The Rebellions of Israel

Years ago, I read about a railroad that conducted an experiment. It purchased two new locomotives. One was kept in constant service, regardless of Sunday. In the use of the other, late each Saturday they pulled its fire and released the steam. On Sunday it was allowed to co … More

Sabbath

In this passage Ezekiel gave a panoramic view of Israel’s history (vv. 1-4). The Lord refused to be inquired of by the leaders because of their insincerity. Had they forsaken their sins and come to Him in true repentance, He would have listened. Instead, Ezekiel was to judge them in the sense of pointing out their sins to them. He gives the message that the people alone are responsible for the troubles and judgments they have experiences.

The day when I chose Israel, referred to here, was in Egypt (v. 5). Even before Israel was a nation, God had chosen them when He chose Abraham (Ex. 6:6-8). Israel had become an actual nation of people by this time. At the same time, He had selected, for them a land, a land belonging to Israel by sovereign choice. The frequent use of the phrase flowing with milk and honey is proverbial of great abundance and plenty (v.6). That Israel had already been worshiping idols in Egypt is explicitly stated only here, though it is intimated by such occasions as the golden calf incident in the wilderness (vv. 7-8). God first had thoughts of judgment against Israel in Egypt because of her idolatry. God very dramatically proved Himself greater than the gods of Egypt in the contest of the ten plagues (vv. 9-11)

The observance of the Sabbath began at Sinai, and it served as a special sign between the people and the Lord (vv. 11-16). It showed their dependence on Him to supply their need by not working on the seventh day. In turn, God had promised to care for them. This day of rest was a gift from a loving God, not a difficult obligation. But the people repeatedly desecrated the Sabbath and ignored their God. God’s purpose for the Sabbath was that He wants us to rest, to refocus and to remember Him.

Application

Sunday has always been a special day in our family and I want to always honor the Lord on that day.

Ezekiel 20:1-16 (English Standard Version)

In the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, and sat before me. And the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD, Is it to inquire of me that you come? As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you. Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? Let them know the abominations of their fathers, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: On the day when I chose Israel, I swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob, making myself known to them in the land of Egypt; I swore to them, saying, I am the LORD your God. On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands. And I said to them, Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the LORD your God. But they rebelled against me and were not willing to listen to me. None of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. "Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt. So I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live. Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They did not walk in my statutes but rejected my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live; and my Sabbaths they greatly profaned. "Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them in the wilderness, to make a full end of them. But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. Moreover, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land that I had given them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands, because they rejected my rules and did not walk in my statutes, and profaned my Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols."

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