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17 September - 2 Kings 24; 25; Ezekiel 13; Luke 9


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Posted 17 September 2007 - 08:37 AM

First Portion

2 Kings 24; 25


24:1 In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him. 24:2 Yahweh sent against him bands of the Chaldeans, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of Yahweh, which he spoke by his servants the prophets. 24:3 Surely at the commandment of Yahweh came this on Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did, 24:4 and also for the innocent blood that he shed; for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood: and Yahweh would not pardon. 24:5 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 24:6 So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers; and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place. 24:7 The king of Egypt didn’t come again out of his land any more; for the king of Babylon had taken, from the brook of Egypt to the river Euphrates, all that pertained to the king of Egypt. 24:8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign; and he reigned in Jerusalem three months: and his mother’s name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. 24:9 He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, according to all that his father had done. 24:10 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up to Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. 24:11 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to the city, while his servants were besieging it; 24:12 and Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. 24:13 He carried out there all the treasures of the house of Yahweh, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold, which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of Yahweh, as Yahweh had said. 24:14 He carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valor, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths; none remained, except the poorest sort of the people of the land. 24:15 He carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon; and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives, and his officers, and the chief men of the land, carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. 24:16 All the men of might, even seven thousand, and the craftsmen and the smiths one thousand, all of them strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon. 24:17 The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s father’s brother, king is his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah. 24:18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 24:19 He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. 24:20 For through the anger of Yahweh, it happened in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence. Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 08:38 AM

25:1 It happened in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and encamped against it; and they built forts against it around it. 25:2 So the city was besieged to the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. 25:3 On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was severe in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land. 25:4 Then a breach was made in the city, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden (now the Chaldeans were against the city around it); and the king went by the way of the Arabah. 25:5 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him. 25:6 Then they took the king, and carried him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment on him. 25:7 They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in fetters, and carried him to Babylon. 25:8 Now in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, to Jerusalem. 25:9 He burnt the house of Yahweh, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, even every great house, burnt he with fire. 25:10 All the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 25:11 Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive the residue of the people who were left in the city, and those who fell away, who fell to the king of Babylon, and the residue of the multitude. 25:12 But the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to work the vineyards and fields. 25:13 The Chaldeans broke up the pillars of brass that were in the house of Yahweh and the bases and the bronze sea that were in the house of Yahweh, and carried the brass pieces to Babylon. 25:14 They took away the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the spoons, and all the vessels of brass with which they ministered. 25:15 The captain of the guard took away the fire pans, the basins, that which was of gold, in gold, and that which was of silver, in silver. 25:16 The two pillars, the one sea, and the bases, which Solomon had made for the house of Yahweh, the brass of all these vessels was without weight. 25:17 The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, and a capital of brass was on it; and the height of the capital was three cubits, with network and pomegranates on the capital around it, all of brass: and like to these had the second pillar with network. 25:18 The captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the threshold: 25:19 and out of the city he took an officer who was set over the men of war; and five men of those who saw the king’s face, who were found in the city; and the scribe, the captain of the army, who mustered the people of the land; and sixty men of the people of the land, who were found in the city. 25:20 Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah. 25:21 The king of Babylon struck them, and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away captive out of his land. 25:22 As for the people who were left in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, even over them he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, governor. 25:23 Now when all the captains of the forces, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men. 25:24 Gedaliah swore to them and to their men, and said to them, “Don’t be afraid because of the servants of the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you.”

25:25 But it happened in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal seed came, and ten men with him, and struck Gedaliah, so that he died, and the Jews and the Chaldeans that were with him at Mizpah. 25:26 All the people, both small and great, and the captains of the forces, arose, and came to Egypt; for they were afraid of the Chaldeans. 25:27 It happened in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison; 25:28 and he spoke kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings who were with him in Babylon, 25:29 and changed his prison garments. Jehoiachin ate bread before him continually all the days of his life: 25:30 and for his allowance, there was a continual allowance given him of the king, every day a portion, all the days of his life.

