“Oh, Oh, Not ‘Leftovers’ Again!”

[The First in the Series on The Book Of Malachi]

Malachi 1:6-14 Commentary

Do you like leftovers?  I asked myself the same question and my answer varied somewhat.  I love leftover cold pizza for breakfast the next morning, and if there’s enough leftover, the following morning too.  But if I wasn’t too crazy about a particular dinner meal the first time, I certainly didn’t want leftovers the next day, or any other day, for that matter!  But how many of us would dare to serve our leftovers to an invited honored guest for dinner?  It might just be delicious, but we simply couldn’t do it.  Instead, we most likely want to make an impression and give our very best!  We want to make it memorable for our guests.

And so, we should also strive to give our very best to God!

Malachi is speaking to a nation that has compromised many of the standards set down in God’s Word.  They’ve gotten comfortable with life in the world and put God in the backseat.  They are dishonoring God and not giving Him their best.  And this brings me to this passage of Scripture in the Book of Malachi.

Malachi 1:6-11 (NIV)

[6]  “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty.  “It is you priests who show contempt for my name.  But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?”

[7]  “By offering defiled food on my altar. But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’  “By saying that the LORD’s table is contemptible.

[8]  “When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the LORD Almighty.

[9]  “Now plead with God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will He accept you?” says the LORD Almighty.

[10]  “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands.

[11]  “My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty.

Malachi reveals a conflict marked by the bickering, the complaining, from God’s chosen people on one side, and the stern warnings of a holy and righteous God on the other.

Have you ever bickered or complained to your parents?  Of course, as children, that’s hard to look back that far, we were always right and our parents were always wrong.  Especially as teenagers.  As a parent on the receiving end, it can certainly be a frustrating experience.

In Malachi, we see the people bickering and arguing with Almighty God!  Look once more at verses 6, 7, and 13:

  • (1:6) “How have we shown contempt for your name?”
  • (1:7)  “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you’?”
  • (1:13) “And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously”

I can just imagine the rolling eyes on that one.  The people had developed their own faulty attitudes and opinions of WHO GOD IS and on the PURPOSE OF WORSHIP:  (1:14b.)  “For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and My name is terrible and to be [reverently] feared among the nations.”

GOD IS HOLY and RIGHTEOUS, A Mighty King whose name is to be feared!

The people had somehow in the comfort found in the ‘same-O, same-O,’ attitude that they had lost their focus on who God is.  They got caught up in themselves and the rituals of worship and lost sight on the purpose of their worship.  Their attitudes toward God and toward worship had strayed from the Commandment in Deuteronomy 6:5…

The people began to bicker or argue with God.  They adopted an attitude that they were more righteous and more holy than God Himself.  When confronted with their offensive attitude and actions, they were, in essence, saying to God,

“Are you talking to me?  Surely you’re not talking to me!  I’m doing just fine!”

They refused to hear from God!

They refused to believe they could be wrong!

They refused to swallow their pride and turn back to God in repentance!

Now I know.  It’s easy to point fingers at these hypocritical people, saying, “Wow…They just didn’t get it, did they?”  But what about us?

What is our attitude toward God and toward worship? 

Are we holding on to our arrogance and pride instead of listening to the Holy Spirit? 

Our attitude toward God and toward worship has an impact on others around us.  They might not say anything to us, but they’re watching.  As Christian believers, we are being watched with great scrutiny.  Our attitude will either cause others to stumble or will draw them closer to God.  Keep in mind that according to God’s Word in 1 Peter 2:9, we as believers in Christ Jesus, are now a royal priesthood…“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 

Don’t you just love that last part?  Instead of an attitude of bickering, complaining, or arguing, God will be honored and revered when we proclaim His praises!

Malachi 1:11 again…”For from the rising of the sun to its setting My name shall be great among the nations, and in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and indeed a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.”

Did you get that? “A pure offering”?  Arguing, bickering voices “aren’t gonna cut it” in the life of a believer!  Our purpose is to proclaim God’s praises because His name shall be great among the nations.

The bickering wasn’t the only characteristic of their worship.  As we can see in the passage of Scripture in chapter one, the worship of the one true God had become burdensome… (v. 13a)

“You say also, Behold, what drudgery and weariness this is!”

The WORSHIP had become an empty ritual that they engaged weekend after weekend, day after day, to maintain tradition rather than to please a holy and righteous God.  It was being done out of obligation instead of being done out of love.

Have you ever asked your children to do the dishes after dinner, and you get a little “attitude” in return?  Oh, the dishes eventually get done, but they did the absolute minimum to meet their obligation.

