The Latter Major Prophets – Ezekiel 15-17

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, how is the wood of a vine different from that of a branch from any of the trees in the forest?  Is wood ever taken from it to make anything useful?  Do they make pegs from it to hang things on?  And after it is thrown on the fire as fuel and the fire burns both ends and chars the middle, is it then useful for anything?  If it was not useful for anything when it was whole, how much less can it be made into something useful when the fire has burned it and it is charred?
“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: As I have given the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest as fuel for the fire, so will I treat the people living in Jerusalem.  I will set my face against them.  Although they have come out of the fire, the fire will yet consume them.  And when I set my face against them, you will know that I am the Lord.  I will make the land desolate because they have been unfaithful, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

  • Ezekiel 15:1-8

Ezekiel 16:1-63 – Click the link HERE to read this at Biblegateway.com

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set forth an allegory and tell it to the Israelites as a parable.  Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: A great eagle with powerful wings, long feathers and full plumage of varied colors came to Lebanon.  Taking hold of the top of a cedar, he broke off its topmost shoot and carried it away to a land of merchants, where he planted it in a city of traders.
“‘He took one of the seedlings of the land and put it in fertile soil. He planted it like a willow by abundant water, and it sprouted and became a low, spreading vine. Its branches turned toward him, but its roots remained under it.  So it became a vine and produced branches and put out leafy boughs.
“‘But there was another great eagle with powerful wings and full plumage.  The vine now sent out its roots toward him from the plot where it was planted and stretched out its branches to him for water.  It had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would produce branches, bear fruit and become a splendid vine.’
“Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Will it thrive?  Will it not be uprooted and stripped of its fruit so that it withers?  All its new growth will wither.  It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it up by the roots.  It has been planted, but will it thrive?  Will it not wither completely when the east wind strikes it—wither away in the plot where it grew?’”
Then the word of the Lord came to me: “Say to this rebellious people, ‘Do you not know what these things mean?’ Say to them: ‘The king of Babylon went to Jerusalem and carried off her king and her nobles, bringing them back with him to Babylon.  Then he took a member of the royal family and made a treaty with him, putting him under oath.  He also carried away the leading men of the land, so that the kingdom would be brought low, unable to rise again, surviving only by keeping his treaty.  But the king rebelled against him by sending his envoys to Egypt to get horses and a large army.  Will he succeed? Will he who does such things escape?  Will he break the treaty and yet escape?
“‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, he shall die in Babylon, in the land of the king who put him on the throne, whose oath he despised and whose treaty he broke.  Pharaoh with his mighty army and great horde will be of no help to him in war, when ramps are built and siege works erected to destroy many lives.  He despised the oath by breaking the covenant.  Because he had given his hand in pledge and yet did all these things, he shall not escape.
“‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, I will repay him for despising my oath and breaking my covenant.  I will spread my net for him, and he will be caught in my snare.  I will bring him to Babylon and execute judgment on him there because he was unfaithful to me.  All his choice troops will fall by the sword, and the survivors will be scattered to the winds.  Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken.
“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain.  On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar.  Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches.  All the trees of the forest will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall.  I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.
“‘I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.’”

  • Ezekiel 17:1-24

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Ezekiel 15:1-2 ‘testing the limits’: “The Jewish nation had arrogant ideas of themselves.  When they sinned against God, they supposed that on account of the superior sanctity of their forefathers or by reason of some special sanctity in themselves, they would be delivered.  They thought they could sin as they pleased.  In consequence of the infinite mercy of God, which he had displayed toward them in delivering them out of so many distresses, they gradually came to imagine that they were the favorite children of providence and that God could by no means ever cast them away.  God, therefore, in order to humble their pride, tells them that they, in themselves, were nothing more than any other nation.  He asks them what there was about them to recommend them: ‘I have often called you a vine.  I have planted you and nurtured you in a fruitful hill, but now you bring forth no fruit.  What is there in you that you should continue in my favor?  If you imagine there is anything about you more than about any other nation, you are mightily mistaken.’
“These things might be said without implying that God in the least degree alters his eternal purpose toward any chosen vessel of mercy.  The Israelite nation was not chosen to eternal salvation as a nation but chosen to special privileges, a type and shadow of that eternal personal election that Christ has given to his church.  God will never withdraw his love from his own elect church, but from the outward and visible church, he sometimes may.  From his own people he will never take away his affection; but from professors, from those who merely stand in his people’s external condition and are not his children, he may.  Yes, and he will withdraw every token of his favor.  God humbles Israel by reminding them that they had nothing other nations had not – that in fact they were a contemptible nation, not worthy to be set side by side with the cedar of Lebanon or with the oak of Samaria.  He checks their pride and humbles them with the parable we have here before us.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

