Know God

Ezekiel 27:1–15 (NKJV)

27:1 The word of the Lord came again to me, saying, “Now, son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyre, and say to Tyre, ‘You who are situated at the entrance of the sea, merchant of the peoples on many coastlands, thus says the Lord God:

“O Tyre, you have said,

‘I am perfect in beauty.’

4 Your borders are in the midst of the seas.

Your builders have perfected your beauty.

5 They made all your planks of fir trees from Senir;

They took a cedar from Lebanon to make you a mast.

6 Of oaks from Bashan they made your oars;

The company of Ashurites have inlaid your planks

With ivory from the coasts of Cyprus.

7 Fine embroidered linen from Egypt was what you spread for your sail;

Blue and purple from the coasts of Elishah was what covered you.

8 “Inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were your oarsmen;

Your wise men, O Tyre, were in you;

They became your pilots.

9 Elders of Gebal and its wise men

Were in you to caulk your seams;

All the ships of the sea

And their oarsmen were in you

To market your merchandise.

10 “Those from Persia, Lydia, and Libya

Were in your army as men of war;

They hung shield and helmet in you;

They gave splendor to you.

11 Men of Arvad with your army were on your walls all around,

And the men of Gammad were in your towers;

They hung their shields on your walls all around;

They made your beauty perfect.

12 “Tarshish was your merchant because of your many luxury goods. They gave you silver, iron, tin, and lead for your goods. 13 Javan, Tubal, and Meshech were your traders. They bartered human lives and vessels of bronze for your merchandise. 14 Those from the house of Togarmah traded for your wares with horses, steeds, and mules. 15 The men of Dedan were your traders; many isles were the market of your hand. They brought you ivory tusks and ebony as payment.

Ezekiel is instructed to make a lament, or song of mourning, for Tyre.  He had just uttered a judgment against Tyre, but is now offering a lament. This is not necessarily God expressing sorrow, but is actually an extension of the prophetic judgment, speaking of the fall of Tyre as if the funeral had already begun.  It does, however, serve the purpose of showing the nation what will be lost.  He does this by speaking of the many relationships that Tyre, a great city-state, had developed and the profit that arose from them.  The situation is described as if Tyre is a ship–fitting since it is a coastal city–and it was built and outfitted with the best of all materials: fir planks from Senir, cedar mast from Lebanon, oak oars from Bashan, Ivory inlays from Cyprus, an embroidered linen sail from Egypt, and a blue and purple cover from Elishah.  The chapter further speaks of the laborer and crew that came from abroad: oarsmen from Sidon and Arvad, pilots from the wise men of Tyre, builders from Gebal.  Sailors from everywhere marketed Tyre’s merchandise, Persian Lydia, and Libya were their army, Arvad and Gammad defended the city proper.  Tarshish, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, Togarmah, and Dedan traded with Tyre, supplying them multiple items.  

The bottom line is that great commercial success is not the end.  Relationships with men are not the end.  They are simply the outgrowth of a powerful relationship with the one true God.  Therefore, know God and serve Him.  The success and favor with men will follow.  However, when one knows God first and intimately, all the blessings that follow will be secure.  When they are built only on man and his abilities, the blessings are unsecure and tomorrow may see them blow away like dust in a storm.  Know God!

God Will Fight For You

Ezekiel 26:1–21 (NKJV)

26:1 And it came to pass in the eleventh year, on the first day of the month, that the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, because Tyre has said against Jerusalem, ‘Aha! She is broken who was the gateway of the peoples; now she is turned over to me; I shall be filled; she is laid waste.’

“Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against you, as the sea causes its waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for spreading nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,’ says the Lord God; ‘it shall become plunder for the nations. Also her daughter villages which are in the fields shall be slain by the sword. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.’

“For thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people. He will slay with the sword your daughter villages in the fields; he will heap up a siege mound against you, build a wall against you, and raise a defense against you. He will direct his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers. 10 Because of the abundance of his horses, their dust will cover you; your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen, the wagons, and the chariots, when he enters your gates, as men enter a city that has been breached. 11 With the hooves of his horses he will trample all your streets; he will slay your people by the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground. 12 They will plunder your riches and pillage your merchandise; they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water. 13 I will put an end to the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps shall be heard no more. 14 I will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets, and you shall never be rebuilt, for I the Lord have spoken,’ says the Lord God.

