Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 10-11:25; Hebrews 6:1-20; Psalm 105:16-36; Proverbs 27:1-2
In a vision similar to the one he had earlier, Ezekiel sees the glory of God depart from the Temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 10:18-19). About 400 years earlier God had called Israel into a relationship with Him. But over time the people became less and less interested. Instead they were distracted by other things and other gods. God spent much time trying to regain their attention and devotion with no success. They had made it clear that they weren’t interested. So God left.
When He left, Israel no longer had the protection that God offered and shortly thereafter they were invaded and conquered by Babylon. My fear is that the United States is following the same path. The rate at which we are pushing God out of our society is accelerating at a frightening pace. There is no way we can expect to return to anything close to our glory days if we continue like this. What we need is a spiritual awakening in America where people turn back to God.
Even though God had let Israel be conquered and her people dispersed, He still promised to live up to the unilateral agreement He had made with Abraham hundreds of years before (Ezekiel 11:16). At some point in the future (relative to this passage) God would regather the Jewish people from all over globe back to the land He had driven them from.
Obviously there can be no doubt that this happened exactly as promised. Jewish people began migrating back to what is now Israel in the late 1800s and in 1948 the country of Israel was officially reestablished in fulfillment of this promise.
But not only that, God also promises that someday the Jewish people will return to Him spiritually (Ezekiel 11:18-20). This prophecy has not yet been fulfilled but as we’ll see as we keep reading, it will come to fulfillment in the time when Jesus reigns on the earth for 1,000 years after His return.
The author of Hebrews addresses the spiritual growth (or lack thereof) of his audience (Hebrews 1:1-2) today. He urges them to move forward in their understanding. There is so much to know about God. One could study the Bible for decades and not learn all (or every half) of what there is know. Once someone comes to believe in Jesus for salvation (a very basic belief) that person must continue to increase her knowledge and understanding (Hebrews 1:3).
The reason we must continue to read and study the Bible after we become Christians is because the deeper our roots, the more stable we will be. Those who don’t put down strong biblical roots are at risk of falling away (Hebrews 6:4-7). Apparently the readers of this letter were discouraged in their service to God (Hebrews 6:10). But they needed to continue in their service to prevent themselves from becoming spiritually indifferent (Hebrews 6:12).
It is this indifference that can lead people to look for fulfillment somewhere other than God. But all that is really needed is a solid understanding – deeper roots. People who are young in the faith should follow the example of those who have learned to persevere through doubt(Hebrews 6:12b). We all have doubts at some point, just as these people did. But we don’t conquer doubt by giving in to it. We conquer doubt by persevering through it.
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