READ: Ezekiel 20-21
THINK: Get real! Has anyone ever said that to you? What were they getting at? Whether we're talking people or things, most of us prefer the real thing over a cheap imitation. After all, the original is worth more. So why are people willing to compromise their own God-given worth by imitating the ungodly behaviors of others? Even those who know the benefits of following God are tempted like people in this passage who said, "We want to be like the nations, like the peoples of the world" (20:32). But by conforming to beliefs, behaviors and lifestyles that are common in the world, they lose the privilege of being God's special people. Don't forfeit your faith by being a cheap imitation. Follow Christ alone, and be the original that God created you to be.
RESPOND: Why do you think God wouldn't let the Israel's elders ask anything of Him in 20:3? According to 20:9, why didn't God destroy the Israelites for rebellion following their release from slavery in Egypt? (See 20:9 note.) What were the Sabbaths supposed to remind the Israelites of? (See 20:12 note.) In what ways did God repeatedly show patience and mercy to His people (cf. 20:17)? How is the question in 20:30 a warning to us today? (See 20:30 note.) Why do you think God's people wanted to be like other nations (20:32), and how do some in the church demonstrate the same desire? (See 20:32 note.) How and when would God fulfill the promise of 20:39-42? (See 20:34-44 note.) According to 20:44, how would God deal with His people, and how did this show His grace? Who or what would God use as the "sword" of judgment against Jerusalem and Judah? (See 21:3-32 note.) Why would both the righteous and the wicked suffer during the coming tragedy (21:3), and how will God ultimately treat these two groups? (See 21:3 note.) What happens to people who reject God's warnings and correction? (See 21:12 note.) Who was the One who was coming (21:27), to whom the King's crown ultimately belongs? (See 21:27 note.)
PRAY: Give God thanks for His patience and mercy, and pray that you never take His grace for granted.
ACT: Are you imitating anything that's not worthy of imitation-something that doesn't honor God, but instead conforms to the expectations of the ungodly culture around you? If so, reclaim your God-given worth and originality by repenting to God and changing your ways to conform to His pattern and purpose for your life.
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