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 08:53 AM

Second Portion

Ezekiel 13


13:1 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 13:2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, Hear the word of Yahweh: 13:3 Thus says the Lord Yahweh, Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! 13:4 Israel, your prophets have been like foxes in the waste places. 13:5 You have not gone up into the gaps, neither built up the wall for the house of Israel, to stand in the battle in the day of Yahweh. 13:6 They have seen falsehood and lying divination, who say, Yahweh says; but Yahweh has not sent them: and they have made men to hope that the word would be confirmed. 13:7 Haven’t you seen a false vision, and haven’t you spoken a lying divination, in that you say, Yahweh says; but I have not spoken? 13:8 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Because you have spoken falsehood, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, says the Lord Yahweh. 13:9 My hand shall be against the prophets who see false visions, and who divine lies: they shall not be in the council of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and you shall know that I am the Lord Yahweh. 13:10 Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there is no peace; and when one builds up a wall, behold, they plaster it with whitewash: 13:11 tell those who plaster it with whitewash, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and you, great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall tear it. 13:12 Behold, when the wall has fallen, shall it not be said to you, Where is the plaster with which you have plastered it? 13:13 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will even tear it with a stormy wind in my wrath; and there shall be an overflowing shower in my anger, and great hailstones in wrath to consume it. 13:14 So will I break down the wall that you have plastered with whitewash, and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation shall be uncovered; and it shall fall, and you shall be consumed in its midst: and you shall know that I am Yahweh. 13:15 Thus will I accomplish my wrath on the wall, and on those who have plastered it with whitewash; and I will tell you, The wall is no more, neither those who plastered it; 13:16 to wit, the prophets of Israel who prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, says the Lord Yahweh. 13:17 You, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy against them, 13:18 and say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Woe to the women who sew pillows on all elbows, and make kerchiefs for the head of persons of every stature to hunt souls! Will you hunt the souls of my people, and save souls alive for yourselves? 13:19 You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to kill the souls who should not die, and to save the souls alive who should not live, by your lying to my people who listen to lies. 13:20 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I am against your pillows, with which you there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms; and I will let the souls go, even the souls whom you hunt to make them fly. 13:21 Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and you shall know that I am Yahweh. 13:22 Because with lies you have grieved the heart of the righteous, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, and be saved alive: 13:23 Therefore you shall no more see false visions, nor practice divination. I will deliver my people out of your hand; and you shall know that I am Yahweh.

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 08:55 AM

Third Portion

Luke 9


9:1 He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. 9:2 He sent them forth to preach the Kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. 9:3 He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey—neither staffs, nor wallet, nor bread, nor money; neither have two coats apiece. 9:4 Into whatever house you enter, stay there, and depart from there. 9:5 As many as don’t receive you, when you depart from that city, shake off even the dust from your feet for a testimony against them.”

9:6 They departed, and went throughout the villages, preaching the Good News, and healing everywhere. 9:7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him; and he was very perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, 9:8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen again. 9:9 Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this, about whom I hear such things?” He sought to see him. 9:10 The apostles, when they had returned, told him what things they had done.

He took them, and withdrew apart to a deserted place of a city called Bethsaida. 9:11 But the multitudes, perceiving it, followed him. He welcomed them, and spoke to them of the Kingdom of God, and he cured those who needed healing. 9:12 The day began to wear away; and the twelve came, and said to him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and farms, and lodge, and get food, for we are here in a deserted place.”

9:13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.”

They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we should go and buy food for all these people.” 9:14 For they were about five thousand men.

He said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 9:15 They did so, and made them all sit down. 9:16 He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to the sky, he blessed them, and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. 9:17 They ate, and were all filled. They gathered up twelve baskets of broken pieces that were left over.

9:18 It happened, as he was praying alone, that the disciples were with him, and he asked them, “Who do the multitudes say that I am?”

9:19 They answered, “‘John the Baptizer,’ but others say, ‘Elijah,’ and others, that one of the old prophets is risen again.”

9:20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

9:21 But he warned them, and commanded them to tell this to no one, 9:22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.”

9:23 He said to all, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross,* and follow me. 9:24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake, the same will save it. 9:25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits his own self? 9:26 For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed, when he comes in his glory, and the glory of the Father, and of the holy angels. 9:27 But I tell you the truth: There are some of those who stand here, who will in no way taste of death, until they see the Kingdom of God.”

9:28 It happened about eight days after these sayings, that he took with him Peter, John, and James, and went up onto the mountain to pray. 9:29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became white and dazzling. 9:30 Behold, two men were talking with him, who were Moses and Elijah, 9:31 who appeared in glory, and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

9:32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they were fully awake, they saw his glory, and the two men who stood with him. 9:33 It happened, as they were parting from him, that Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let’s make three tents: one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah,” not knowing what he said.

