Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Month: August 2019 Page 1 of 6

World Affairs – and Spirits

August 29 – Today’s Readings – Ezekiel 28-30 and Psalms 59

There is complex Biblical thought found in Ezekiel 28. Here is the gist of it – behind all natural power and authority – nations and leaders and civilizations – there is SPIRITUAL power and authority.

In These chapters the city-state of Tyre, and in particular the king of Tyre is targeted by God for judgment. It is sure that the human king of Tyre was brought low because of his pride – but the real issue here was the “spiritual power” in Tyre – (Lucifer-the Devil)

“The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.” (Ezekiel 28:11-17)

Do you see the great Biblical mystery? There are “principalities and powers” at work in this world. They are behind the scenes because; the “natural eye” can’t see them but they are very visible to God and to all those who “see” Biblically. This is why Paul says in Ephesians 6:10-13; “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

This enemy is the same one who deceived Adam and Eve, throwing the entire world into the chaos of sin. Thank God – we have overcome Him by Jesus, the One who crushed the serpent’s head!

Questions:

1. Give another example from Scripture of “Spiritual Beings” working behind the scenes in world affairs.
2. Give an example from recent history where it was obvious that spiritual beings were at work in the affairs of this world.

Does The Father Really Discipline?

August 28 – Today’s Readings – Ezekiel 25-27 and Psalms 58

These three chapters teach us an important truth – God is not impressed when any nation, people or spiritual force come against His own people – this is true even when God is in the process of “dealing” with these people because of their sin. For several chapters now, we have been reading about God’s judgment of Israel’s sin. In His desire to bring that nation to its knees in repentance He has made things extremely uncomfortable for them. In this passage however, God now turns His attention and severe judgement towards the real enemies of Israel. (God is never the enemy of the Church nor of His children)

The application or lesson of this reading? – God does discipline those He loves, chastising them to bring them to a place of repentance or maturity.

“And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:5-11)

The enemies of the Church are and always have been the enemies of God and He will deal with those evil forces with severity. When the end comes, judgment will be complete upon all the evil in this world – but the children of light will have their eternal reward!

“For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet, rejoicing with all the malice of your heart against the land of Israel, therefore I will stretch out my hand against you and give you as plunder to the nations. I will cut you off from the nations and exterminate you from the countries. I will destroy you, and you will know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 25:6-7)

Questions:

1. When we go ‘off course’, does God make things uncomfortable for us even today?
2. Give an example of this “discipline”.
3. Give another example from Scripture where God judged the sin of His people, but dealt severely with His people’s enemies.

The Sin Problem

August 27 – Today’s Readings – Ezekiel 22-24 and Psalms 57

What a horrible and graphic account of a nation living in sin and ignoring God’s will. Here the Lord compares Israel’s lifestyle with that of a woman whose only desire is to have as many lust-filled, sexual relationships as possible. God doesn’t hide the fact that this lifestyle can be very pleasant (physically). He even goes into lurid detail concerning the “lovers” genitalia! Let there be no mistake – people who are living primarily to please themselves do so for a reason BUT when you live simply to fulfill the desires of the flesh you have ignore the eternal outcome of selfishness, which is separation from God – “But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,” (Romans 8:10-13)

We too must be careful to keep our hearts on things above – not only on things of the earth. We live in a day and an hour when there is much idolatry all around us – both in the objects or the people that are worshiped and in the promiscuity that is so readily at hand.

There is a verse in the middle of all this that stood out for me – Chapter 22:30; “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”

This is an amazing verse considering the context of the book of Ezekiel that focuses so much on the judgment of God. Here was the Lord seeking a person who would pray – who would lead – who would build – who would bring the people to repentance so that they might be saved. He found none! The great news of course is that HE SENT ONE! Jesus is the one who stood in the gap for us and continues to stand in the gap. Without this great intercessor and advocate we would be in exactly the same boat as the people of Ezekiel’s time. Here’s the most interesting news – God also calls His children to stand in the gap – to be ambassadors for Him toward a lost and dying world.

