mad person not talking August 14 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Ezekiel 6, 7, 8, 9

The End of Talking

When is it time to stop talking and start acting? The answer is when talking is ineffective and action is necessary. Sometimes, we have to let people know who is in charge. Before we jump the gun and act, however, we need to prove our actions are justifiable.

God does not need to prove His actions are justifiable—He is God—He is always right! Nevertheless, on the eve of the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. He proves to the prophet Ezekiel that He is justified in using Babylon to wipe out Jerusalem. God is angry with His people for their extreme wickedness and rebellion. After waiting more than 100 years after the exile of Israel, sending prophets to warn the nation of Judah, and disciplining them over and over, more talking is useless—it is time for action!

Has God been very patient with us? Has he talked and talked to us through the Bible, pastors, caring friends or relatives, but we still have not listened? One day there will be an end to talk, and God will take action. He longs to bless us and give us forgiveness, spiritual life, and peace if we turn to Him from our sins (more...). Let's not force Him to act with justice.

After statements of judgment on those who worship idols in the mountains, God says Jerusalem's end is sealed because of their continual evil. Then, in a vision, the LORD grabs Ezekiel by the hair and takes him to Jerusalem. He shows Ezekiel what God's people are doing behind closed doors, in the darkness, and even in His temple. His purpose is to show the evil of the leadership, priests, women, and the rest of the people. He sees what is done in secret. God is going to judge them, and they and the exiles are going to learn He is the Sovereign LORD.

The first thing Ezekiel sees is an “Idol of Jealousy” standing in the temple where God is supposed to be worshipped! This may be an Asherah pole used in Baal worship. It was constructed and brought in during the days of Manasseh, but late in his life he repented and had it destroyed. When King Josiah cleaned out the temple, however, the same idol was there again! The leaders and priests did not easily give up their idolatry. This idol may have been brought back into the temple during the present reign of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T., edited by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p.1243).

The second thing Ezekiel sees is a secret door in the temple. Behind the door, the seventy elders of Jerusalem are worshipping “all kinds of crawling things and detestable animals and all the idols of the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 8:10, NIV). Pictures of these are portrayed on the walls. The elders have lost confidence in the LORD and are calling out to strange gods to save them—gods who are only figments of their imagination. To Ezekiel’s astonishment, one man there with them is Jaazaniah, the son of Shaphan. In 2Kings 22 we read that Hilkiah the high priest found the book of the Law in the temple and gave it to Shaphan the secretary. Shaphan then took it and read it for King Josiah, and this led to a revival. Jaazaniah is from a faithful family! This is disheartening. Moreover, it is disgusting!

Furthermore, in his vision, at the north gate (probably the entrance to the temple’s outer court) he sees women mourning for Tammuz. Tammuz is a false god who is worshipped because it is believed he brings spring vegetation. Since there is a famine during the siege on Jerusalem, they believe Tammuz has died for that season and has not arisen to bring new life. So, they mourn for him. They do not repent and look to the true God for His provision (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T., p.1244)

Last, Ezekiel is taken into the inner court of the temple. At the entrance, twenty-five men (probably priests) are before the altar of the LORD. They are not burning sacrifices and confessing their sins and the sins of the people, however, they are worshipping the sun, facing east with their backs to the temple of the LORD.

The leaders, priests, and women are not the only evil ones in Jerusalem; the rest of the people are also wicked idolaters. They have filled the land with violence and put branches in their noses (an apparent reference to Middle-Eastern idolatry in their time (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T., p.1244)).

For these sins and more, the LORD is going to take action against Jerusalem, and judgment will begin at the temple. God hates hypocrisy and pride. Judgment always starts at His house.

Likewise, just because we claim to be Christians does not keep us safe from His discipline. We need a personal relationship with Him (more...), and we need to fear the LORD and walk in His ways.

God will, however, have mercy on some in Jerusalem. Those who fear the LORD will have a mark or seal placed on their forehead, and He will not destroy them.

Today, true followers of Christ have the Holy Spirit’s seal placed upon them until the Day of Redemption. They will not suffer the everlasting destruction of hell-fire but will have everlasting life of bliss with Jesus and all believers (2Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). Do you have the seal of God on you? If so, praise God, seek to please Him, and do not grieve Him by your lifestyle. If not, why not get right with Him and be saved? (more....)

What about the rest who do not turn to God—will they all be lost? Will they all be destroyed? Yes— God tells Ezekiel that it is too late—Jerusalem is beyond hope.

If any of us are living, however, it is not too late. After our death is the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Every man and woman will be judged. Christians will be judged, not for their sins (Jesus paid for them in full), but for their actions as to whether they were useful or useless (2Corinthians 5:10). Non-Christians (those who have not accepted Christ’s sacrifice for them) will be judged at the Great White Throne somewhere in outer space. The Apostle John testifies to it.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead [those who have not believed in Jesus], great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death (Revelation 20:11-12,15; 21:8, NIV).

Please, if you have not accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for you, turn to God before He takes action. He wants you to have forgiveness, spiritual life, and peace. He wants to bless you. The LORD must punish sin because He is holy, righteous, and just. Eventually, we will find that out if we turn away from Him.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9, NIV).

Christians should keep in mind that the LORD is a jealous God and will punish disobedient believers until they repent. If any of us have strayed away from God, let's come back to Him before it is too late. Let's walk in the fear of the LORD and seek to please Him so we will continue to experience His blessings.

Lessons to Live By

  • The LORD is very patient but will eventually take action. We must turn from our sins to God before it is too late.
  • God sees what is done in secret.
  • The LORD is holy and righteous and expects His people (both Jew and non-Jew) to be that way.
  • God judges both the righteous and the unrighteous, so we must turn to Him to be saved and live to please Him.
  • Do we have the seal of God on us? If so, we should live for His glory and not grieve Him by our lifestyle. If not, we should turn to Him and be saved (more...). He wants to bless us.

Focus Verse

Psalm 80:19 (NIV) “Restore us, O LORD God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.”

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A Look Ahead: The people in Jerusalem were clinging to A Vain Hope. What was it? How can we keep from doing the same thing? Join us for our Next Lesson.

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