9:34 While he said these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered into the cloud. 9:35 A voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him!” 9:36 When the voice came, Jesus was found alone. They were silent, and told no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.

9:37 It happened on the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, that a great multitude met him. 9:38 Behold, a man from the crowd called out, saying, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 9:39 Behold, a spirit takes him, he suddenly cries out, and it convulses him so that he foams, and it hardly departs from him, bruising him severely. 9:40 I begged your disciples to cast it out, and they couldn’t.”

9:41 Jesus answered, “Faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.”

9:42 While he was still coming, the demon threw him down and convulsed him violently. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 9:43 They were all astonished at the majesty of God.

But while all were marveling at all the things which Jesus did, he said to his disciples, 9:44 “Let these words sink into your ears, for the Son of Man will be delivered up into the hands of men.” 9:45 But they didn’t understand this saying. It was concealed from them, that they should not perceive it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

9:46 There arose an argument among them about which of them was the greatest. 9:47 Jesus, perceiving the reasoning of their hearts, took a little child, and set him by his side, 9:48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this little child in my name receives me. Whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For whoever is least among you all, this one will be great.”

9:49 John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he doesn’t follow with us.”

9:50 Jesus said to him, “Don’t forbid him, for he who is not against us is for us.”

9:51 It came to pass, when the days were near that he should be taken up, he intently set his face to go to Jerusalem, 9:52 and sent messengers before his face. They went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, so as to prepare for him. 9:53 They didn’t receive him, because he was traveling with his face set towards Jerusalem. 9:54 When his disciples, James and John, saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from the sky, and destroy them, just as Elijah did?”

9:55 But he turned and rebuked them, “You don’t know of what kind of spirit you are. 9:56 For the Son of Man didn’t come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

They went to another village. 9:57 As they went on the way, a certain man said to him, “I want to follow you wherever you go, Lord.”

9:58 Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

9:59 He said to another, “Follow me!”

But he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.”

9:60 But Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but you go and announce the Kingdom of God.”

9:61 Another also said, “I want to follow you, Lord, but first allow me to say good-bye to those who are at my house.”

9:62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 10:34 AM

17 September 2008

2 Kings 24; 25
Ezekiel 13
Luke 9

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 11:47 AM

17 September 2009

2 Kings 24; 25
Ezekiel 13
Luke 9

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 04:37 AM

17 September 2010

2 Kings 24; 25
Ezekiel 13
Luke 9

FOLLOW ME

The finish of today’s chapter in Luke is about three different people and the reasons they gave for delaying in their intention to follow Jesus. “I will follow you wherever you go” they had said. It had been exciting to follow Jesus, amazing things had been happening, food had been provided ­ miraculously ­ in the wilderness.

It was OK to follow Jesus if he was going to see everything was provided, places to ‘lay your head’ ­ but he then said to the first person, that that was not going to be the case!

‘Let me first go and bury my father’ said another [Luke 9:59]. It was not that his father had just died and there would be a day’s delay, but one can imagine there would then be a lot of family responsibilities to be taken care of as a result of the death! But others can do that, just as others carried on the fishing, “the hired servants” when those disciples who had been fishermen left their boats to follow Jesus. But let those who are not following me do that, is the response (in another Gospel).

A third said, ‘I will follow you Lord, but let me first say farewell to those in my home” [Luke 9:61] So the lesson is that if personal considerations come first and make discipleship ineffective; Jesus does not want us! Note the last verse of the chapter, “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom.”

So if we have been baptised or are thinking of baptism let us realize the kind of commitment Jesus expects of us. But let us think positively, as Jesus did of “the joy that was set before him … ” Two verses further on (into tomorrow’s chapter) comes Jesus’ words about the harvest labourers being few! But true labourers for the Lord must have their priorities in the right order.
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Posted 17 September 2011 - 06:38 AM

17 September 2011

2 Kings 24; 25
Ezekiel 13
Luke 9

"WHEN THE LORD HAS NOT SENT THEM"

There is a parallel between today’s readings which complete the 2nd book of Kings and what we read in Ezekiel: they are both about the same period, the end and destruction of the wonderful Kingdom David and Solomon had established; but it is written from two different aspects.

The people of God’s kingdom had descended into spiritual depravity and we cannot help but see parallels with today. Ezekiel was a Priest who went into captivity with King Jehoiachin in the year 597BC [2 Kings 24:14-16]. Eleven years later Jerusalem was destroyed. [2 Kings 25:2]. It was during this period that Ezekiel is sending messages back to those still in Jerusalem, and telling those who were with him in exile that their dreams of Jerusalem’s return to prosperity and of returning would not be fulfilled – and why!

