July 18th

Ezekiel 45-48

  • 45:18-25 – These festivals and others are spelled out in Numbers 23.
  • 46:1-18 – The prince had special instructions on how to handle offerings and other rituals in the temple.
  • 47:1-12 – Clearly this imagery is meant to be a metaphor for something else. Leading Ezekiel through the water of increasing depths may represent God leading us through deeper and deeper depths of trust. The good fruit growing out of the temple’s waters could represent God providing good things for the people.
  • 47:13-23 – The land had to be re-divided between the Israelite tribes now that Israel is back from exile.
  • 48:10 – The temple, though the original one was destroyed, was still designed to be the center of the Israelites’ existence.
  • 48:35 – The Lord is There is one of the many names God is given throughout Scripture to describe something he has done for his people.

July 17th

Ezekiel 40-44

  • 40:1-17 – This is a vision Ezekiel is given regarding what the new temple should look like. The new temple ends up being built in the same place as the old temple and it stood until 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed it.
  • 40:28-49 – This is a continuation of Ezekiel’s vision of what the new temple should look like. Like the first time it was built, there are very specific instructions regarding all the details.
  • 41:1-4 – The Most Holy Place was a place where only the chief priest could go once a year. It was separated from the rest by a curtain. This curtain was torn in half when Jesus died and bridged the gap between us and God.
  • 42:13-20 – The separation between the holy space and the common space was torn when Jesus died for our sins.
  • 43:6-9 – The temple cannot hold the fullness of God, but simply his footstool.
  • 44:9-14 – Though the Levites responsibilities for the temple were not completely revoked, they were punished for leading others to worship foreign gods and idols.
  • 44:28-31 – God assured that the Levite priests were well taken care of so they didn’t need to acquire wealth anyway other than how God provided for them.

July 16th

Ezekiel 37-39

  • 37:1-14 – Ezekiel’s prophecies over the dry bones give hope that God can restore Israel even though their situation seems hopeless and their nation seems lifeless.
  • 37:15-23 – God promises to reunite Israel and Judah and to, once again, be their God.
  • 38:14-23 – Though Gog had seen success against Israel, God makes it clear that Israel will rise again and it will not bode well for Gog.
  • 39:1-16 – This is the continuation of the prophecy against Gog. Gog had not appeared in Scripture until the last chapter. Gog is an individual who has opposed Israel and will be punished because of it.
  • 39:21-29 – God explains that though Israel was disobedient and he punished them, he will soon restore them back to prominence and proliferation.

July 15th

Ezekiel 34-36

  • 34:2 – This is not referring to shepherds of white fluffy animals, but the leaders of the Israelites who were supposed to be leading them towards God.
  • 34:7-10 – God was not pleased with the leaders’ negligence towards the people, so God committed to rescuing the people.
  • 34:20-24 – God is referring to Jesus here when he talks about bringing all his people together under one. Jesus was in the line of David.
  • 35:1-15 – Mount Seir was a series of mountains marking the southeastern border of Judah. Clearly the people that inhabited the region had disobeyed God and would face punishment and the land would be made desolate.
  • 35:15 – So many of the prophecies and oracles end with the statement, “then they will know that I am the Lord” or something similar. The destruction and difficulty God was sending to these nations had a purpose. Clearly they were previously unaware that God was God alone, or they were simply unwilling for that truth to inform how they lived.
  • 36:8-15 – Not all the prophecies were bad. God promises to reestablish and repopulate the mountains of Israel. Here too he says that they will know he is God, but this time it’s because of the good he does for them.
  • 36:26 – A powerful verse describing how we become when we choose sin over and over again and then how God restores and transforms us.

July 14th

Ezekiel 31-33

  • 31:1-18 – Egypt once grew to great prominence, particularly when Joseph was there and stored and sold grain during a 7-year famine. Because of its prominence, Egypt became prideful and turned from God. Because of this, Pharaoh was doomed to death.
  • 32:1-15 – The lament over Egypt in yesterday’s reading had a similar conclusion, “then they will know that I am the Lord.”
  • 33:1-9 – Ezekiel was tasked with sharing God’s messages of repentance to Israel. If he did so and the Israelites did not turn away from their sins, their destruction was on their own heads. If Ezekiel didn’t share the message, their destruction was on him.
  • 33:10-20 – God does not and did not delight in destroying people. He gave them every opportunity to turn around, but they continued to choose not to.

