Ezekiel 33:10-11

“And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?"

In this chapter of Ezekiel, what has been prophesied for years is finally fulfilled. The city of Jerusalem, that had been under siege, is destroyed and plundered. Solomon’s temple has also been destroyed. This was devastating.

The news came from a new batch of exiles arriving after a wretched six month journey from Jerusalem to Babylon. These new exiled refugee prisoners started this journey after 18 months of siege and starvation. This was a horrific trail of refugees and we can only guess that many of them didn’t survive the journey. As they arrive, the first words declared were, “The city has fallen!” (verse 21). The first exiles (that had arrived ten years prior) lamented this painful news.

If you could summarize this sermon in one sentence, it would be:

There is hope for the future because God is as much the God of the future, as He is of the past.

A Painful Moment for God’s People

This news revealed the false hopes that the people had put into who they were. Their hope was in the covenant that God had made with them - this was the right thing to hope in. However, their hope wasn’t accompanied with a commitment to obedience. They had thought:

  • Yahweh was their covenant God. He was.

  • They were God’s people in God’s land. They were.

  • Jerusalem was God’s city and the Temple His dwelling place. It was.

These beliefs should have been motivation for faith, humility, and righteousness. Instead, these beliefs were held as a security against the consequences of sin, pride, and wickedness of every conceivable kind. This was a false assumption. They were convinced of their own innocence. They complained that their circumstances were unfair and believed God to be unjust when in reality, they were unjust (verse 17).

The only way that God could penetrate these false assumptions was to strip away these props in a violent and cataclysmic destruction. Judgement has come. Their sin has cost them dearly.

  • No more great people.

  • No more king.

  • No more land.

  • No more temple.

  • No more city.

However, they still had God. History was not at an end, but at a new beginning. They can turn around. They can turn away from sin and towards God and in doing so they can find life (verse 19).  

Are there any false assurances that you rely on? Have you ever lost a lot before God got your attention? Have you ever felt that God was being unfair to you?

There is hope for the future because God is as much the God of the future, as He is of the past.

A Learning Moment for God’s People

The sting of this moment was real. Their world had caved in. Harsh realities are often life’s greatest teachers. It was now clear that:

  • sin breeds destruction and death (verse 10 and 18; Romans 6:23).  

  • they had believed an old lie (Genesis 3:4).

  • God means what He says (verse 20).

  • the gracious warning signals had been ignored.

  • God’s prophet was legit - a watchman appointed by God (verses 7 and 30).

  • obedience to God’s law brings life, protects God’s mission, and is a beautiful act of worship in gratitude to God’s salvation.

Have you had a major life crisis? Maybe you are living out the painful consequences of your own sin or the sin of someone else. Do not harden your heart or fall into superficial practices. For some, a major life crisis may cause them to attend church, but only as superficial hearers. Like Ezekiel’s audience, they may find the message interesting and stimulating, but they never feel its power in their hearts as a life-changing reality.

Be found in Christ. Allow God to bring clarity to you and teach you His ways. Turn from sin. His ways are life. Lean into the righteousness of Jesus applied to you by faith and grace. Live a life of joyful obedience back to God in thanksgiving for His salvation.

There is hope for the future because God is as much the God of the future, as He is of the past.


Via Communities

Our Via Communities are our primary discipleship tool. This section is to help you as you discuss the sermon with others in your life. It is designed for communities to utilize but can be used to facilitate a conversation between spouses, good friends, co-workers, etc., as we live to be faithful to God’s mission in his world.

BLESS RHYTHMS

This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.

Bless
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.

Listen
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.

Eat
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.

Speak
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.

Sabbath
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.

GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION

The Gospel is powerful. The good news of Jesus changes us. This section is to record the ways you are noticing the good news of Jesus transforming your life. Jot notes to help you remember.

As we examined God’s Word, in what ways was His Word examining you?

Describe how Jesus is becoming more central in your life.

What does trusting in Jesus look like for you this week?