The Lord calls Tyre out for mocking Judah as well, and declares that He will send Babylon under Nebchadnezzer to attack and destroy them, turning them into a flat top of a rock mountain.  People will spread their nets where life and buildings and business once were.  Do not mock God’s chosen people!

15 “Thus says the Lord God to Tyre: ‘Will the coastlands not shake at the sound of your fall, when the wounded cry, when slaughter is made in the midst of you? 16 Then all the princes of the sea will come down from their thrones, lay aside their robes, and take off their embroidered garments; they will clothe themselves with trembling; they will sit on the ground, tremble every moment, and be astonished at you. 17 And they will take up a lamentation for you, and say to you:

“How you have perished,

O one inhabited by seafaring men,

O renowned city,

Who was strong at sea,

She and her inhabitants,

Who caused their terror to be on all her inhabitants!

18 Now the coastlands tremble on the day of your fall;

Yes, the coastlands by the sea are troubled at your departure.” ’

19 “For thus says the Lord God: ‘When I make you a desolate city, like cities that are not inhabited, when I bring the deep upon you, and great waters cover you, 20 then I will bring you down with those who descend into the Pit, to the people of old, and I will make you dwell in the lowest part of the earth, in places desolate from antiquity, with those who go down to the Pit, so that you may never be inhabited; and I shall establish glory in the land of the living. 21 I will make you a terror, and you shall be no more; though you are sought for, you will never be found again,’ says the Lord God.”

The Lord then speaks of how the nations around Tyre will tremble and be astonished at the fall of Tyre.  God plans to bring the tide over Tyre, and take its inhabitants and the city itself down into the pit of death.  Tyre shall be a terror to those around them.

Understand one thing: no matter what comes against you, the Lord will defend His people.  When you fail, God will push back the enemy.  He will bring vengeance upon your attackers.  It may not be immediate, but it will be thorough.  You may have to walk through a valley, but God will bring you through.  Even if you sin causes you loss, woe to the man who takes your inheritance or your blessing.  God will not forget the actions of the wicked against His people.  Do not be dismayed, do not despair, for God will recompense and He will fight for you!

Dads Matter (Know Your Role)

NOTES FROM A SERMON PRESENTED BY DR. GREG SLOOP AT THE KANNAPOLIS CHURCH OF GOD ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2018 IN THE 10:30 AM SERVICE.  FOR VIDEO OF SERVICES, GO TO THE CHURCH WEBSITE, HTTP://WWW.KCOG.ORG, AND CLICK ON THE LIVESTREAM LINK FOR A REPLAY OF THE SERVICES.  FOR AUDIO OF THE SERVICES, GO THE THE WEBSITE AND CLICK ON THE MEDIA PAGE.

Dads Matter

My Dad:

Taught me how to work

Cannon Mills

Around the House (Clothes, Dishes, etc.)

Taught me how to play

Vacations

Wrestling and Tickling

Tried sports with me, although it was not his thing, really

Taught Me to Love

Love his wife

Love his children

Love his church

Love his Lord

Fathers Should Be:

Providing

Present

Praying

Teaching

Modeling & Guiding

Giving opportunities (opening doors)

I.  Fathers Should Be Providing

1 Timothy 5:8 (NKJV): 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

II. Fathers Should Be Present

Deuteronomy 6:4–7 (NKJV)

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

Wife and children must be more important than sports, hobbies, leisure activities.

If your “fun” is making it hard to be connected with your family, find some different fun that you can all enjoy together!

III. Fathers Should Be Praying

John 17:9–10 (NKJV):  9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.

IV.  Fathers Should Be Teaching

Deuteronomy 6:7 (NKJV): 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

V. Fathers Should Be Modeling and Guiding

Colossians 3:20–21 (NKJV)

20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

VI. Fathers Should Be Giving opportunities (opening doors)

2 Corinthians 12:14–15 (NKJV):  14 … And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls….

Sons and Daughters Matter

Children should be:

Obeying

Following

Listening

Imitating

Taking Advantage of Opportunities

I. Children Should Be Obeying

Proverbs 6:20 (NLT): 20 My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.

II. Children should be Following

1 Kings 11:6 (NLT)

6 In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done.

III. Children should be Listening

Proverbs 1:8 (NLT): 8 My child, listen when your father corrects you.  Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.

