I’ve been reading in Ezekiel and it is interesting to read all of the actions of God. So often we act as if He is not moving. We even complain as if we have the harder part to fulfill in the relationship between us and God. But the truth is that we aren’t asked to do more than He ever did for us.
In Ezekiel 20, we read that He led, He brought, He gave, He made known, and He gave. He did all of these things so that the people would know Him. Isn’t that awesome?!? It’s something we don’t often grasp. Everything points back to the relationship between man and God. God wants us to know Him. He wants to have a relationship with us. And He has taken the first step, the second step, and many steps that followed those steps.
Today, consider the arms of the Father that are reaching out for you. How are you reacting to those arm? Are you too busy for your Father? Are you missing out on what He offers because you are fixed elsewhere? Do you know little of Who God is because you spend so little time with Him? Examine your relationship. Take a step forward. Sit down today and enjoy His presence, chew upon His Word, and praise His great name!
“So I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live. Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them.” – Ezekiel 20:10-12
God wants to be your God. Isn’t that awesome? God offers us the greatest blessing—Himself! How great is our God? How blessed are we?
In the Old Testament we read about the Tabernacle. It was God’s way of creating a way for His presence to dwell on earth in the midst of His people. Later Solomon built the Temple and God’s glory went into the Temple. Disobedience caused God’s glory to depart from the Temple (see Ezekiel 10), but God had other plans.
In John 1, we read that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (ESV). Once again God sent up a tent. The Tabernacle was back. Jesus walked the earth. After Jesus was crucified and rose again, He sent us the Advocate, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit—to dwell within us. We became the temple. And one day Revelation promises that God’s glory will fill the entire earth. He wants to be your God. How awesome is that?
“I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” – Genesis 17:7-8 [NIV]
A singleness of heart . An united heart. An undivided heart. A fixed heart. A heart for God. A single purpose. A tender, responsive heart. An obedient heart. A heart sensitive to God (ISV, GW, NLT, NIV).
God promised this heart to His people. For so long the people were divided. For so long they were sometimes following Him and other times following other gods. There was no true repentance because of their stony hearts.
God has given us the opportunity to be rid of our stony heart and have a heart that is sensitive to Him, a heart that brings us to our knees, that repents, that desires to do the will of God, and that seeks Him and Him alone. If you want God to change your heart and give you His Spirit, ask and be ready to receive.
“And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart.” – Ezekiel 11:19 [NLT]
Many times we see the commands of the Bible as obligations, as rules that keep us from something that might be enjoyable. But when you actually look at the commands, you can see a loving Father who is trying to do what is best for His children. The Sabbath day was given to us as a gift of rest, not as an obligation. Yet some people find reasons not to accept this gift because something else is more appealing.
God gave us the Sabbath as a day to rest. God gave us the Sabbath day to remind us that He is the Lord. God gave us the Sabbath day as a beautiful gift. It is just that.
Many years ago I was working so much that I didn’t have a day of rest. It made for a bad life. Not only was I not living healthy, but I also was not able to spend the time I need to with God. Slowly I got back this gift from God. Today I can say I no longer work on the Sabbath. It is a day to rest for my family. We have family time. We read. We worship. We watch football or a movie. We enjoy what God has given us and we thank Him for this gift. Life is very different because of this gift of rest.
“And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the LORD, who had set them apart to be holy.” – Ezekiel 20:12 [NLT]
My children can always get me laughing. They have this secret talent which I’m sure will never be a claim to fame. They can sing all of the commercial jingles for all of the restaurant establishments that appear on television. From Subway’s, “Five Dollar Foot Long Jingle,” to Chili’s “Baby Back Ribs Jingle,” they know the words and the melody. So what do you like to eat? The Bible says we are to eat the Word.
Some people hear that and find it puzzling. Who eats the Word? It’s written on paper. Well it was good enough for Ezekiel. God said, “Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you“ (Ezekiel 2:8b NASB). Ezekiel ate a scroll fed to him by God, and “it was sweet as honey“ (3:3). When Jeremiah was praying to God, he said, “Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart” (Jeremiah 15:16a NASB).
So are we to eat the Word? Deuteronomy 8:8 states, “that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD” (NASB). We are to ingest the Word, so we must eat it. The question then is how do we eat the Word, because we aren’t supposed to follow suit in the manner of Ezekiel. Ephesians 6:18 tells us the manner to follow this directive is through prayer and petition. Simply put, we pray and read our Bibles.
We can get busy with our daily lives. It seems like when we are not working, we are still busy with something to keep us occupied or on the move. At times we neglect to read the Word enough. Now Jeremiah said that when He ate the Word, it was “the delight of (his) heart.” I feel the same way. Every morning I aim to start my day off with my daily devotionals and my own personal Bible reading. If I get through the reading and the devotionals, I have a good start to my day. I feel better. It’s like I had a spoonful of honey. If something came up and my plan was derailed, my day starts off bad from the beginning, and the rest of the day is a steady decline until I get my Bible open.
Perhaps you are making some pasta for dinner tonight or maybe you treating the family to some fine dining. Maybe you have a lot on the schedule and you will have to sneak in a quick meal at some fast food place. No matter where you eat, take some time to eat the Word. The Word is great for your body, great for your mind, and it’s always good to chew on.