Read:   Ezekiel 4:1-5:17

Focus:
Therefore, I myself, the Sovereign LORD, am now your enemy.  Ezekiel 5:8  

Ezekiel is called by God to act out a prophecy against Israel and Judah that will last well over a year.  He is in Babylon, hundreds of miles away, but he’s driving home the point to the Jews in exile there that the punishment of God for idolatry and sin is severe.   So in the streets of Babylon, he built a replica of Jerusalem and acts out the punishment that was coming to that city (prophets tend to be a little weird);  a reminder for those in exile to turn back to their God.  For God’s plan was to restore them, to forgive them and to carry them through.

In the midst of this passage God declares that He is now the enemy of His people.  This is a terrifying statement – that God would turn on His people and destroy 2/3rds of them because of their lack of faithfulness to Him.  What happened to grace and mercy?

God had been patient with His people for a very long time – warning, wooing, punishing and forgiving them over and over and over again.  It was never God’s heart to punish them this severely, but it was their choice as they continued to rebel against Him.  Ultimately, this is what it would take to turn their hearts back to their God.  Ultimately, this was God’s mercy on His people.  God became their enemy for a short time so that He didn’t have to be their enemy for all time.

A loving father truly will do whatever it takes to redeem his children.  Sometimes it takes tough love.  For us, we have a choice daily to listen to the warnings of God in our hearts, the wooing of God, even the punishment of God, and to walk in the forgiveness of God.  We can learn from the lessons of old – what happens when we harden our hearts and continue to rebel against God.  You can choose whether you will be an enemy of God or a kid of the King.  Make the wise choice…choose Him today!

Prayer:
Father – help me to hear Your voice in my heart and follow Your lead.  I turn from the things that are wrong in my life and turn toward You now.  If there is anything I need to start or stop doing, please let me know, and help me to follow You, to walk with You, to be Your friend and Your child this day.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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