Ezekiel 15 ‘summary’: “In our culture today, the image of a vineyard is a romantic one of sweeping hills, manicured rows of lush green leave, branches dripping with large bunches of juicy grapes.  California draws tourists into its fertile valleys to enjoy the beauty of their vineyards and the bounty of their produce.  The vine planted by the Lord was supposed to bear good fruit, but it produced wild grapes instead, and they were sour grapes at that.  The illustration given in Ezekiel 15 shows the barrenness and uselessness of the vine, Israel.  It was good for nothing, except to be burned and cast aside.
“The illustration of the vine in Ezekiel 15 prepares the way for the old to be cast aside and the new to be planted.  When Israel failed to be a good vine, the Lord planted the true vine Who was and is fruitful and bears much fruit.  Rejoice with me as we look at another 15th chapter in the Bible, Jon 15:1-8.
“The nation of Israel was chosen by the Lord to bear fruit and glorify Him, but they were incapable of doing so.  We too are chosen to bear fruit and we too are incapable of doing so.  Jesus clearly said, ‘Apart from Me, you can do nothing.’  He is the true, good, healthy vine and we are branches attached to Him; as He lives through us He will bear fruit through us.  The secret of the vine is abiding.”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 16:3 ‘birth … Amorite … Hittite’: “Cf. 16:45.  These names identify the residents of Canaan who occupied the land when Abraham migrated there (cf. Gen. 12:5, 6).  Jerusalem had the same moral character as the rest of Canaan.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 16:6-8 ‘Israel’s beginning’: “It was the Lord who cut, washed, rubbed with salt, swaddled and showed compassion upon Israel.  The ‘struggle’ is understood to mean the time of oppression of Israel under the rule of the Egyptians.
“Ezekiel 16:7 shows the transformation that comes about in the life of one who belongs to the Lord and is nurtured by Him.  The next passage refers to the Lord’s ‘marriage’ to Israel.  We find the phrase ‘I spread My skirt over you’ in Ezekiel 16:8 which is also found in Ruth 3:9.  One of the ways that young women became engaged was when a suitor spread his garment or cloak or skirt over her.  Covering with a skirt symbolized the protection and care that the wife would receive through her marriage.
“The covenant that the Lord referred to in Ezekiel 16:8 is the one that He made with the Israelites after delivering them from Egypt.  It was given through Moses at Mount Sinai and is covered in detail in chapters 20 through 23 of Exodus, with the most familiar aspect of this covenant being the Ten Commandments.  There were actually many more than ten commandments given!”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 16:15-34 ‘our own sin nature’: “Could we also turn from our blessings and become brazenly sinful?  I think I can hear you saying yes.  Have we been given warnings as Israel was?  I hear you … yes.  But what are those warnings?  We don’t memorize them as our favorite verses.  Let’s look at a few of them now and take some time to soberly examine our hearts (2 Corinthians 11:2-4; Colossians 2:8; James 4:6).
“Each of us have tendencies toward certain areas of weakness.  To which of the weaknesses warned of in the verses above are you more susceptible?  If you are struggling with something in particular at this time, take action now.  Turn to the Lord, cry out for help, and make yourself accountable to someone whom you can trust.”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 16:46-59 ‘comparison to Judah’: “Judah is compared to Samaria and Sodom, whose judgments for sin were great.  Judah was more corrupt (v. 47), multiplied Samaria’s and Sodom’s sin (v. 51), and committed more abominable sin (v. 52).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 16:60-63 ‘Restoration under the New Covenant’: “This prophecy follows Ezekiel’s most severe denunciation and condemnation of national Israel (16:1-59).  In these verses the prophet describes the origin of Israel (Ezekiel 16:1-5) and its moral defection (Ezekiel 16:15-34).  The condition of the nation is described as ‘harlotry,’ which refers to ceremonial uncleanness communicated by contact with whatever is ritually impure or polluting – for example, illicit sexual activity (Leviticus 18:23, 25, 27; 10:29) and unclean animals (Leviticus 11:24-430.  Sometimes the simile of a ‘menstruous (unclean) woman’ is employed to depict the ‘unapproachableness’ of Israel.  This condition is said to have been incurred by bad ‘moral conduct’ and ‘reckless deeds.’  Therefore, just as the ceremonial impurity of the menstruous woman separates her from the sphere of that which is considered holy, so the conduct of Israel has caused her to be removed from the Holy Land.  The analogy of menstruation occurs in Ezekiel 18:6, 22:10, and 36:17, and may have had further intention of showing the Lord’s spatial separation (that is, withdrawal of the divine presence), just as a man was commanded to distance himself from a menstruating woman (Leviticus 18:19).”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy from Genesis to Revelation (quoted Greek without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 16:62-63 ‘sin and grace’: “Two words will teach us the deepest practical wisdom – sin and grace.  No one ever measured either of them except one, and he, when he measured them, was in a bloody sweat and poured out his soul unto death.  Only our suffering lover, the Lord Jesus Christ, knows the two to their perfection.  May we be helped to enter a little further into the double secret while we commune together.
“The Hebrew word that here sets forth forgiveness and pardon properly signifies to cover a thing with what adheres and sticks to the thing covered – not with dry dust or leaves, which could be easily removed, but with glue or pitch so tht the thing hidden cannot easily be brought to sight again.  The same word is used concerning Noah’s ark.  ‘Cover it with pitch inside and outside’ (Gn 6:14).  All the planks were to be covered with pitch, not with a filmy paint that might barely color them but with a thick pitch, a sticky substance that would adhere to the substance of the wood and penetrate it and cover it altogether.  When God forgives our sin, he covers us as completely as the wood of the ark was covered inside and outside with pitch; our sin is covered and hidden right away from his observation.  God is pacified toward us because our sin is covered – all of it.  Yes, it is all gone.  As far as God is concerned, our sin has ceased to be; he laid it on Jesus Christ our substitute, and he took it and bore the penalty for it.  As our scapegoat he carried our sin completely away, and it is lost in the wilderness of forgetfulness.  Into the depths of the sea he has cast our iniquities; in his own tomb he has buried our offenses.  Through faith in Jesus our transgressions are all removed as far as the east is from the west.  The depths have covered our sins; not one of them is left.  The Lord is pacified for all that we have done so that no ground of quarrel remains.
“God is pacified toward us, for our sin is covered; it is put away, all of it, and altogether.  Since we have believed in Jesus Christ, our sin has not become dimly visible; neither by searching may it be seen as a shadow in the distance, but God sees it no more forever.  The sin is covered in the most emphatic sense.  God has turned away all the fierceness of his anger, and we may say, ‘I will give thanks to you, Lord, although you were angry with me.  Your anger has turned away, and you have comforted me’ (Is 12:1).”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

