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Discipline Born of Love

Published: Thu, Aug 17 2017

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered . . . they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God” (Ezekiel 28:25–26).

The Israelites had wandered so far from God, they’d forgotten they were His children. While His punishments of destruction and exile seem harsh, they were necessary to discourage His people from returning to idols for help. In spite of its sin, God loved Israel.

The nations around the people of Israel didn’t understand that Israel’s destruction was an act of God’s love. The people of Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, and Tyre rejoiced as they watched Israel’s destruction. The actions of these mockers resulted in their deaths.

At the end of time, mockers will be condemned to eternal death. But repentant souls will receive God’s grace to live in eternal peace with their Heavenly Father.

Thought for Today: God disciplines His children not out of hatred, but out of a desire to rescue them from the overwhelming power of sin.

Quicklook: Ezekiel 28:24–26


Previous devotions:

Will You Pray?

Published: Wed, Aug 16 2017

Kevin couldn’t believe the corruption all around him, but no one seemed concerned. What had happened to the Christian values that set the tone for his life as a child? Even guys who’d gone to Sunday school with him were surrendering to sin.

Andy, who managed a factory, joked about his employees working under dangerous conditions. Pete was proud of the six-figure salary he earned while running a mortgage scam. Richard, who was a counselor, shared confidential information about his clients.

As Kevin watched society’s moral fiber crumbling, he prayed diligently and encouraged others to pray.

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one” (Ezekiel 22:30).

In Ezekiel’s day, God didn’t find intercessors to pray for Israel. Everyone was too preoccupied with sin. Their actions forced Him to send utter devastation, so that His people might see their depravity and turn back to Him.

Challenge for Today: Be one of the Christians who are willing to pray for your nation and its people.

Quicklook: Ezekiel 22:23–31


Why Repent?

Published: Tue, Aug 15 2017

Is God being harsh by asking people to repent? No. It breaks the Heavenly Father’s heart because sinners can’t go near Him or they’ll be destroyed by His purity. The apostle John wrote “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

If light enters darkness, the darkness ceases to exist. So, no one walking in the darkness of sin can approach God without dying. This is why the Father pleads:

“Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” (Ezekiel 18:31–32).

God is a loving Father who wants to be near His children. He would like to comfort them in pain and help them through their struggles. It isn’t His desire to see anyone spend eternity in darkness and torment. He desires to wrap them in the warmth of His love.

Challenge for Today: When witnessing to unbelievers about Christ, remember to emphasize the love God shows by inviting all to repent.

Quicklook: Ezekiel 18:25–32


Someone Greater

Published: Mon, Aug 14 2017

“Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it . . . even if these three men—Noah, Daniel and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord” (Ezekiel 14:13–14).

In Ezekiel’s day, most of the Israelites had turned from God, preferring to worship idols. Israel had fallen into such depravity that even if righteous Noah, Daniel, and Job had been with them, the nation still would have been destroyed.

This is the troubling tale of humanity even today. The pursuit of sin should have destroyed humanity long ago, but God sent someone greater than Noah, Daniel, and Job. God’s perfect Son died for sinners, granting forgiveness to all who receive Jesus as Lord and follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Many people reject God’s ways and encourage sin. But deliverance lies in the purity of Christ. Only He can save humanity from the consequences of sin. 

Prayer Suggestion: Lord, please give me compassion for sinners and courage to share the gospel.

Quicklook: Ezekiel 14: 12–23


The Tender Heart

Published: Sun, Aug 13 2017

Read Ezekiel 4:1 through 11:25

The hardened heart finds the voice of the prophet hard to hear. On the other hand, the tender heart can hear the still, small voice of the Lord.

The hardened heart gets to a place where it cannot hear the voice of warning. The voice of the prophet was stern, but even a gentle soul would cry “watch out!” in the face of danger.

And they will know that I am the Lord; I did not threaten in vain to bring this calamity on them (Ezekiel 6:10).

The Lord longed to reveal himself, but His people had strayed away from Him, lavishing their praise on idols fashioned in their own likeness. They would not listen to the One who could help them.

Planting seed is most productive in well-tilled soil. In the same way, the tender heart will receive what the Lord is trying to say. The Word of the Lord is most productive in the well-tuned heart.

Prayer Suggestion: Lord, help me to have a tender heart that receives what You say.

Quicklook: Ezekiel 6:1–10


The Most Difficult Mission

Published: Sat, Aug 12 2017

When Nancy received Christ and was freed from sin, she joyfully announced to family and friends, “You need Jesus! He delivered me from alcoholism! He can help you too. Just repent and believe in Him.”

Few were impressed. Everyone thought she’d gone nuts, especially her mother. “Nancy Elaine,” Mom growled. “I’m the one who took you to church! Why do I need to hear about this repentance garbage?”   

“Whoever will listen let them listen, and whoever will refuse let them refuse; for they are a rebellious people” (Ezekiel 3:27).

Ezekiel also gave a message of repentance to those closest to him when God called him to speak to Israel. But before Ezekiel went to them, the Lord warned that only a few would listen. Nevertheless, he was to speak God’s words for the sake of those few.        

Nancy’s testimony also seemed to have little impact. Yet, given time, a few of those closest to her—including her mother—chose to repent and receive Jesus.

Thought for Today: Family and friends may be a difficult mission field, but God can use your witness to melt even the hardest hearts.

Quicklook: Ezekiel 3:22–27




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