IV. Children should be Imitating

1 Corinthians 11:1 (NKJV): 1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

V. Children should be Taking Advantage of Opportunities

Ecclesiastes 12:4 (NLT): 4 Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint.

Takeaway Thoughts

Fathers have a very distinct role in the family.  Their leadership is essential. 

Fathers should be providing, present, praying, teaching, modeling & guiding, and giving opportunities.

Children have a powerful role as well to make the family whole.

Children should be obeying, following, listening, imitating, and taking the opportunities provided.

God’s Vengeance on the Nations

Ezekiel 25:1–17 (NKJV)

25:1 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them. Say to the Ammonites, ‘Hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God: “Because you said, ‘Aha!’ against My sanctuary when it was profaned, and against the land of Israel when it was desolate, and against the house of Judah when they went into captivity, indeed, therefore, I will deliver you as a possession to the men of the East, and they shall set their encampments among you and make their dwellings among you; they shall eat your fruit, and they shall drink your milk. And I will make Rabbah a stable for camels and Ammon a resting place for flocks. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”

‘For thus says the Lord God: “Because you clapped your hands, stamped your feet, and rejoiced in heart with all your disdain for the land of Israel, indeed, therefore, I will stretch out My hand against you, and give you as plunder to the nations; I will cut you off from the peoples, and I will cause you to perish from the countries; I will destroy you, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

In this chapter, the Lord begins to declare His indignation with the countries who have opposed Israel and Judah.  The first is Ammon, and He declares that because they ridiculed God’s people, that they would be overrun by the people of the East.  They will be as plunder to the nations.

‘Thus says the Lord God: “Because Moab and Seir say, ‘Look! The house of Judah is like all the nations,’ therefore, behold, I will clear the territory of Moab of cities, of the cities on its frontier, the glory of the country, Beth Jeshimoth, Baal Meon, and Kirjathaim. 10 To the men of the East I will give it as a possession, together with the Ammonites, that the Ammonites may not be remembered among the nations. 11 And I will execute judgments upon Moab, and they shall know that I am the Lord.”

In this passage, the Lord brings the nation of Moab into the same judgment as Ammon.  They made the mistake of saying that God’s people were just like all the other nations.  God, though, still considered them His chosen people.  Even if they were disloyal and idolatrous, God protected them from the other nations, and this is an example of that protection.

12 ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Because of what Edom did against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has greatly offended by avenging itself on them,” 13 therefore thus says the Lord God: “I will also stretch out My hand against Edom, cut off man and beast from it, and make it desolate from Teman; Dedan shall fall by the sword. 14 I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel, that they may do in Edom according to My anger and according to My fury; and they shall know My vengeance,” says the Lord God.

Edom, descended from Abraham, took vengeance against Judah.  The nature of this act is not spelled out, but it was enough to incur the vengeance of the Lord.  Here, though, the recompense upon Israel’s enemies will be performed by Israel itself.

15 ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Because the Philistines dealt vengefully and took vengeance with a spiteful heart, to destroy because of the old hatred,” 16 therefore thus says the Lord God: “I will stretch out My hand against the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethites and destroy the remnant of the seacoast. 17 I will execute great vengeance on them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I lay My vengeance upon them.” ’ ”

Finally, God speaks of His plans to execute vengeance on the Philistines.  There had been a long-standing conflict between Israel and Philistia, especially during the time of David’s reign.  Even now, there was tension and conflict, and the Lord purposed to punish the Philistines for their actions.

The thought here is that God takes vengeance on those who disobey Him, as did the Israelites, but He also will defend His people.  Rest assured, if injustice comes, the Lord will eventually repay the evil one who oppresses or attacks the child of God.  Even if you suffere loss at their hands, the scales will be balanced.  The important thing to do is obey God and look for the eternal reward.  Don’t fixate on the problem before you, but rather on the reward that is ahead!  God will handle your enemies.

Burn Out the Scum

Ezekiel 24:1–27 (NKJV)

24:1 Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, write down the name of the day, this very day—the king of Babylon started his siege against Jerusalem this very day. And utter a parable to the rebellious house, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God:

“Put on a pot, set it on,

And also pour water into it.

4 Gather pieces of meat in it,

Every good piece,

The thigh and the shoulder.

Fill it with choice cuts;

5 Take the choice of the flock.

Also pile fuel bones under it,

Make it boil well,

And let the cuts simmer in it.”

