Ezekiel 33:21-33 (English Standard Version)

In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, a fugitive from Jerusalem came to me and said, "The city has been struck down." Now the hand of the LORD had been upon me the evening before the fugitive came; and he had opened my mouth by the time the man came to me in the morning, so my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute. The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, the inhabitants of these waste places in the land of Israel keep saying, 'Abraham was only one man, yet he got possession of the land; but we are many; the land is surely given us to possess.' Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: You eat flesh with the blood and lift up your eyes to your idols and shed blood; shall you then possess the land? You rely on the sword, you commit abominations, and each of you defiles his neighbor's wife; shall you then possess the land? Say this to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: As I live, surely those who are in the waste places shall fall by the sword, and whoever is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in strongholds and in caves shall die by pestilence. And I will make the land a desolation and a waste, and her proud might shall come to an end, and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that none will pass through. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have made the land a desolation and a waste because of all their abominations that they have committed. "As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, 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 people come, and they sit before 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 that a prophet has been among them."

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