Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Sunday afternoon car show in Brittany

Monday, August 29, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Aug 30, Eze 16-17

Today's readings are Eze 16-17. Tomorrow's are Eze 18-20. 

Eze 16:1-14 is a prophetic reminder that the Jews were lost and hopeless prior to being chosen by God, who set them apart and blessed them in great abundance. 

There are exceptionally harsh words for the Jews in Eze 16:15-34. They let the blessings go to their heads, became self-centered and self-indulgent, ignoring God and turning to other kings and gods.

The consequences for taking God and His blessings for granted are severe. We hear them prophesied in Eze 16:35-47. God will not be treated without reverence and respect. Judgment will fall on Israel and its neighbors. The harshest punishment, however, is reserved for God's chosen people who should have known better (Eze 16:48-52). 

While the consequences are going to be painful, God remembers His covenant and promise to redeem His people. Redemption will come by His grace, not by their altered behavior (Eze 16:59-60). When the Jews receive His grace, they will repent and turn from their evil ways (Eze 16:61-63).

Repentance comes after grace. We can't change our behavior to get into God's good favor. His grace changes us, transforms us from people who are lost and unable to keep His laws into people who grieve over their sin and long for His righteousness. This is at the core of what is being prophesied over the Jews in Ezekiel. 

This is one of the over-arching patterns we see in the Bible narrative. Many would like to believe that the Old Testament was about the Law and the New Testament is about grace. That would seem to be true if one only takes a glancing look at the Old Testament. As we have seen in a careful reading, grace always comes before the Law, even in the Old Testament. Adam received God's grace in the garden prior to hearing about the trees. Delivery from Egypt came before the Law was delivered at Sinai. 

The true message of the New Testament is that God's grace is what transforms His people. They become obedient because they receive grace. They do not become obedient in order to receive grace.

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