You mean to tell me they didn’t do it with a cheerful attitude full of love and gratefulness to you as their parent?

With that in mind, now scale it up into the priest’s attitude in their worship of God.  It was bad enough that the people of God lost their first love.  What made it worse was that they actually thought their religious performance was acceptable to Him!

God’s desire is for us to worship Him and serve Him with pleasure, with joy, with cheerfulness.

A question I’ve often asked myself over the years, do I find real joy in worship, or is it just a ritual?  Do we “do” certain things, like go to church for example, because it’s something your just supposed to do or is expected of you?  Do you find yourself wanting to do less and less for God?  It’s very easy to become burned out spiritually, physically, and emotionally from serving.  If you only use 20% of your body, you’ll burn out those over-used parts while the unused parts of your body atrophy.  This isn’t the way God intended for a healthy body to function!  Similarly, if a church body continues to use the same 20% of its members, they’ll burn out as well while the rest of the body atrophies!

God has a function and purpose for each one of us to fulfill in the body of Christ.

We can choose to tackle our purpose grudgingly (or not at all), or we can choose to pursue it with great expectations!  God knows that we can fall into a trap of becoming tired and discouraged in ministry, yet He wants us to push on with joy as we can see in Hebrews 12…

I want to examine more closely what was being offered to the Lord…(v. 8a)

“When you [priests] offer blind [animals] for sacrifice, is it not evil?  And when you offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil?”

They offered God their leftovers, their hand-me-downs and expected God to bless them for it.  Not only were these blemished sacrifices offensive to God, but He called them “evil”!

Take a look at the last half of verse 13 and the first half of verse 14…(Amplified Bible)

(13) “…this you bring as an offering?  Shall I accept this from your hand?” says the Lord.

(14) “But cursed is the [cheating] deceiver who has a male in his flock and vows to offer it, yet sacrifices to the [soverign] Lord a blemished or diseased thing!

The word “deceiver” is the Hebrew word, “nakal”, which translates as a deceiver, swindler, or cheat.  God calls such a person  a cheater, one who can give better sacrifices but chooses not to.  Instead of honoring God with their best, they kept the best for themselves and gave God the worst of what they had,  What a slap in the face!

God’s LOVE is so extravagant for each one of us, that He chose to sacrifice the most precious thing He had, in order to redeem us, His one and only Son, Jesus Christ.  And the LOVE we show in return for His GRACE & MERCY amounts to some leftovers we found in the back of the Fridge, then emptied upon the altar as a worshipful sacrifice to Almighty God?

These ritualistic, blemished sacrifices are so offensive to God, that He prefers no sacrifices at a…(vs. 10)

[10]  “Oh, that there were even one among you [whose duty it is to minister to Me] who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on My altar to no purpose [an empty, futile, fruitless pretense]!  I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, nor will I accept an offering from your hand”  (Amplified Bible).

Just close up shop!  Shut it down!  Better no worship at all than empty rituals and offerings that fall well short of our best.

So the answer is “YES”…God continues to expect our sacrifices. 

Not just any sacrifice…it must be the BEST we have!

King David knew about acceptable sacrifice…(2 Samuel 24:24-25)

According to God’s Word, a SACRIFICE isn’t a SACRIFICE in less it cost something!

In the NT Gospels, SACRIFICE was costly as well –

  • A woman poured costly fragrant oil to anoint Jesus’ head as an expression of her love, the devotion of her worship.   (Mark 14:3-9)
  • The widow came to the Temple and gave from her poverty all that she had as an offering to God to express her love, her devotion, her worship.  (Luke 21:1-4)

They Got It!!!

They understood in their hearts what SACRIFICE really meant to a holy and righteous God.  Their love for God prompted them to cheerfully give their BEST without hesitation!

There are so many lessons and warnings to take in the message of Malachi. 

God sent Malachi to stir the people up in their spiritual stupor, to exhort them to return to the living God.  Instead of approaching God with voices and attitudes full of bickering and complaining, we are to proclaim His praises.  Instead of treating our service to God as burdensome, we are to serve Him with hearts full of joy.  Instead of offering to God sacrifices that are blemished, we are to present to Him offerings that are pure!

But no matter what we do or sacrifice, it will never be acceptable to God without LOVE; extravagant love for God that overflowed into our praises, compelling us to offer our best!

And finally, how authentic is our relationship with God?

