Gracious God, as I come to You and Your Word, may I grow more determined to stand firm for You.
Read Ezekiel 22:23-31
 Again the word of the LORD came to me:  “Son of man, say to the land, ‘You are a land that has had no rain or showers in the day of wrath.’  There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her.  Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.  Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain.  Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says’-when the LORD has not spoken.  The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice.  “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.  So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow would you summarize the sins of these people?
I grew up in an evangelical tradition that made being a Christian appear easy, suggesting that God would resolve people’s problems if they came to church. It’s an easy trap for us to slip into. We get drawn into assuming that Christianity and the Kingdom of God are the same thing, and bit by bit we wander off the narrow path that leads to life. That’s the accusation that God leveled against the religious leaders of Israel through Ezekiel (26).
In this series we have tried to uncover the reality of Jesus’ life. Christian religion easily slips into presenting an unreal picture of Jesus as a divine super-being who stood out from the crowd and was wonderful to everyone. But the Jesus of the Gospels is far less comfortable. Jesus may have raised a dead girl and healed many others, but he was imprisoned and murdered, and his disciples were in danger, too.
It is good that you read the Bible for yourself; don’t believe everything we Discovery writers tell you! God needs Ezekiels and Jeremiahs—people who are prepared to see beyond popular tradition and speak up for the truth about God (30).
How do you present the Gospel to others? Do you share the unpopular side (discipleship) as well as the Good News?
Lord Jesus, I pray for courage and discernment to always share my faith in a way that is full and fair.
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