Ezekiel 17:3 ‘A great eagle’: “The king of Babylon, in view here, took royal captives and others (vv. 4, 12, 13).  ‘the cedar.’ The kingdom of Judah.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 17:7 ‘another great eagle’: “Egypt is meant (v. 15), specifically Pharoah Apries (Hophra) (588-568 B.C.).  Zedekiah turned to him for help in revolting against Babylon.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 17:22-24 ‘the riddles’: “In the first riddle, King Jehoiachin was the highest shoot or branch in King David’s family tree and he was planted in Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.  King Zedekiah was the seed that was planted in the fertile field of Israel by Nebuchadnezzar and grew into a spindly vine instead of a stately tree.  He was the last king in Israel and saw his sons killed before his eyes.  When he died in Babylon it seemed that the Davidic line had come to an end.  This was not the case and the last words of the Lord in Ezekiel 17 were His words of hope for a future king from David’s family as He had promised.”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 17:24 ‘a thriving withered tree’: “Can our minds fly back to the time when there was no time, to the day when there was no day but the ancient of days?  Can we speed back to that period when God dwelt alone, when this round world and all the things that are on it had not come from his hand, before the sun flamed in its strength and the stars flashed in their brightness?  Can we go back to the period when there were no angels, when cherubim and seraphim had not been born, and – if there are creatures older than they – when none of them had as yet been formed?  Is it possible for us to fly so far back as to contemplate God alone – no creature, no breath of song, no motion of wing – God himself alone without another?  Then, indeed, he had no rival.  None, then, could contest with him, for none existed.  All power and glory and honor and majesty were gathered up into himself.  And we have no reason to believe that he was less glorious than he is now, when his ministers delight to do his pleasure, or less great than now, when he has created worlds and thrown them into space, scattering over the sky stars with both his hands.  He sat on no precarious throne.  He needed none to add to his power.  He needed none to bring him a revenue of praise.  His all-sufficiency could admit no lack.  Consider next the eternal purpose of God that he would create.  He determines it in his mind.  Could any but a divine motive actuate the divine architect?  What must that motive have been?  He creates that he may display his own perfections.  He does beget, as it were, creatures after his own image that he may live in them – that he may manifest to others the joys, the pleasure, the satisfaction he so intensely feels in himself.  I am certain his own glory must have been the end he had in view.  He would reveal his glory to the sons of men, to angels, and to such creatures as he had formed in order that they might reflect his honor and sing his praise.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