‘Therefore thus says the Lord God:

“Woe to the bloody city,

To the pot whose scum is in it,

And whose scum is not gone from it!

Bring it out piece by piece,

On which no lot has fallen.

7 For her blood is in her midst;

She set it on top of a rock;

She did not pour it on the ground,

To cover it with dust.

8 That it may raise up fury and take vengeance,

I have set her blood on top of a rock,

That it may not be covered.”

‘Therefore thus says the Lord God:

“Woe to the bloody city!

I too will make the pyre great.

10 Heap on the wood,

Kindle the fire;

Cook the meat well,

Mix in the spices,

And let the cuts be burned up.

11 “Then set the pot empty on the coals,

That it may become hot and its bronze may burn,

That its filthiness may be melted in it,

That its scum may be consumed.

12 She has grown weary with lies,

And her great scum has not gone from her.

Let her scum be in the fire!

13 In your filthiness is lewdness.

Because I have cleansed you, and you were not cleansed,

You will not be cleansed of your filthiness anymore,

Till I have caused My fury to rest upon you.

14 I, the Lord, have spoken it;

It shall come to pass, and I will do it;

I will not hold back,

Nor will I spare,

Nor will I relent;

According to your ways

And according to your deeds

They will judge you,”

Says the Lord God.’ ”

God continues His denunciation of Judah by declaring that she is a pot lined with scum, in which the nation cooks food and offers it to others.  God told her to purify herself and burn off the scum, yet she had gone too far and would not be cleansed until she was punished.

15 Also the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 16 “Son of man, behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes with one stroke; yet you shall neither mourn nor weep, nor shall your tears run down. 17 Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead; bind your turban on your head, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your lips, and do not eat man’s bread of sorrow.”

18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died; and the next morning I did as I was commanded.

19 And the people said to me, “Will you not tell us what these things signify to us, that you behave so?”

20 Then I answered them, “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 21 ‘Speak to the house of Israel, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I will profane My sanctuary, your arrogant boast, the desire of your eyes, the delight of your soul; and your sons and daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword. 22 And you shall do as I have done; you shall not cover your lips nor eat man’s bread of sorrow. 23 Your turbans shall be on your heads and your sandals on your feet; you shall neither mourn nor weep, but you shall pine away in your iniquities and mourn with one another. 24 Thus Ezekiel is a sign to you; according to all that he has done you shall do; and when this comes, you shall know that I am the Lord God.’ ”

25 ‘And you, son of man—will it not be in the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy and their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that on which they set their minds, their sons and their daughters: 26 on that day one who escapes will come to you to let you hear it with your ears; 27 on that day your mouth will be opened to him who has escaped; you shall speak and no longer be mute. Thus you will be a sign to them, and they shall know that I am the Lord.’ ”

God knew that Ezekiel’s wife would die, and told Ezekiel not to mourn.  This would be an example to Judah of how they should react when judgment comes.  Don’t mourn over your loss when it was a result of your sin.  Instead, stand up and take your licks.  When you sin, judgment will follow.  When your children die, stand up and speak of her value.  Don’t just mourn for yourself.  Live righteously, and avoid the punishment that comes from sinning willfully and continuously.  Burn out the scum before you cannot!

Judgment

Ezekiel 23:36–49 (NKJV)

36 The Lord also said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare to them their abominations. 37 For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. They have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore to Me, passing them through the fire, to devour them. 38 Moreover they have done this to Me: They have defiled My sanctuary on the same day and profaned My Sabbaths. 39 For after they had slain their children for their idols, on the same day they came into My sanctuary to profane it; and indeed thus they have done in the midst of My house.

The depth of idol worship is outlined here, with human sacrifice of their children becoming part of the indictment.  Judah also defiled the temple and failed to properly observe the Sabbaths.  

40 “Furthermore you sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and there they came. And you washed yourself for them, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments. 41 You sat on a stately couch, with a table prepared before it, on which you had set My incense and My oil. 42 The sound of a carefree multitude was with her, and Sabeans were brought from the wilderness with men of the common sort, who put bracelets on their wrists and beautiful crowns on their heads. 43 Then I said concerning her who had grown old in adulteries, ‘Will they commit harlotry with her now, and she with them?’ 44 Yet they went in to her, as men go in to a woman who plays the harlot; thus they went in to Oholah and Oholibah, the lewd women. 45 But righteous men will judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their hands.

