The Sins of the People hurt God: Bible Survey for New Christians

March 11th, 2009

Ezekiel 20:5–26

Summary:
story of their rebellions in the wilderness

 20:5.  "Say to them, `Thus says the Lord God: "On the day when I chose Israel and lifted My hand in an oath to the descendants of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I lifted My hand in an oath to them, saying, `I am the Lord your God.'
 20:6.  "On that day I lifted My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, flowing with milk and honey, the glory of all lands.
 20:7.  "Then I said to them, `Each of you, throw away the abominations which are before his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.'
 20:8.  "But they rebelled against Me and would not obey Me. They did not all cast away the abominations which were before their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said, `I will pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.'
 20:9.  "But I acted for My name's sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles among whom they were, in whose sight I had made Myself known to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
 20:10.  "Therefore I made them go out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness.
 20:11.  "And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments, `which, if a man does, he shall live by them.'
 20:12.  "Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.
 20:13.  "Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, which, if a man does, he shall live by them; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them.
 20:14.  "But I acted for My name's sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out.
 20:15.  "So I also lifted My hand in an oath to them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, the glory of all lands,
 20:16.  "because they despised My judgments and did not walk in My statutes, but profaned My Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols.
 20:17.  "Nevertheless My eye spared them from destruction. I did not make an end of them in the wilderness.
 20:18.  "But I said to their children in the wilderness, `Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols.
 20:19.  `I am the Lord your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them;
 20:20.  `hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.'
 20:21.  "Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, and were not careful to observe My judgments, `which, if a man does, he shall live by them'; but they profaned My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the wilderness.
 20:22.  "Nevertheless I withdrew My hand and acted for My name's sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out.
 20:23.  "Also I lifted My hand in an oath to those in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the Gentiles and disperse them throughout the countries,
 20:24.  "because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes, profaned My Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers' idols.
 20:25.  "Therefore I also gave them up to statutes that were not good, and judgments by which they could not live;
 20:26.  "and I pronounced them unclean because of their ritual gifts, in that they caused all their firstborn to pass through the fire, that I might make them desolate and that they might know that I am the Lord.'' '

Comments:

Through the old testament, God has repeatedly spoken of the promises that he has in store. He has made covenants. He has made the conditions of these things known. Live as he intended us to live, practice morality, and honor him. The promises of God being spoken of are those that go back to jacob. God's promise was also to be delivered from Egypt, and back to the promised land that flowed with milk and honey. They were to be separate from the world, in that they were to worship God, not earthly things or people.

To live disobediently is to choose to cut ourselves off from God. It opens the door to misery and being oppressed by the powers of this world. Notice this list of abominations, or sins. Though the ten commandmends list sins that affect both God and men, these are those that affect God directly.

They worshipped idols. Idols are little man made things. A hunk of wood, stone, metal, or some material, that some person decides that it represents a god, or is somehow instilled with some supernatural power. We still have idols. We may not seriously believe they have a supernatural connection, but we still have them. Think of the man made objects that fill our lives. The objects that we get pleasure from. Have you ever experienced a computer crash and lost all your data? "Oh no! All my documents, all my addresses, my whole life was in there!" I know. I've said it myself on a few crashes of my own.

Not that objects are either good or evil. It's how we treat them, and how we use the resources that God gave us.

What was the purpose of the 10 plagues on Egypt? According to this passage, it was God's wake up call to the Israelites to draw them away from the Egyptian gods they had been serving while enslaved in Egypt. It also made it clear to all the nations that the power of God was higher than any other.

The nation of Israel was still far from being the godly people that they needed to be. God stepped in to remove them when they didn't deserve it. It was just as much to prove to the gentile nations that they belonged to a powerful God. The only true God.

It was while they wandered in the wilderness of sin, when God gave them his commandments. God spent time trying to establish his laws with them. He gave them the concept of the Sabbath at that time. A symbol for the people to observe that would be an easy demonstration that they understood and worshipped God. God's laws were being rejected, even then. It caused the people to continue to wander in their sin.

God was determined to set up his promise with this people. If not because they deserved it, because it glorified him and would suit his purposes. The older generation clung to their ways. The people stayed in their wandering condition until their children grew up and showed they practiced obedience to God's laws, and observed the Sabbath as a sign of that obedience.

Just as the older people, and their lifestyle had to die off, we can use that model in our lives. Our old ways may be strongly engrained. It's time to recognize those areas as the dead wood that they are. Let those bad habits die off. Start new practices that are dedicated to honoring God. He wants the best for each of us. He wants us to prosper, and he wants us to let him be part of the things we do.

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