My Thoughts

Before we get to the discussion of these three chapters, I love most everything that I have ever read from Charles Spurgeon, but he continues in the comments on Ezekiel 16:62-63 to correlate the Old Testament concept of expiation, covering of sins, a temporary fix, to apply to the propitiation of our sins, the complete removal of the sins, washing us clean, and forgetting about the sins, as made available through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross.  The Old Testament sacrificial system required periodic sacrifices, a temporary covering.  Jesus’ sacrifice was once for all.  It is a technical point, but I wanted to have it clarified here.

There are three parables, or prophecies with much imagery, in these three chapters of Ezekiel.

Chapter 15 is rather short.  God likens Israel to a useless vine.  It does not produce fruit, so it is no better than a bit of wood.  It is firewood ready to be burned.

In reading this and the Elizabeth Ficken commentary, I thought of the wildfires in California.  While many of the wildfires spared most of the vineyards, there was a shortage of water, water needed to produce mature fruit in season.  And to top it off, the grapes absorbed some of the smoke, either through smoke filling the valley or smoke contaminating the water.  This will create some differences to the wine.  It will not be as bountiful as in past years and the connoisseur will be able to detect the smoky taste.  The grape vines will produce fruit, just a bit off.

Israel, however, had everything; even after the tribes split, Judah had the temple.  Yet, they defiled the temple, making their rebellion even worse than the northern tribes.

All of this is detailed in Ezekiel 16, in the form of a parable about an adulterous wife.  In Elizabeth Ficken’s Bible Study on Ezekiel, that you may know the Lord, she breaks down Ezekiel 16 into the following pieces: Israel’s beginning (16:1-14), Her unfaithfulness (16:15-34), Her consequences (16:35-43), Her repulsiveness (16:44-59), and Her restoration (16:60-63).

A lot of commentaries, and preacher’s sermons, focus on the restoration.  That is important.  No one can sin so much that they cannot be restored and their sins forgiven, but, once sin has crept so deeply into one’s soul, can they still listen to that quiet voice that continues to call them to the Lord?

The beginning of this parable is why I think that Judah’s sin is worse than Samaria’s sin and the sins of the neighbors.  They had Jerusalem.  They had the temple.  They knew better.  And then, from our previous study, they defiled the temple.  It is worse to have the temple nearby, but a worshipper gives an unauthorized sacrifice on a high place near home – simply too lazy to go to Jerusalem.  It is a lot worse to turn the temple of God into a temple of gods.

God first tells of the “bloodline” of Jerusalem.  Its bloodline is from the Canaanites, specifically the Amorites and the Hittites.  In Genesis 10, we learn that Canaan became the ‘father’ of many nations, the Amorites and Hittites are among them.  Yet, the Jews are descendants of Shem, not Ham, Canaan’s father.  And David conquered the Jebusites in capturing Jerusalem, the city that would be known as the City of David.  While the Jebusites were cousins of the Amorites and Hittites, God, through Ezekiel, is telling of the spiritual bloodline of the city.  While David had captured the city, the city retained the false gods of those who had gone before.