His messages are to counteract the misleading pronouncements of those who falsely claim to be prophets of the LORD. Yesterday’s reading [Ezekiel 12] finished with the message “say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: None of my words will be delayed any longer, but the word that I speak will be performed, declares the Lord GOD’.”

Ezekiel 13 starts with Ezekiel being told to “say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the LORD’” [Ezekiel 13:2], then, that the LORD says, “Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!” [Ezekiel 13:3]. The ‘punch line’ that follows is – “They say ‘declares the LORD, when the LORD has not sent them and yet they expect him to fulfil their word” [Ezekiel 13:6]. We fear there is a parallel with preaching today that God is totally loving and forgiving regardless of behaviour and their future in heaven is assured, yet such who preach this do so “from their own hearts”.

We have one big advantage today, the whole world has God’s word in their own language and those who are not satisfied with the messages they hear (if they choose to hear them at all) can check up and read God’s words for themselves. It is a gold mine of God’s messages that all can ‘dig’ and bring to the surface – providing nourishing daily food for human minds. Those who ‘dig’ with the aim of becoming teachers of others need to heed the warning of James, “Not many of you should become teachers … for … we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” [James 3:1]
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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:11 AM

17 September 2012

2 Kings 24; 25
Ezekiel 13
Luke 9

“I WILL FOLLOW YOU WHEREVER …”

The finish of today’s chapter in Luke is about three different people and the reasons they gave for delaying putting into practice their decision to follow Jesus. “I will follow you wherever you go” they had said. It had been exciting to follow Jesus, amazing things had been happening, food had been provided – miraculously – in the wilderness.

It was OK to follow Jesus if he was going to see everything was provided, places to ‘lay your head’ – but he then said to the first person – that was not going to be the case!

‘Let me first go and bury my father’ said another [Luke 9:59]. Maybe his father was very elderly, but even if he had just died, there would be more than a few days delay; one can imagine there would then be a lot of family responsibilities to be taken care of as a result of the death! But others can do that, just as others carried on the fishing, of “the hired servants” did it when the disciples who had been fishermen left their boats to follow Jesus. The words, “Let the dead bury their own dead” [Luke 9:60] remind us of Paul’s words to Timothy, advice to him in guiding the believers at Ephesus, “she (or he) who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.” [1 Timothy 5:6]

A third said, ‘I will follow you Lord, but let me first say farewell to those in my home” [Luke 9:61] How many times do people say, “Yes – and then - BUT …” So the lesson is that if personal considerations come first - their discipleship is delayed or ineffective. Jesus does not want that kind of disciple! Note the last verse of the chapter, “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom.” You cannot plough a straight and useful furrow if you are looking back.

So if we have been baptised or are thinking of baptism let us realize the kind of commitment Jesus expects of us. But let us think positively, as Jesus did! His mind was focussed on “the joy that was set before him … ” [Hebrews 12:2] Two verses further on (into tomorrow’s chapter) comes Jesus’ words about the harvest labourers being few! But true labourers for the Lord have their priorities in the right order, may you be one of them.
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Posted 17 September 2013 - 04:31 AM

17 September 2013

2 Kings 24; 25
Ezekiel 13
Luke 9

“… PUTTING TO DEATH SOULS”

One of the puzzling things in Scripture for many people are the references to the death of “souls.” We have this in our Ezekiel reading today [Ezekiel 13] where the prophet writes, “The word of the LORD came to me” to speak against “those who prophesy from their own minds” [Ezekiel 13:1-2]. They are challenged by the LORD, “Will you hunt down souls belonging to my people and keep your own souls alive. You have profaned me … putting to death souls who should not die and keeping alive souls who should not live, by your lying to people, who listen to lies.” [Ezekiel 13:18-19]

Those who have the idea that “soul” means some inner part of us that lives on somewhere (up there or down there!) after the body dies misunderstand God’s word; long ago the thinking of non-Christians was adopted by some – it arose in R.C. theology long after the time of Christ.. When we come to Ezekiel 18 we will see God’s blunt statement, “the soul who sins shall die” [Ezekiel 18:4 and again Ezekiel 18:18] A ‘soul’ is not part of a person, it is the person, the phrase ‘immortal soul’ is not to be found anywhere in the Bible

Our chapter in Luke’s gospel today [Luke 9] helps us to reach a true understanding if we have any doubts on this. Jesus “called the twelve …and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal” [Luke 9:2] Later “the crowds …. followed him and he spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing” [Luke 9:11].

