Today’s Reading: Ezek 32:1–33:33, Rev 16:1–21, Job 37:9–15
Today’s Theme: Open your eyes and rejoice
In today’s reading there is a call for us to open our eyes as God’s watchmen and open our mouths to warn others. To open our eyes to God’s will and not our own, to open our eyes to the reality of eternity. To open our eyes to the wonder of creation, to open our eyes to God in all these things and rejoice in and to His glory.
In opening our eyes to God we turn away from the allure of sin and the deceitfulness of the human heart. We need to open our eyes, see and repent.
‘Whom do you surpass in beauty? Go down and be laid to rest with the uncircumcised.’ (Ezekiel 32:19, ESV)
Temporal physical beauty is no defence against death.
The conscious afterlife
They have made her a bed among the slain with all her multitude, her graves all around it, all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword; for terror of them was spread in the land of the living, and they bear their shame with those who go down to the pit; they are placed among the slain. (Ezekiel 32:25, ESV)
“They have made” and “they bear” are active verbs, they are currently bearing the shame, they are still alive in the afterlife which shows there was an understanding of the afterlife in the Old Testament.
Called to be watchmen
then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. (Ezekiel 33:4, ESV)
We have greater responsibility when we have heard the truth. God has called us to be watchmen in our city, declaring that men should flee the wrath to come.
The Gospel Trumpet
He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. (Ezekiel 33:5, ESV)
This mirrors the call to repent and flee the wrath to come preached in the Gospel. Blow the trumpet today.
A holy charge
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand. (Ezekiel 33:6, ESV)
If we do not warn those we watch over then God requires the blood of that person at our hands. We must warn them.
But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. (Ezekiel 33:9, ESV)
Boldly declaring and defending the truth delivers our own souls.
1 Timothy 4:16 says “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
Repentance can’t be forced
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11, ESV)
God desires that all would repent, but in His wisdom He does not force it on all.
“And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins. (Ezekiel 33:12, ESV)
Our responsibility before God is not in the past or future, it is always in the now. Our connection with eternity is NOW! So, we can repent now and should persevere in righteousness now.
False vs True
Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die. (Ezekiel 33:13, ESV)
God has not called us to false security in a false confession lived out in a false life but true eternal security through true confession with evidence shown in a joyfully sanctified life.
Repentance is required
if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. (Ezekiel 33:15, ESV)
God requires genuine repentance.
Don’t blame God
“Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just. (Ezekiel 33:17, ESV)
This is so true, this is the number one accusation thrown at God when He is in fact so gracious. Don’t shift blame for your own sin and unrighteousness on to God, humble yourself and repent by turning to the only one who can help you
Works will be judged
Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.” (Ezekiel 33:20, ESV)
Just like the church in Revelation, God knows and judges our works.
God’s promises are conditional
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? (Ezekiel 33:25, ESV)
We cannot live like devils and then tap into or claim the promises of God. God’s promises are predicated on right relationship with Him. Every promise of God has conditions in this way so they cannot be abused.
God is not a fool, or just a force of Karma like Hinduism teaches. He is the true God with three distinct persons who seek and must be engaged through relationship…Not dry religion, principles or manipulation.
What is your heart set on?
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. (Ezekiel 33:31, ESV)
What is the point in listening to God’s word and sitting under teaching if our hearts are not changed and our minds are bent on evil. Sadly this is the picture of much of the church today. Some people just enjoy preaching.
As Pastor Dennis taught us a this time last year in Israel, we see through the eyes of our will and what the will has set it’s eyes on it will pursue. Unless we allow the word to change our desire to be God’s, we will never change.
And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments. (Revelation 16:5, ESV)
Remember these judgements are ordained by God, they cannot be stopped.
Man’s wicked heart
They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. (Revelation 16:9, ESV)
The wicked, stubborn, prideful heart of man revealed.
Be awake and ready
(“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) (Revelation 16:15, ESV)
Lord help us to stay awake and be fully clothed for war.
Nature, God’s tool
Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen.(Job 37:13, ESV)
This is insightful concerning the purpose of God using the natural elements.
Open your eyes and rejoice
“Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. (Job 37:14, ESV)
We should all do this like Jonathan Edwards, Spurgeon and Lewis we should pause and consider the great works of God in creation. The theory of evolution has tried to kill off this joy and glorification of God but we are missing out if we don’t open our eyes to the richness of God’s general revelation in nature
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Revelation 16