That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Prophets

There are some parts of the Bible that are really difficult to understand.  Sometimes I'll be reading somewhere... like... oh I don't know... Ezekiel, and I get to the end of the chapter and literally have no idea what I just read.  It's like my brain is going... duh... 

Ezekiel has some seriously complicated stuff in it.  Wheels, beasts, visions, prophecies, judgements, valleys full of dry bones that come to life!  A lot if it is just bizarre.  Sometimes I wonder why God even put it in the Bible?  What's the point of having all these strange prophecies if I can't even understand what they are talking about?????  

Then there's Daniel.  The first six chapters of that book aren't so bad, but the last six!  More visions, numbers, dates, people, beasts, and what's with Daniel's seventieth week anyways?  Even Daniel himself had a hard time understanding what he was seeing!  8And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
 9And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end (Dan 12:8-9).  

Isaiah and Jeremiah have their own difficulties too.  There's a lot of prophecies of judgement and doom.  Woe to this nation and that nation!  Crazy stuff like Isaiah walking around naked and barefoot for 3 years, and Jeremiah wearing a yoke on his neck.  

These things may seem strange to us, but I know one thing for sure, as strange and as difficult as it is to understand, God has a purpose and a reason for it being there.  All of what's recorded in Scripture was done because it was God's perfect will.  Whether I understand it or not is not the issue.  God put it in the Bible because it has value and importance, and He wants me simply to read it.

One thing I've noticed is that the more I read the Prophets the less my mind goes... duh...  I like underlining encouraging verses in my Bible.  I used to think that I'd never find a verse to underline in Ezekiel or Isaiah because they were such confusing and strange books.  Well, I just finished reading through Ezekiel, and I received so many blessings out of what I read.  I even underlined some verses!  Did I understand everything? Nope, but each time I read it I understand a little bit more than I did the last time.  There are some amazing promises and encouraging verses in Ezekiel!  

And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. And thou shalt speak my words unto them... (Ez. 2:6-7).  This verse encouraged me not to be afraid of what people say to me when I try to speak to them about Christ.  God told Ezekiel that he (Ezekiel) was going to speak God's words, so don't be afraid of the people.  When we share the gospel, we're speaking God's words too, so we don't need to fear.

Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ez. 18:4).  There's a solemn truth in this verse.  It doesn't matter who you are, if you sin you will die.  God is no respecter of persons when it comes to sin.  All sinners will receive death.

The soul that sinneth, it shall die.  The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.  But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statues, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die (Ez. 18:20-21).  Here the fact that sinners die is repeated, but this time the solution is given.  Turn to God!  God is just and He will forgive.

For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the LORD GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye (Ez. 18:32).  Perhaps the preceding verses seemed harsh.  God says if you sin you're going to die.  Period.  But, what a wonderful conclusion to a bleak reality.  God takes no pleasure in souls dying.  Instead, He offers a wonderful invitation for the wicked sinner to turn to Him and live!  God is just in punishing sinners, but He is loving, compassionate, and merciful in inviting sinners to come to Him for forgiveness.

...And the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the LORD GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes (Ez. 36:23). I know this verse is speaking of the heathen seeing God through the nation of Israel, but I believe the same principle applies to us today.   The heathen see Christ in us when we sanctify Him in ourselves.  That means when we live for Him and in Him the heathen people around us will see Him.  Not only will they see Him, but they will know that He is God.  This leaves little room for fulfilling our own selfish desires.  Instead, we're to be focused completely on Christ.

I also really like Ezekiel Chapter 34.  There's a great analogy there of the unfaithful shepherd, his sheep, and how God will care for the sheep.  There's a lot of application that can be made from that chapter.  I would encourage you to read it and meditate on it.  Perhaps it will bless you as it did me.  

I'm already looking forward to the next time I read through the prophets.  I know God is going to give me even more understanding and blessings from those Scriptures.  So, the next time you're reading through one of those difficult places in the Bible, don't give up!  Just ask God to give you something.  Even if you don't understand everything God WILL give you something.  


  1. Thanks for sharing those verses! So much truth in them. I'm experiencing the same thing as I read through Job. I always think it'll be depressing, but I'm finding verses to underline and taking truths away from it!

  2. I used to feel the same way about Job too, but now it's one of my favourites. One thing that really stands out in that book is the power and majesty of God! Especially the last couple of chapters.... whew!