How much of what we do for God has become an empty ritual versus sincere heartfelt worship?  I’m so guilty of this at times.  Am I truly giving God the absolute that I have to offer Him every day?  Or, am I giving Him the leftovers, the crumbs off the floor, hoping it pleases Hum?  I want to smell the aroma of fresh bread taken from the oven.

Are you experiencing JOY in your service and ministry to God, or are you finding it to be wearisome, even a burden at times?

You only have so much talent, so much time, so much ability, so many resources.  All God wants is YOUR BEST – that’s your form of a SACRIFICE of PRAISE to Him that brings Him glory and praise.

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CREDITS –

Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon –  Strong #5230, “deceiver,” Heb. “nakal – naw-kal’.

Photo/Images:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP), or, as noted in the text, or photo/images.

Let’s Start Listening to the WHOLE Story

POST’S SCRIPTURE:  HOSEA 5:1 – 6:3

I was feeling a bit nostalgic the other day while writing down thoughts towards my next blog.  I started THE WORD DETECTIVE blog-site over 5 years ago, relating many personal stories throughout my life.  But it struck me (that’s a funny choice of words) this morning that I hadn’t revealed the story about when I was once stabbed.

It was a regular work day in January 1999.  There were 7 of us in a room–myself, three other men, and three women.  One of the guys was talking about his upcoming vacation when one of the women handed him a knife and he stabbed me in the chest!  The last thing I remembered before I passed out was a woman working to control the bleeding.  I woke up in a 5th-floor hospital bed with an oxygen mask over my entire face at Tacoma General Hospital in Tacoma, Washington.

I GUESS I BETTER TELL YOU THE WHOLE STORY–

I wasn’t at work.  The room was a surgical room and the six other people in the room were my anesthesiologist, my surgeon, and his PA (Physician’s Assistant), and three nurses.  They were there to perform Heart Bypass Surgery, which is why the doctor stabbed me in the chest.

Fortunately, he had my best interest at heart (no pun intended) and nice enough to have his PA sew me up when he was finished.

You see if you don’t LISTEN to THE WHOLE STORY You May Get the Wrong Opinion. –

The ACT of a surgeon cutting into you with a knife sounds quite traumatic and who would opt for that?  But for someone who has cardiovascular disease and in need of relief in my breathing, a loss of energy, and everyday existence, it is a welcomed wound.

I’m telling this story as an introduction to God’s solution to the problem of UNFAITHFULNESS.

“HOW DOES GOD GET OUR ATTENTION?”

Those who don’t HEAR THE WHOLE STORY might only hear that the Lord will tear into us and go away, like a lion.

On that basis, people reject God, thinking of Him as a vengeful judge who wants to destroy all of us who don’t OBEY His commands.  But in my thinking, it is more appropriate to describe God as a divine Surgeon, who indeed cuts into us, but also binds up our wounds.

Job 5:18:  “For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.”

Lamentations 3:32:  “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.”

Deuteronomy 32:39:  “See now that I am he!  There is no god besides me.  I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.” 

HOSEA CHAPTER 5 ~

Hosea chapter 5 describes the surgical work of God in detail.  It describes how God gets our attention and removes the spiritual blockage left by our UNFAITHFULNESS.

The relief of the symptoms I acquired over time came through surgery, which was painful at the time, but critical for relieving my symptoms and ultimately my life.

Hosea 5:1-2 (Amplified bible):

[1]  HEAR THIS, O you priests!  And listen, O house of Israel!  And give ear, O house of the king!  For the judgment pronounced pertains to you and is meant for you, because you have been a snare at Mizpah and a net spread upon Tabor [military strongholds on either side of the Jordan River).  

[2] The revolters are deeply sunk in corruption and slaughter, but I [the Lord God] am a rebuke and a chastisement for them all.”

Hosea was called upon by God to get Israel’s attention so He could address the “rottenness”–the “decay” that came as a result of the nation’s sickness of SIN.

IN VERSE 3, God charges Ephraim [the northern ten tribes] with prostitution and corruption.

IN VERSE 4, the words reveal a HEART CONDITION of Unfaithfulness.

IN VERSE 5, the symptom is ARROGANCE–“pride and self-reliance”. 

VERSE 6 talks about going “with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord,” meaning these people were bringing their animals for Sacrifice, but it was empty worship.  Outwardly they were “worshipping,” but inwardly they had a heart condition and were far off from God.

These were a people, like us, who were sick with SIN of self-seeking and self-centeredness and assumed they were self-sufficient.