Jesus is “rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes” [Luke 9:21] and eventually killed at their instigation. They had their minds set on their position and prestige in this life! But Jesus asked, “what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses of forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and the holy angels,” [Luke 9:25-26] That will be the time of reward or punishment, then will be the resurrection. The true hope of life after death will become very clear when we come to Luke 20:35-36.

The chapter ends with Jesus responding to someone who said, “I will follow you where-ever you go” [Luke 9:57] But it is clear from the answer of Jesus that following him has to mean you give priority to the work of Jesus – the chapter ends by Jesus saying, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Will you be fit for the kingdom of God? Nowhere does it say anything about being fit for a place in heaven! In Matthew’s gospel the phrase “kingdom of heaven” occurs – that is, a heavenly kingdom – on earth. Remember the words in ‘The Lord’s prayer’ “your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth.” [Matthew 6:10] When you use the Lord’s prayer in your prayers be conscious of what you are praying about.
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Posted 17 September 2014 - 01:25 PM

17 September 2014
 
2 Kings 24; 25
Ezekiel 13
Luke 9 
 
"LET THESE WORDS SINK …" 
            
What effect do the words of the Bible have on you as you read them?  They vary greatly as we have seen today: but this causes us to exercise our minds in many different ways – and this is good for us.  God has overseen the recording of many different events and messages so that what he has caused to be written is a lifelong study – indeed, more than a study, often a cause of prayerful meditation.  So often it is about human failure and the causes of that failure.
            
Our Old Testament readings today were both about the dismal end of God’s nation.  The final 2 chapters in 2nd Kings detailed the dreadful destruction of Jerusalem and the distress of the people - and Ezekiel 13 is about the ungodliness at the time and how the Lord GOD said, “I will make stormy winds break out in my wrath … and great hailstones in wrath to make a full end.” [Ezekiel 13:13]  And today?
            
The Psalms of David had long been written so would one here and there, who knew them, have mediated on them?  Maybe Psalm 12, to take one example; it ends with the words, “on every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted …”!  Those trying to be righteous would surely have meditated on the two previous verses which start, “The words of the LORD are pure words …”! 
            
We compare the forecasts of the destruction of Jerusalem with the forecasts Jesus made of his death and the reaction of his hearers to these forecasts. We read today in Luke 9, "… while they were all marvelling at everything he was doing, Jesus  said to his disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: the Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.’  But they did not understand this saying …" [Luke 9:43-45] Their minds were focussed on "which of them was the greatest" [Luke 9:46]!  With that state of mind his words would not sink into their minds! 
               
We see a telling comparison with what we will read later in Luke 24.  After his resurrection, 2 disciples who had walked with an unrecognized Messiah later confessed, “Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” [Luke 24:32]  They were in a mood to “let these words sink” into their minds!  He had chided them, that they “were slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken” [Luke 24:25].  It seems to be our nature to believe only what we want to believe – but in looking at all that the prophets have spoken and seeing alarming comparisons with our world today to the forecasts then of the destruction of Jerusalem and the reasons for it, let us cause the words of Christ and the prophets to sink more fully into our minds, so we can walk with greater and greater faith in the increasing darkness of today’s world.
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- DC


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Posted 17 September 2015 - 07:22 AM

17 September 2015
 
2 Kings 24; 25
Ezekiel 13
Luke 9  
 
"NO ONE WHO … LOOKS BACK IS FIT FOR THE KINGDOM ..."
            
These are the words of Jesus recorded in the last verse of our chapter 9 in Luke’s gospel.  We are immediately provoked into asking – what is it to “look back”?  The answer is contained in the examples of “looking back” Jesus gives in the previous 5 verses - after “someone said to him, I will follow you wherever you go." [Luke 9:57] This is not a really surprising thing to say! Imagine tagging in along with his 12 disciples; what remarkable happenings one would witness - as a spectator!
            
It is obvious from the examples given - that following Jesus requires total commitment - and, at least at times, physical discomfort for "the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." [Luke 9:58]   Excuses start to multiply - reasons to delay the commencement of following him.  But Jesus says, no delay, no time for a grand farewell to family members - even if your father is dying!
            
