Text: Ezekiel 33:21-33
21 And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten.
22 Now the hand of the LORD was upon me in the evening, afore he that was escaped came; and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb.
23 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
24 Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land is given us for inheritance.
25 Wherefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Ye eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall ye possess the land?
26 Ye stand upon your sword, ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbour’s wife: and shall ye possess the land?
27 Say thou thus unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that be in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence.
28 For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through.
29 Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.
30 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD.
31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.
32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.
33 And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.
Key Verse: “And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness” (Ezekiel 33:31).
At the outset of his reign, Adolf Hitler was known for his profuse use of Christian vocabulary. He was said to be in the habit of brandishing his tattered Bible and declaring to the people that he drew inspiration and strength from it for the great work he had in hand. He gave out himself as a man zealous of good works, and by this, captured the attention of pious people as a God-ordained leader. But history later revealed his true self. There has never been a short supply of people who draw near to God with their mouths, but their hearts are far from Him (Matthew 15:8).
The Jews in Babylonian captivity typified this attitude. They displayed much of outward religion but had no heart for God. He revealed to Prophet Ezekiel how much they talked about Him. They went through the motions of religious worship, delighted in hearing the sermons of the prophet which served only to entertain them. They heard the Word but they did not obey it. Instead of returning to and being thankful to God, they were filled with presumption, pride and abominable practices. Yet, they were so confident that they were divinely favoured to possess the land, the same way today’s hypocrites vainly lay claim to God’s promises.
Today, churches are filled with people preoccupied with religious activities but who mock faithful ministers of God and ridicule the eternally settled Word. But you can stand out by making your calling and election sure.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Don’t be double-faced; serve God if you want to!
THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR: Ruth 1-2
DCLM Daily Manna was written by Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi; is the founder and General Superintendent of the Deeper Life Bible Church situated at KM 42 on the busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Nigeria.