READ: Ezekiel 17-19
THINK: Do you ever play the blame game? It's easy. People have been playing it for a long time-since the beginning, really. Most people can join in without any instruction. The game is particularly popular when people are in trouble-due to their own actions-and they find it convenient to blame others for their situation. Apparently, the people in this passage believed that God was unjustly punishing them for their ancestors' sins, failing to recognize that their own sins were even worse. When people suffer the consequences of sin, they have no one to blame but themselves. God makes it unmistakably clear that each person is accountable to God for his or her own actions.
RESPOND: Who are the two eagles mentioned in chapter 17 (vv. 12,17)? (See 17:4 and 17:7 notes.) What was "the east wind," and what would it do to Judah? (See 17:10 note.) What does it mean that God would plant a branch from the top of the tree (17:22), and in what way would it grow? (See 17:22 note.) In chapter 18, how were the Jews mistaken about their own situation and about God (18:25,29)? (See 18:1-32 note.) What does this passage convey about our accountability to God? (See 18:1-32 note.) According to 18:5-9, what are some practical distinctions of a people who are right with God, and what ultimate benefit will they enjoy? (See 18:5-9 note.) What hope does God offer people who have behaved wickedly, and what's the condition for laying hold of this hope (18:21-22)? (See 18:21-23 note.) In what does God take pleasure (18:22)? If a wicked person turns from sin and sincerely turns to God, what does God do in regard to past sins (18:22)? What happens if a righteous person turns away from God and behaves wickedly (18:24)? (See 18:24 note.) How does this serve as a warning to all who follow God?
PRAY: Repent of any known sin in your life, including unforgiveness toward others, and give God thanks for the gift of forgiveness.
ACT: If you've harbored any unforgiveness toward anyone for their actions toward you-or if you're blaming anyone for the consequences of your own actions-settle the issue with God and yourself. If appropriate, settle any unresolved issues with others involved.
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