"But as for you" declares Jesus, "go and proclaim the kingdom of God." [Luke 9:60]  And what a message to proclaim!  
            
There is self-denial involved, back in Luke 9:23 we read, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
            
What comes first in our lives today?  Again, the answer involves a recognition of the broad or the narrow way!  Jesus asks [Luke 9:25] "what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?" He then adds the challenging words, "whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory ..." [Luke 9:26]
            
And how close are we now to that wondrous time!  But those who have "looked back" - as the wife of Lot did will find that "the door is shut" - that their priorities in life, as the all seeing eye of their Lord perceives, means he judges them as being “one who … is not fit for the kingdom."  
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- DC


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Posted 17 September 2016 - 09:38 AM

17 September 2016
 
2 Kings 24; 25
Ezekiel 13
Luke 9
  
“I WILL FOLLOW YOU …”
 
The finish of today’s chapter in Luke is about three different people and the reasons they gave for delaying putting into practice their intention to follow Jesus. “I will follow you wherever you go” they had said. It had been exciting to follow Jesus, amazing things had been happening, food had been provided – miraculously – in the wilderness. 
 
It was OK to follow Jesus if he was going to see everything was provided, places to ‘lay your head’ – but he then said to the first person, that that was not going to be the case! 
 
‘Let me first go and bury my father’ said another [Luke 9:59] It was not that his father had just died and there would be a day’s delay, but one can imagine there would then be a lot of family responsibilities to be taken care of as a result of the death! But others can do that, just as others carried on the fishing, “the hired servants” when those disciples who had been fishermen left their boats to follow Jesus. But let those who are not following me, do that, is the response (in another Gospel).
 
A third said, ‘I will follow you Lord, but let me first say farewell to those in my home” [Luke 9:61] So the lesson is that if personal considerations come first and make discipleship ineffective then Jesus cannot use us – cannot properly use us – so he does not want us! Note the last verse of the chapter, “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom.” 
 
So if we have been baptised or are thinking of baptism let us realize the kind of commitment Jesus expects of us. But let us think positively, as Jesus did of “the joy that was set before him …” Two verses further on (into tomorrow’s chapter) comes Jesus’ words about the harvest labourers being few! True labourers for the Lord must have their priorities in the right order.
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- DC


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Posted 22 September 2017 - 02:21 AM

17 September 2017
 
2 Kings 24; 25
Ezekiel 13
Luke 9
 
"WHEN THE LORD HAS NOT SENT THEM"
 
There is a parallel between today's readings which complete the 2 Kings and what we read in Ezekiel: they are both about the same period, the end and destruction of the wonderful Kingdom David and Solomon had established; but it is written from two different aspects.
 
The people of God's kingdom had descended into spiritual depravity and we cannot help but see parallels with today. Ezekiel was a Priest who went into captivity with King Jehoiachin in the year 597BC [2 Kings 24:14-16]. Eleven years later Jerusalem was destroyed [2 Kings 25:2]. It was during this period that Ezekiel is sending messages back to those still in Jerusalem, and telling those who were with him in exile that their dreams of Jerusalem's return to prosperity and of those in captivity returning would not be fulfilled – and the reason for this!
 
His messages are to counteract the misleading pronouncements of those who falsely claim to be prophets of the LORD. Yesterday's reading [Ezekiel 12] finished with the message "say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: None of my words will be delayed any longer, but the word that I speak will be performed,' declares the Lord GOD." 
 
Ezekiel 13 starts with Ezekiel being told to "say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: 'Hear the word of the LORD'" [Ezekiel 13:2], then to declare, the LORD says, "Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!" [Ezekiel 13:3]. A  'punch line' follows – "They say declares the LORD, when the LORD has not sent them and yet they expect him to fulfil their word" [Ezekiel 13:6].  
 
We fear there is a parallel with preaching today - that message that God is totally loving and forgiving regardless of behaviour and the 'believers' future in heaven is assured, yet such who preach this do so 'from their own hearts.' 
 
We have one big advantage today, the whole world has God's word in their own language and those who are not satisfied with the messages they hear (if they choose to hear them at all) can check up and read God's words for themselves. The Bible is a gold mine of God's messages that all can 'dig' and bring to the surface – providing nourishing daily food for human minds. Those who 'dig' with the aim of becoming teachers of others need to heed the warning of James, "Not many of you should become teachers … for … we who teach will be judged with greater strictness" [James 3:1]. 
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- DC





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