Are you a leader in any arena? If so, you’ll notice that leadership comes with responsibility. If you’re a leader, that means you have followers and that ultimately means that you are, at least in part, responsible for those who follow you. In today’s Ezekiel reading we see examples of good and bad leadership. Ezekiel heeded the call of leadership and shared God’s message with the people. At the same time, many religious leaders led people away from God and towards other gods. Leadership should always be taken seriously.
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.
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.
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.
7-10 – God was not pleased with the leaders’ negligence towards the people, so God committed to rescuing the people.
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.
1-2 – This reminds us to be kind and caring to everyone in our midst.
4-5 – The things believers should and shouldn’t do stay pretty consistent throughout the New Testament.
15-16 – To be faithful we need to praise God and serve others.
1-8 – A great deal of the Bible is focused on who we should focus on and worship. Too often we get distracted and choose to offer our affections elsewhere.
These tools and metals are referring to a purifying process. This is to suggest that a fool cannot be separated from his folly.
It is in our nature to question things. Often, we question God’s goodness because of things in the world we don’t like. We wonder if God is fair. We often forget that we actually don’t want God to be fair because we would be in a world of hurt if he was. Today’s Psalm reminds us that God is faithful even when we’re sinful. This is the kind of unfair we can really get behind.
12-23 – God makes it clear that any one of the four acts of destroying an unfaithful city would suffice, but he has committed to all four acts against Jerusalem.
1-8 – The vine is Jerusalem. God makes it clear that Jerusalem will be completely useless and easy to destroy now that it is separated from God.
1-14 – God reminds Jerusalem that it is he who made the city great. It was nothing without him.
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.
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.
18-22 – This is a continuation of yesterday’s comparison between Melchizedek and Jesus. This continues to describe Jesus as superior to Melchizedek.
28 – God still uses sinful people for his purposes, but we still have to look to Jesus, who was perfect, for salvation.
6-12 – This psalm reminds us of God’s faithfulness even in the midst of our failings.
5 – Open rebuke gives a person an opportunity to self-correct. Hidden love has good intentions but doesn’t actually help the other out.
Think of this as the greatest sequel ever. It is the story of Jesus continued, but through the Holy Spirit. And unlike most sequels, the new character they introduce is just incredible. Though all hope was lost at the crucifixion, Acts proves that Jesus was nowhere near finished.
In the second half of Matthew, Jesus continues to fulfill prophecy, perform miracles, and stress and model the importance of humbling yourself and serving in order to lead. Matthew ends with The Great Commission, Jesus’ final command to disciples both then and now. Don’t miss it!
If you’ve ever read the stories of Abraham and/or Noah, you’ve read about a covenant. You may have read over that part quickly or moved right on to singing “Father Abraham” or looking outside for rainbows, but God’s covenants with humanity are central to our faith and our eternity. Take a few minutes to learn a little more about God’s covenants.