In this passage, the Lord accuses the sisters (Israel and Judah) of washing and putting on makeup in an effort to lure Gentiles to her room.  She dressed up herself and her dwelling, but was truly a used-up woman, too old for the prostitution in which she participated.  Yet, somehow, she still drew her lovers, along with the judgment of righteous men.  The sisters are adulteressed, and will be dealt with accordingly.

46 “For thus says the Lord God: ‘Bring up an assembly against them, give them up to trouble and plunder. 47 The assembly shall stone them with stones and execute them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn their houses with fire. 48 Thus I will cause lewdness to cease from the land, that all women may be taught not to practice your lewdness. 49 They shall repay you for your lewdness, and you shall pay for your idolatrous sins. Then you shall know that I am the Lord God.’ ”

The Lord here reiterates His pronouncements of judgment from previous warnings, but adds the image of stoning and burning their houses with fire.  God’s desire is that the discipline of judgment will drive the idolatry from the nations and that they can recognize Yahweh as Lord and then be restored.  God is looking for righteousness.  If He cannot find righteousness, then He will allow judgment to fall.  Then He will look for righteousness and submission.  Do not push the limits too far.  God desires mercy rather than sacrifice.  Let Him reign in your life, not sin.  God desires relationship, not judgment.

The Recompense

Ezekiel 23:22–35 (NKJV)

22 “Therefore, Oholibah, thus says the Lord God:

‘Behold, I will stir up your lovers against you,

From whom you have alienated yourself,

And I will bring them against you from every side:

23 The Babylonians,

All the Chaldeans,

Pekod, Shoa, Koa,

All the Assyrians with them,

All of them desirable young men,

Governors and rulers,

Captains and men of renown,

All of them riding on horses.

24 And they shall come against you

With chariots, wagons, and war-horses,

With a horde of people.

They shall array against you

Buckler, shield, and helmet all around.

‘I will delegate judgment to them,

And they shall judge you according to their judgments.

25 I will set My jealousy against you,

And they shall deal furiously with you;

They shall remove your nose and your ears,

And your remnant shall fall by the sword;

They shall take your sons and your daughters,

And your remnant shall be devoured by fire.

26 They shall also strip you of your clothes

And take away your beautiful jewelry.

The Lord moves from the allegorical statements of judgment to very specific pronouncements of how the He will judge Judah (Oholibah).  The nations with which she played the harlot will come against her in war, with chariots, wagons, and war-horses.  They will destory the nation and all will fall in battle, with sons and daughters being taken into captivity.  Their wealth will be lost and their beauty ended.  They will lose their noses and ears, a punishment reserved for disobedient servants and adulteresses.

27 ‘Thus I will make you cease your lewdness and your harlotry

Brought from the land of Egypt,

So that you will not lift your eyes to them,

Nor remember Egypt anymore.’

28 “For thus says the Lord God: ‘Surely I will deliver you into the hand of those you hate, into the hand of those from whom you alienated yourself. 29 They will deal hatefully with you, take away all you have worked for, and leave you naked and bare. The nakedness of your harlotry shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotry. 30 I will do these things to you because you have gone as a harlot after the Gentiles, because you have become defiled by their idols. 31 You have walked in the way of your sister; therefore I will put her cup in your hand.’

32 “Thus says the Lord God:

‘You shall drink of your sister’s cup,

The deep and wide one;

You shall be laughed to scorn

And held in derision;

It contains much.

33 You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow,

The cup of horror and desolation,

The cup of your sister Samaria.

34 You shall drink and drain it,

You shall break its shards,

And tear at your own breasts;

For I have spoken,’

Says the Lord God.

35 “Therefore thus says the Lord God:

‘Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back,

Therefore you shall bear the penalty

Of your lewdness and your harlotry.’ ”

He states the purpose for the judgment upon Judah.  He desires that she leave behind the harlotry she engages in, especially with Egypt.  She is like her sister, Israel, and will receive a judgment similar to hers.  This cup will be filled with horror and desolation, from which there will be no escape.  Shame will rain upon them, and they will be sorrowful for their idol worship.

This punishment is great and horrible.  They will not survive well.  It is devastating and overwhelming, but is very real and near.  Remember the way that God has set before you.  Return to it with all your heart.  Repent, and live holy.  The results of sin are devastating.  Don’t continue in your sin, for the recompense will be unbearable!