July 13th

Ezekiel 28-30

  • 28:1-10 – This is a prophecy against the prince of Tyre because he has placed himself above God. This is always going to be a bad idea.
  • 28:11-19 – The King of Tyre had at one time been in God’s good graces, but had since turned to unfaithfulness and had become a laughing stock.
  • 28:20-23 – The city of Sidon was also unfaithful and set to be destroyed. Tyre and Sidon, in the New Testament are often used as examples of what not to be, similar to Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • 28:24-26 – God promises to bring Israel back together after Israel and return to it.
  • 29:1-21 – This is a prophecy against Egypt. Notice that in verses 9 and 10, it is explained that Egypt’s punishment is partially because the people tried to put themselves in the place of God by saying they created the Nile.
  • 30:1-26 – The explanation of Egypt’s punishment continues and the hearer is assured that by the end of what Egypt will face, they will have no doubt who God is.

July 12th

Ezekiel 25-27

  • 25:1-7 – This is a prophecy against the Ammonites. This, and the condemning prophecies to follow are reminiscent of Jeremiah’s oracles against the nations in chapters 46-51.
  • 27:1-36 – Tyre was a wealthy city because it was located on a port. But their wealth was where they placed their pride, which ultimately led to destruction. This section is a lament over the rise and fall of Tyre.

July 11th

Ezekiel 22-24

  • 22:6-12 – God reminds the leaders of Israel of their sins. It is known that the Babylonians and Ammonites, who God would use to destroy Jerusalem, also had great sins against God’s law, but since they were not God’s chosen people, they were not subject to God’s law.
  • 22:18-19 – Dross of metals is the impurities that float to the top when purifying it. When you melt silver, impurities rise to the top and are scraped off to assure the purity of the precious metal. Israel has now become the throw away portion of what was once precious.
  • 23:1-21 – This message from God compares Jerusalem and Syria to two promiscuous sisters. These two people groups were first God’s, but then they offered themselves to many others and ultimately God turned away from them because of their unfaithfulness.
  • 23:22-35 – Jerusalem’s consequences for unfaithfulness are spelled out.
  • 24:15-24 – God uses Ezekiel’s life, yet again, to serve as a mirror for the Israelites to see what is about to happen to them. Ezekiel’s wife dies and he is not allowed to mourn. The Israelites will also soon lose what is most valuable to them, the temple.

July 10th

Ezekiel 19-21

  • 20:8-13 – This section mentions “profaning the Sabbath” as a way of dishonoring God. This is what the religious leaders in Jesus’ day thought he was doing when he healed on the Sabbath. But there’s a big difference. Jesus’ “work” on the Sabbath was to love and care for God’s people. “Profaning the Sabbath” is for one’s own gain.
  • 20:15-17 – God did punish the Israelites by not allowing them into the Promised Land, but he could have, with justification, wiped them out right then. Instead, he simply made them wait to enter the Promised Land. The next generation was allowed in.
  • 20:30-31 – The reason God says he won’t answer the Israelites’ inquiries is because they have spent their time crying out to every other god at every opportunity.
  • 20:40-44 – The Israelites will have to endure punishment but the Lord promises to bring them back to himself and restore them.
  • 21:1-17 – God has Ezekiel prophesy against Jerusalem letting them know that God has drawn his sword and will soon slay the wicked. This has to be terrifying to hear.
  • 21:18-32 – God will use the Babylonians and Ammonites to wield his sword against Jerusalem.

July 9th

Ezekiel 16-18

  • 16:1-14 – God reminds Jerusalem that it is he who made the city great. It was nothing without him.
  • 16:15-22 – When they refer to Jerusalem “whoring”, it means that Jerusalem would give itself to any available idol worship or other god that presented itself. Jerusalem was not faithful to God.
  • 16:30-34 – God explains that Jerusalem’s actions weren’t even as beneficial as a prostitute’s. Even a prostitute gets some reward for her sins.
  • 16:44-58 – The Israelites looked down on places like Sodom and Samaria for their sins and because they did not have the special bond with God that the Israelites had. Here God puts the Israelites in their place by placing them lower than those nations.
  • 16:59-63 – As poorly as the Israelites have held to their covenant with God, God reiterates his commitment to the covenant.
  • 17:11-21 – These verses explain the parable found earlier in the chapter. The parable tells of Jerusalem/Judah’s unfaithfulness. They trusted in the power of other nations instead of that of God. Judah’s fate for unfaithfulness is destruction.
  • 17:22-24 – Yes! We’re talking about Jesus here. All kinds of people will find rest with Christ and social statuses will flip flop.
  • 18:5-9 – There are many more laws listed in other parts of the Old Testament, but this list is meant to be general guidelines. If you’ve done these things, God will look with favor upon you.
  • 18:10-13 – Though not an exhaustive list of sins, definitely avoid these things.
  • 18:14-20 – This is good news! There had been instances of people being punished for their parents’ sins.
  • 18:26-29 – This reminds us that God is just and forgiving. Israel was the wicked one with every opportunity to turn away from sin. God would have forgiven them.