READ: Ezekiel 22-23
THINK: Have you ever justified an action by claiming that "everyone else is doing it"? Have you tried to ease your conscience about a questionable behavior by noting that it's acceptable to almost everyone? A lot of things that are acceptable and common in the world aren't appropriate for Christ's followers. In an attempt to fit in-or even to be relevant with those who don't know Jesus-we must not become like the leaders in Ezekiel's day, who did "not distinguish between the holy and the common" and taught that "there is no difference between the unclean and the clean" (22:26). There is a difference, and Jesus' followers must demonstrate it. If those who don't follow Jesus see no significant difference in those who do, then why would they abandon their own ways and turn to Jesus?
RESPOND: According to 22:3, what did ancient Jerusalem do to bring defilement and doom on herself, and why had people become so corrupt? (See 22:2-12 note.) How do these same behaviors characterize many contemporary cities, and what will ultimately happen to people who continue to defy God in these ways? How were the priests defying God (22:25-28), and what were they failing to teach (22:26)? (See 22:25-28 note.) What do you think it means that they did "not distinguish between the holy and the common" (22:26), and how can we know the difference? How had false prophets promoted evil and rebellion among the people? (See 22:28 note.) According to 22:30, what did God look for, and why? (See 22:30 note.) What does it mean for God's people to "stand in the gap," and why do they sometimes fail to do so? (See 22:30 note.) What sister nations were depicted by the two "women" in chapter 23, and how were they unfaithful to God? (See 23:2 and 23:5-9 notes.) What does it mean that Judah had forgotten God and thrust Him behind their backs (23:35), and how is this a warning to us? (See 23:35 note.)
PRAY: Pray for your city and nation, that God would guide it's leaders and that God's people would be a positive influence. Stand in the gap through prayer for people you know who don't know Jesus personally.
ACT: Are you involved in activities or behaviors that are common in the world but not appropriate for followers of Jesus because they don't demonstrate His character or help you or anyone else get closer to Him? If so, make a change that reflects a positive and purposeful difference between you and those who don't follow Jesus.
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