Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday, September 21st: Ezekiel 3-4, John 9:1-23 ~ Conrad

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Ezekiel 3-4, John 9:1-23

Today's reading begins with Ezekiel being told to eat the scroll given to him by God, and then speak those words to the house of Israel.  I found it interesting because God is talking and giving direction to Ezekiel, but it does not indicate that Ezekiel says anything back to God.  

I wonder what was going on in Ezekiel's head?  Ezekiel was not only told to go to speak God's words, but to speak to people who would not listen because they were hardened towards God.  Not a very motivating speech to hear when you don't even want to go!

Well, Ezekiel went.  Not because of his own desire, but because God had Ezekiel in His grip and needed Ezekiel to fulfill His plan.  This reminded me that God will use people, including me, who may not feel equipped to bring His plan to fruition.

The instruction that God gives to Ezekiel is to do a good job speaking God's Word to His people.  But here's the catch.......he will only speak when God opens his mouth.  He was not to engage in idle conversation with the exiles.  He was also instructed to remain silent in his house until God gave him the words to speak.  Talk about a lonely job (see what I did there?)

Ezekiel's responsibility was to speak God's word to the house of Israel.  God already knew they wouldn't listen or heed to it.  The people of Israel were disobedient, so God commissioned a ministry of prophetic reproof by His prophet Ezekiel to those people.

Are we like the house of Israel?  How do we react if someone challenges our walk with God?  Do we listen with open ears, or turn our heads and walk away?  What if we see a fellow Christian on a slippery slope, do we come along side to help them?  Or do we find pleasure in finding their faults and pointing them out to others?

In chapter 4, Ezekiel becomes an actor.....sort of.  He was to act out the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem.  The purpose?  To attract attention.  And I'm sure he did!  I found it interesting that God instructed him to lye on his left side while prophesying against the sins of Israel and lye on his right side when prophesying against the sins of Judah.  I found it comical when Ezekiel felt he had to draw the line in verse 14 with cooking his food over human excrement!

In our NT passage we read of another one of Jesus' miracles - healing a blind man.  But this story is about more than just that.  It addresses the concept of sickness as a result of sin.  Even the disciples asked Jesus if it was the man or his parents that sinned to cause this man's blindness from birth.

So why does God permit sickness like this to happen?  In verse 3 we read, "but that the works of God might be displayed in him."   Satan does his work at night when it is dark, so that evil can hide.  Jesus does His work during the day when it is light out, so that all can see His works.

Of course, the healing of the blind man leads to the Pharisees investigating this healing, but again they have more questions than answers.  Ironic how Jesus allowed the blind man to see, and yet others (the Pharisees) remain blind to the miracle.      

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Ezekial 5-7; John 9:24-41


Nathan Reimer said...

The Pharisses were the ones who were truely blind, they had been blind from birth as well. Not physically blind, but spiritually. They were so hardened that they could not except the one sent from God, even though they all new, from all the education they had received their whole lives, that Jesus was coming. I found this ironic, the simple blind man was healed (saved), but the educated men who thought they were wise, remained blind. I pray that I may "see" as Jesus wants me to.

TammyIsBlessed said...

What a discouraging job Ezekiel has. We need to remember that, just like in Ezekiel's case, our success does not depend on whether or not anyone repents because of us, our success depends on whether or not we are obedient to what God has called us to do. It's hard to feel successful with this attitude because it's completely counter-cultural, and yet we need to claim God's truth, not society's, and live by faith.

Pamela said...

Sometimes I marvel at the reactions of the people God calls to do big things. When Ezekiel refuses to cook over human waste, when Moses tells God to send someone else, when Jonah runs the other way...and then I realize that I do the exact same thing. I can't believe that God would do big things through me and I refuses, I believe it is the job of someone else, and I am totally guilty of running away from things.

The story of the blind man reminds me of my very first Grade 1 chapel. I presented this story with my class to the whole school and I can still remember the characters and hearing my Grade 1 friend's voice saying "Jesus said go and wash and so I did". When we listen to God big things can happen. I'm sure the man must have been wondering if the simple act of washing would do anything. However, it was not the washing, but the obedience that healed him.