READ: Ezekiel 11-12
THINK: Do you ever take God's presence for granted? Though He's everywhere and always at work in His people's lives, it's still easy to disregard God and allow sinful behaviors to become part of our routines. But God won't share His place in our lives–as individuals or as a church-with anything else. If we tolerate sin or compromise the truth of His Word, then we also compromise the benefits of His presence. God revealed to Ezekiel that He would not be in the temple as long as the people engaged in false worship and tolerated wickedness. In the same way, churches that compromise with the world, abandon true Biblical teaching or tolerate immoral beliefs and behaviors among their people will lose His presence-and their place in God's kingdom.
RESPOND: Why did God's glory leave the temple and Jerusalem? (See 10:4 note, subpoint 1.) How and why can this happen to churches? (See 10:4 note, subpoint 2.) How can you prevent this in your life? (See 10:4 note, subpoint 3.) According to 11:12, what influences did Israel and Judah follow, and what happened as a result (11:11)? (See 11:12 note.) How can you avoid conforming to the ungodly beliefs and behaviors around you? What hope did God give regarding Israel's future, even though the people were already scattered in exile (11:16-17)? (See 11:16 note.) When was this promise partially fulfilled, and when will it ultimately be fulfilled? (See 11:17-21 note.) According to 11:18-20, what would God do, what would His people do, and how would this affect their service to Him? (See 11:19 note.) How is this experience available to us? What message did Ezekiel's actions send to those already in exile? Why did the exiles refuse to believe Ezekiel's message (12:22)? (See 12:21-28 note.) How do people today deceive themselves regarding the warnings in God's Word?
PRAY: Pray for God's presence and power to be evident in your church and in your life. Ask God to help you use wisdom and discretion to avoid conforming to the ungodly beliefs and behaviors of those around you.
ACT: Have you lost or lacked a sense of God's presence in any aspect of your life? Perhaps you've compromised or conformed to worldly attitudes or actions in that area. If so, ask God to forgive you, to help you change, and to restore the sense of His presence and the practice of His power in every aspect of your life.
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