Ezekiel 20

Scripture

Ezekiel 20:11 I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live.

Observation – What does it say?

Ezekiel is in the middle of declaring these prophetic parables about what Israel has been like. He depicts Israel as a burnt useless stick, a rebellious wife, a dangerous lion that has been captured and then as two promiscuous sisters. As he paints these various pictures of Israel, he pauses at times, one of which is here in chapter 20, to argue that the judgment coming on Israel is deserved. Here, God explains through Ezekiel how he rescued his chosen people even though they rebelled against him. And, after rescuing them he gave them his commands. Yet they only continued to rebel.

Understanding – What does it mean?

What hit me in this verse is the reason God gave his people commands and ‘rules.’

The words ‘rule’ and ‘command’ have such negative connotations in our culture today. There is a lie that if we follow God’s commands we’re going to be restricted and kept from what’s truly going to make us happiest. But here, the truth is revealed.

Rules and commands aren’t designed to keep us from really living, but rather, to enable us to live life to its fullest!

This must be why David said things like this:

Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul… The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Psalm 119:97-98 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.
Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies.

[side note: Because we could never follow all God’s commands perfectly and therefore all sin, God sent his Son to die for our sins so that by believing in him we could receive the life we could never earn. Under the New Covenant, under grace, we don’t follow God’s commands in order to earn salvation or life, but as a loving response to the salvation and life we’ve already received.]

Life Application

Joyfully follow God’s commands, understanding it will result in a much richer, fuller, God-glorifying life!

God, thank you so much for you commands! Thank you for blessing us with your word that instructs us in how we are to live. The essence of being a Christian is learning to obey all you have commanded us to do. And we know that the Christian life, though not always easy, is filled with joy and fulfillment! May we obey you, even when it’s hard, knowing that our obedience is what will lead to a richer and fuller life with you. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 
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