Truth Sets us Free.
Lies enslave us and discourage us. But we have to be able to recognize lies to be set free.
We are back in book of Ezekiel today, 13-18
We see two chief sins brought to the forefront today in God’s judgement of His people. God’s people sinned against God by listening to false prophets and by pursuing idolatry.
In chapter 13, God is calling out the false prophets who are saying that they are representing Him but only saying what they want to say from their own imagination.
This reminds me of when my children were little. If they wanted to have authority over one of their siblings, they would tag on this phrase that assured victory:
“Momma said so”.
Those words sometimes did not come from my mouth, but if they were spoken by one of the children, their words had “gravitas”. These false prophets would sound authoritative, saying, “thus says the LORD”
Remember that in this time period, this is after the death of Solomon and the Israelite nation had been divided—Israel and Judah. During Ezekiel’s time, Judah was all that remained of Israel. God was judging Judah because like the other 10 tribes of Israel, they were doing evil in the eyes of the LORD. But they had some help. Their own prophets were purportedly representing God but only representing their own agenda.
Warning – a little digressing on this point of agendas. Don’t we see this today in our culture? People wanting to represent their agendas. They don’t necessarily claim they are from God. But they claim that their truth is “the truth”. People got their agenda’s, y’all. The news has an agenda. And if you don’t speak what our culture or segments of our culture want you to speak, well then. You are politically incorrect.
It is so hard trying to figure out how we can help right now as we watch our nation being divided.
Truth Sets us Free.
But people don’t always want to hear the truth. But when I look at Christ, He did not get involved in politics. When he was asked if the disciples should pay taxes he simply said, give to Caesar what is Caesar.” I don’t want to get involved in politics, either. I just want people to know the love of Jesus and the truth of God’s word.
Back to these false prophets. God spoke through His prophets in the OT and today we have His word and His Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 1:1-3 (CSB), “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
Today we have the word of God and the Holy Spirit speaks to us from His word. And there are false prophets today with revelation that did not come from God’s word. But we have God’s word as aa litmus test whenever people share something that God spoke to their heart. It needs to match and agree with God’s word.
The prophets were supposed to be that one source who spoke only what God gave them to speak but they led God’s people astray.
The Scripture of the Day:
Ezekiel 13:22-23 (NLT), “You have discouraged the righteous with your lies, but I didn’t want them to be sad. And you have encouraged the wicked by promising them life, even though they continue in their sins. Because of all this, you will no longer talk of seeing visions that you never saw, nor will you make predictions. For I will rescue my people from your grasp. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
- The lies these prophets told made God’s people sad. Lies discourage us. Lies imprison us but the truth sets us free.
- We need to examine what we believe and what we are listening to so we will not be deceived.
- Notice this refrain again that we saw last week, as well, ‘Then you will know that I am the LORD”.
- Philippians 2:10-11 New King James Version (NKJV)
Ezekiel 13:10 says, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Truth Sets Us Free
But sometimes idols can stand in the way and blind us. In Chapter 14 God calls out the idolatry in His people’s hearts. Picking it up from 14:4-8
4 “Therefore, speak to them and tell them, ‘This is what the Lord God says: When anyone from the house of Israel sets up idols in his heart and puts his sinful stumbling block in front of himself, and then comes to the prophet, I, the Lord, will answer him appropriately. I will answer him according to his many idols, 5 so that I may take hold of the house of Israel by their hearts. They are all estranged from me because of their idols.’
Truth Sets Us Free
But we need to remove stumbling blocks.
6 “Therefore, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord God says: Repent and turn away from your idols; turn your faces away from all your detestable things. 7 For when anyone from the house of Israel or from the aliens who reside in Israel separates himself from me, setting up idols in his heart and putting his sinful stumbling block in front of himself, and then comes to the prophet to inquire of me, I, the Lord, will answer him myself. 8 I will turn against that one and make him a sign and a proverb; I will cut him off from among my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
- God’s heart in punishment was to help God’s people no longer stray.
- 14:11 in order that the house of Israel may no longer stray from following me and no longer defile themselves with all their transgressions. Then they will be my people and I will be their God. This is the declaration of the Lord God.’”
- I would much rather hear “Then they will be my people and I will be their God” then “Then you will know that I am the LORD”.
Are we much different than God’s people in the time of Ezekiel?
In Ezekiel 16 there is the parable of the adulterous woman that god’s people are compared to and then again in Ezekiel 17 a parable of eagles where God revealed what would happen to Babylon.
Finally, in Ezekiel 18 we see that we need to take personal responsibility for our sins:
Ezekiel 18:4, “4 Look, every life belongs to me. The life of the father is like the life of the son—both belong to me. The person who sins is the one who will die.”
21 “But if the wicked person turns from all the sins he has committed, keeps all my statutes, and does what is just and right, he will certainly live; he will not die. 22 None of the transgressions he has committed will be held against him. He will live because of the righteousness he has practiced. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “Instead, don’t I take pleasure when he turns from his ways and lives? 24 But when a righteous person turns from his righteousness and acts unjustly, committing the same detestable acts that the wicked do, will he live? None of the righteous acts he did will be remembered. He will die because of the treachery he has engaged in and the sin he has committed.
The Truth Sets Us Free
But sometimes we can get bound by disillusionment when we question God’s fairness.
25 “But you say, ‘The Lord’s way isn’t fair.’ Now listen, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair? Instead, isn’t it your ways that are unfair? 26 When a righteous person turns from his righteousness and acts unjustly, he will die for this. He will die because of the injustice he has committed. 27 But if a wicked person turns from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will preserve his life. 28 He will certainly live because he thought it over and turned from all the transgressions he had committed; he will not die. 29 But the house of Israel says, ‘The Lord’s way isn’t fair.’ Is it my ways that are unfair, house of Israel? Instead, isn’t it your ways that are unfair?
The Truth Sets Us Free
If we do not know how to discern truth. God reveals truth but we need to repent and turn away from sin.
30 “Therefore, house of Israel, I will judge each one of you according to his ways.” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “Repent and turn from all your rebellious acts, so they will not become a sinful stumbling block to you. 31 Throw off all the transgressions you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, house of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in anyone’s death.” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “So repent and live!”
The false prophets of the past twisted God’s word or simply made it up for their agendas. And today there are agendas and lies spoken to blind God’s people, too. There is a narrative we are fed every day. But that narrative can be checked by the word of God. Lies imprison us but truth sets us free.
7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan
Day #164: Ezekiel 13-18
Scripture of the Day: Ezekiel 13:22-23
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