THEY SOLD OUT…their bodies as well as their moral and religious convictions like a prostitute.  They were UNFAITHFUL to God

They were UNFAITHFUL to God as Hosea’s wife Gomer was unfaithful to her husband.  Even their sad attempts at WORSHIP was empty and void of meaning.

So am I referring only to ISRAEL here, or am I pointing a finger at us–the CHURCH today?

Do you see your own sickness in ISRAEL half as clearly as I see my own?  I see signs of DECAY showing up in our BEHAVIOR.  At times I have to admit that even my own worship experience on Sunday morning is just an act–going through the motions which then leads to repentance.  Or should “lead to repentance.”

The DIAGNOSIS is clear, God goes to work as a SURGEON.

From verses 8-12, we find a series of pronouncements that cut at ISRAEL like the perspective wounds of a SURGEON’S knife:

  • “Sound the trumpet…”
  • “Raise the battle cry…”
  • “Ephraim will be laid waste on the day of reckoning.”
  • “I will pour out my wrath”
  • “I am like a moth…”
  • “I am like rot…”

These don’t sound like words from a loving-God, any more than a six-inch cut down the chest sounds like the wounds of a healer!  But that’s exactly what they are.

For even God can be like a LION; His presence is that of a RESTORER and HEALER.

Coming to an Understanding…

This interaction between God and Israel through His prophet HOSEA, we are given the ability to recognize how God is at work to RESTORE us as INDIVIDUALS, as the CHURCH, and even our NATION.

Recognizing the Ways God Comes To Us to Get Our Attention So He Can Heal Us ~

FIRST, He comes like A MOTH or We Rot!

IN VERSE 12 He says,  “I am like a moth to Ephraim, like rot to the people of Judah.”  ISRAEL, represented by the divided kingdoms of EPHRAIM and JUDAH, already were in a state of decay.

It was a slow decay much like the slow, natural damage a MOTH does when forgotten sweaters folded in the closet are noticed after slipping them over my head.  And then my wife would notice the damage and say, “Looks like we have MOTHS in  the closet!”

GOD had allowed the natural consequences of Israel’s UNFAITHFULNESS to ROT their NATION.

Next, GOD Would Come Like A LION (verse 14).

Courtesy of Photo Pin

If the people couldn’t see the signs of DECAY…or just ignored them, God was warning through His prophet Hosea, He was next going to come and tear them to pieces–carry them off in exile with no one to rescue them.

But notice there would be a PURPOSE in this.  God would do this until…until they would admit their GUILT.

He would become like a LION so they would seek His face:  “in their MISERY,” He said, “they will earnestly seek me”  (verse 15).

 THE RAIN, It’s a Comin’!  – (Hosea 6:1-3)

 

Ultimately, God LOVES us and He wants us to experience Him in the SPRING RAIN.  He will let you ROT in your choices for a time if you insist and if you’re stubborn He will come to you like a Lion.  But His ultimate purpose will always be to RESTORE you.  It will always be to PROSPER you and not harm you.

His PURPOSE is to give you HOPE and a FUTURE.

Today in our nation, God is like a MOTH and like RUST.  He’s allowing us to DECAY because in general, we’ve forsaken Him.  And if we refuse to turn to the gentle rain of Jesus, we may soon know Him as a Great Lion.

Our nation, your nation, will crumble as with any dynasty that has gone before us.  Unless we change, the Western church will be torn apart.

So the question arises before each one of us:  How do you see God at work in restoring you personally?

This very week, have you lived in HIS PRESENCE and experienced His GRACE-like a SPRING RAIN?

If the answer is “NO”, then look carefully to see if God has been like a MOTH to you in your life.

Consider that your spiritual desert might show that you’re in a slowly developing state of DECAY.  Like the folded sweater lying unnoticed in the closet–not seeing the things changing before your eyes, but before you know it, you realize that the clothing of righteousness you once wore has been eaten away by the natural consequences of your choices.

If you are not spending the necessary time in the presence of God each day you have in essence locked your spirituality in a closet infested with MOTHS.

My fear is that you may try to pull it out later and only find it has been eaten away.

BEWARE OF APATHY!  Because APATHY will ROT your spiritual life–like RUST on a nail.

Maybe some who are reading this Blog-study have felt Him tearing at you like a lion ripping at his prey.  Perhaps the consequences of your choices have you confused–a struggling marriage, the loss of a job, an addiction. Maybe the pain of sickness or the mourning of death has reminded you of sin’s curse.  It could be the activity of the Holy Spirit has you weighted down concerning your own SIN, and the weight of GUILT is more than you can bear.