2 Corinthians 5:20 reads “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

Questions:

1. In which ways can today’s society be compared to Ezekiel’s “adulterous” one?
2. How do we best reach out to a society which has sought after the pleasures of the flesh rather than God?

I Will Trust

August 26 – Today’s Readings – Ezekiel 19-21 and Psalms 56

Let me take a break from Ezekiel today and focus on a thought from Psalms 56:3&11 and Romans 8:38-39 – “When I am afraid, I will trust in you… in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” – “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It is a wonderful thing to be free of fear – to be relaxed in the knowledge that God is in control – even when it seems that “all hell” is breaking loose.

There have been several occasions I my life when my earthly existence literally rested in “the balance” – whether facing serious surgery or some other life-threatening medical trial – fighting some medical complication, systemic infection or large blood clot – these kinds of things are perfect opportunities for Christians to grow in “trust”. Let me encourage you so that if you or a loved one faces tribulation in the coming months, you will be prepared spiritually. NOW is the time to place your physical life (your body and your health) in God’s hands. Once you have put them in His care, LEAVE THEM THERE! When it comes time to speak to the Lord while facing a physical trial, you have already “positioned yourself” in faith. The test comes as you realize that things are really completely out of your control and only God Himself must be trusted. This is an uncomfortable feeling, but know this – when you have placed your life in the hands of the Lord, nothing can hasten your going to heaven prematurely. Your life is His and as long as His plan for your life is incomplete, you will be around for a while longer.

The worst thing that can happen to a Christian when facing an extreme physical trial is to start playing “mind games” with God – “but God, you promised in your Word!” – or “God what is wrong with my faith that these things are happening to me?” No – these times of trial are a perfect occasion to rest in your secure relationship with Him – knowing that He loves you more than anything and that He is with you – very close to you – even though you may not be “feeling it”.

Let me say however, that your “resting place” in God is not the same as being spiritually or physically inactive. When something goes amuck, you speak to the situation – this is what Jesus did – this is what the Apostles did. You already know where all the “bad stuff” in this world comes from – these things are the enemies of God and Jesus died to eradicate all of God’s enemies. The last enemy to be conquered, of course is death itself but in the meantime we speak to all troubled situations concerning the perfect will of God – things contrary to what we know are good and perfect. How do you identify these things? Think of the Garden of Eden before the sin of Adam and Eve – now think of how heaven will be – then you will understand what the perfect will of God is!

Questions:

1. Give another Scriptural example of a person facing death but God preserving their life because it was not their time yet.
2. Tell about a trial where God preserved your life.

Allegory

August 25 – Today’s Readings – Ezekiel 16-18 and Psalms 55

“On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised. Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, ‘Live’!” (Ezekiel 16:4-6)

“Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine.” (Ezekiel 16:8)

“…and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head.” (Ezekiel 16:12)

“So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen.” (Ezekiel 16:13)

“But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his.” (Ezekiel 16:15)

Chapter 16 is one of the most graphic allegories in all Holy Scripture. Here we see the passion that Jehovah-God feels for His people. We hear the heart ache in His words when His people go astray – we feel His desperate desire for them to return to Him – we understand that we mean more to Him than anything – we can almost touch His tears. How does the Lord see His people when they live “adulterous” lives? – Like a dearly beloved wife or even a daughter committing prostitution!

There are few things in Scripture that motivate me more in my relationship with Jesus than when I realize He has such strong feelings toward me and that it is possible for me to break His heart. I’m so thankful that His grace has been poured out in the power of the Holy Spirit so that the “seed” of God within me wants to run away from sin. He has placed a desire in us to do right and not to do evil any more. He has given us the desire to run to Him – not run away from Him – to be constantly in His love. “Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (Jude 21)

– This is what we do – this is how we walk – because He first loved us with an everlasting love!

Questions:

1. What kinds of things could be considered spiritual adultery against the Lord?
2. Why is it that some people seem to have so little sense of covenant with God – and go astray?

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