If God has been like a GREAT LION to you this week, do not despair!  He will BIND up your wounds!! –

JESUS came to Peter like a roaring lion with the crow of a rooster.  He came to Paul like a roaring lion in the midst of a blinding light.  Yet He came to them both like a refreshing RAIN restoring them to places of great significance in His divine plan.

SPRING RAINS ARE A COMIN’

Knowing the WHOLE STORY, will you let Him wash you like the RAIN?

There is only ONE WAY to God’s presence and that’ through to the CROSS of JESUS CHRIST.  Let Him tear apart your self-seeking–self-sufficient ways and RESTORE your spirit.

REJOICE, THE GREAT SURGEON COMES!

He brings HEALING on His wings.

He RESTORES us.

He is JESUS, our SAVIOR…AND He wants to operate on you.  Will you let Him?

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CREDITS –

Photo Credits:  Google Advanced Image Search and Photo Pin.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Mess With God’s Kids! – PART 3

The Nation of Egypt And Their Judgment (Ezekiel 29)

egypt-in-the-bible

EGYPT was a large nation south of Israel.  They looked upon the land of Canaan as being part of her own territory and in doing so, she reluctantly gave the land to other nations temporarily till she could re-claim it.  And as you know, the Israelites were SLAVES.  They lived there for over 400 years and were greatly influenced by the Egyptian culture.

EGYPT never learned its lessons from the pain it received during the period of the Exodus.

The SIN of Egypt and its ACTIONS lead the Israelites away from El-Shaddai- All sufficient supply.  Bestower of power, gifts, blessings, and the One who make all of us fruitful–ALMIGHTY GOD!

Egypt’s influence had never been acceptable to Jehovah Mekkaddishkem, the Lord who sanctifies.  They led the Hebrew people into IDOL WORSHIP.

Like other nations, the king of Egypt–PHARAOH–saw himself as a god.

Over and over again, EGYPT had not left the Israelites alone.  So in order for His ELECT (His “kids”) to finally be FREE from bondage in Egypt, it was time for God to enact retribution.

DON’T MESS WITH GOD’S KIDS!

Ezekiel 29:1-3 (AMP):

[1] In the tenth year [of the captivity of Jehoiachin by the king of Babylon], in the tenth [month], on the twelfth [day] of the month, the word of the LORD came to me saying,  [2] Son of man, set your face toward Pharoah king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against all of Egypt.  [3] Say, ‘Thus says the LORD God: Behold, I am against you, Pharoah king of Egypt, the great monster [of sluggish and unwieldy strength] that lies in the midst of his [delta] streams, [boastfully] declaring, My river Nile is my own and I have made it for myself.”

This MESSAGE Ezekiel is speaking the above verses took place a year after the siege of Jerusalem had begun.

EGYPT was partly responsible for ISRAEL’S king Zedekiah’s rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 27:6-15).

The king [Pharoah] of Egypt at this time was Hophra.  Like the king of Tyre, he too thought more of himself than he should.

This human trait was not exclusive to the seven nations surrounding Israel during Ezekiel’s place in history

Look at the warning the apostle Paul gives to the church in Rome – Romans 12:3 (AMP):

[3]  For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have ab exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.

The NILE RIVER was the lifeblood for the Egyptians.  

Hophra started bragging that he, and he alone, was the CREATOR who formed the Nile.  He played a role of a tough guy, who like a CROCODILE dared anyone to come near him.

JEHOVAH ELYON – The Lord Most High –

The LORD announces that He will hunt down this monster dragon and dispose of him because of his claims to be a deity [“My river Nile is my own and I made it for myself” – 29:3]

Catching ‘CROC’S –

EZEKIEL 29:4:

[4]  But I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales.  I will pull you out from among your streams, with all the fish sticking to your scales.

The River Nile Crocodile

I used to like watching the “Crocodile Hunter” on TV.  His specialty was catching crocodiles.  It was a special technique he used   He would place a lasso on the upper jaw of the reptile causing a natural instinct of the monster to spin, which would wrap the rope around its jaws.  He would then pounce on it, securing the rope around the jaws, then tie up its legs. Then he would pull it along with a bunch of other men up on the land.

These were mercenaries [“fish”] from other countries (Ezekiel 29:5):

[5] I will leave you in the desert, you and all the fish of your streams.  You will fall on the open field and not be gathered or picked up.  I will give you as food to the beasts of the earth and the birds of the sky.

The CROCODILE is an aquatic reptile with its home on land or in the water.  But it depends more on being in the water.

On some scientific films I’ve watched over the years, I noticed the effects of drought on this creature without a water source when a crocodile will be stranded out of its natural environment.  It will die, resulting in scavengers eating the remains.

GOD’S PROPHECY…Our Righteous God is going to do a similar fate to Pharaoh and his army.

Have you ever noticed today in Egypt the Sphinx’s and the Pyramids? The Egyptians were really into the after-life and a proper burial was a big deal.

Historic records indicate the Pharaoh [Hophra] was strangled by a rival (Jeremiah 44:29) and did not receive a proper burial and was cast aside as Scripture foretold.  [See Footnote [i] for sources]

FAMOUS WORDS that have come back to bite us over the years is when we BELIEVE someone who says to us, “You can count on me!”

Our Lord and Savior wouldn’t fall for these vain promises:

Job 15:15-16:  

[15] If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes,  [16] how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil like water!

Psalm 146:3-4:

[3] Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.  [4] When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Isaiah 30:1-3:

[1] “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin;  [2] who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge.  [3] But Pharaoh’s protection will be your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.

PHARAOH had influenced the king of Israel by his promises to be one of his allies.  IT WAS A WORTHLESS PROMISE which wound up costing thousands of Israelite’s lives.

Don’t Mess With God’s Kids!

Nebuchadnezzar went after and destroyed Egypt as he had done to Israel. Holy Adonai Yahweh had first

Holy Adonai Yahweh had first given His people a punishment as the book of 1 Peter tells us,  

“For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And, if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”  So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good  (1 Peter 4:17-19).

God’s people (Israelites) would be banished from their land for seventy years.   And Egypt would receive a similar judgment.  His land would be left desolate from North [Migdol] to the South [Sevench] for forty years.  

MIGDOL means “watchtower” and SYENE or Sevench means “marketplace”.

All of Egypt would be affected by this war.  The Babylonian army out of the North sweeps by the northern watchtower fortification and destroys everything in its path until it reached the most southern portion of the country.

EZEKIEL 29:13-15 (AMP):  EGYPT’S FUTURE AS A NATION.

[13] Yet thus says the Lord God: “At the end of [their] forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered. [Jer. 46:25, 26.]

[14] And I will reverse the captivity of Egypt [as I will that of Israel] and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros [under Egypt], the land of their origin, and they shall be there a lowly kingdom.

[15] It shall be the lowliest of the kingdoms, neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations; I will diminish [the Egyptians] so they shall never again rule over the nations.

This would be the LAST TIME the Egyptian Dynasty would ever be a strong nation.  They will be a lowly [base] nation from now on!

Our Awesome and Great Jehovah Shamma (‘God is there!’ – Ezk. 48:35.), is always there to make things right!

The king of Babylon was God’s agent in dealing with the city-NATION of Tyre.  It took over 13 years for Nebuchadnezzar to ultimately defeat ‘Old Tyre’ on the mainland.

Although technically, Nebuchadnezzar WON the battle, he never was compensated for all those years.  Since the king was unknowingly acting as the Lord’s servant, God would give him EGYPT as his payment for waging war against Tyre.

Ezekiel 29:19-20:

[19] Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth.  He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army.  [20] I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me, declares the Sovereign LORD.

GOD GIVES STRENGTH AND HOPE TO HIS KIDS YESTERDAY AND TODAY!

God promises His children (Israel) that He will bring forth a new king and son of David to lead His people (Ezekiel 34:22-31).

And He is doing so today.  Not only the Jews but to Christians spread over the earth.

‘KNOW MY SHEEP’–know My people or My church.

John 10:14 (AMP):

[14] I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and My own know and recognize Me.

The word “KNOW” is used as an affectionate regard or love.  It implies such knowledge of their wants, their dangers, and their characters, as to result in a deep interest in the welfare of His ‘kids’.

So as believers in Jesus today, we should know Him as our Shepherd, our Savior, that He will defend and aid us no matter the circumstances.

I hope this three-part study in Ezekiel as not only been informative but also encouraging as we see antisemitism in the world today.  Know that God’s plans don’t change; Don’t Mess With God’s Kids yesterday and don’t mess with God’s family today!

Let me know your thoughts in the COMMENT section.

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CREDITS & FOOTNOTES –

Footnote [i]:  Pharaoh Hophra – International Bible Encyclopedia.

VINES COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS.

Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV), and the Amplified Bible (AMP).

Photos:  Google Image Search.

[NOTE:  See further resources and credits used for this 3-PART series in PART I of Don’t Mess With God’s Kids! ]