And for the history buffs, not much is known of the Amorites.  They were the descendants of Canaan that settled in what would be in modern times northern Syria and they drifted further south into the hill country of the Promised Land.  While part of the lineage of Ham, they lived along much of the path that Abram traveled from where he left his father, Terah, at Haran and throughout the land of Canaan.  They may have shared a similar language to Abram, but they worshipped other gods.

As for the Hittites, they had a large kingdom that covered most of present-day Turkey and Syria.  They were known for their work in steel making.  If you follow the mentions of weaponry in the reign of King Saul, the Israelites were lacking.  Yet, the comments of such a lack are not found in the reign of David, possibly due to agreements made with the Hittites.  The sordid tale of David and Bathsheba had a third player, Bathsheba’s first husband, Uriah the Hittite.  If one of David’s military leaders was a Hittites, he probably had access to steel weapons.

The description of the young woman that grows up (Jerusalem) is rather graphic.  But compare this metaphor to that of the church being the bride of Christ in New Testament prophecies.  God likens true worship with a marriage between partners.  This says a lot about how we humans have screwed up both worship and marriage.  It is almost as if God needs to rewrite those portions of Scripture for us to understand the analogy.  But what would be better is for us to forget what is going on in this world and focus on the true meaning of worship and marriage and fix them, if not worldwide, fixed one family at a time.  We will see that they are both about a relationship.  That relationship has a range of give and take within it.  It is mutually supportive; although God does not need us, we need Him.  But do not read anything into this relationship on the sexual or gender identity level.  Our relationship with God, as a marriage in being a member of the church and as a Father-son relationship, transcends all gender issues and earthly pleasures.  It is the source, only in part, of the Joy that we experience on earth.

In Ezekiel 16:15, God describes the actions of the people of Jerusalem as “lavishing favors on all passers by.”  This started in earnest with Solomon, although unofficially long before then (Note how the Philistines were shocked by the Israelites, v. 16:27, thus soon after conquering the land).  The Promised Land was the bridge of the fertile crescent that connected the Egyptians with the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Medes.  Along that path were the Phoenicians and the Hittites.  Due to the tremendous advances in technology in the ancient worlds, it is no wonder that this area is called the Cradle of Civilization.  And considering that Noah and his family moved from Mount Ararat to Babylon and then when language was scrambled while building the tower of Babel, the fertile crescent becomes the path to the “old homestead” for all of mankind.  All these nations travelled along that path in providing international trade.  The key here is that Jerusalem (and its people) prostituted themselves to make all visitors feel welcome, so that they could obtain money from those visitors.  Jerusalem did not have to travel to do trade.  The travelers came to them.

While I worked internationally, I tried to learn the culture of the various countries.  I was teaching people in a foreign land and I tried to connect with them.  I learned how to count to ten in their language, if I could rap my tongue around the numbers of their language.  I learned what sports they were interested in, learning who the star players were.  I studied that, to make sure that side conversations during the breaks in the training schedule would not be superficial.  I even learned bits of their religions, such as it was an insult to point your toes toward the image of Buddha when you sat down in the temple.  I did not bow down to Buddha, but I did not point my toes toward Buddha either.  It seemed the people of Jerusalem worshipped every god to whom they were introduced as travelers passed by, thus becoming worse than the nations that were their immediate neighbors.

Now as the parable defines Jerusalem as the adulterous wife who became a prostitute, the Levitical Law then takes effect.  The prostitute is stoned and hacked into pieces with swords.

Then an analogy is established between Jerusalem, Samaria, and Sodom.  The history of Samaria and Sodom are well-documented in the Old Testament.  Ezekiel makes key points about Samaria and Sodom and that Judah has been much worse.

And yet, Sodom will be restored.  Samaria will be restored.  And even in their shame, Judah will be restored.

Then Ezekiel follows this parable with another in chapter 17.  He tells of the treachery of King Zedekiah who ignores the agreement with Nebuchadnezzar that placed him on the throne.  Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon are the first eagle, while the second eagle is Egypt.  And while Zedekiah and his sons all die and the bloodline is no longer through them, God still has a Davidic bloodline preserved.  Isaiah 11:1 speaks of a shoot from Jesse’s roots will spring forth, and in Ezekiel 17:22, God preserves a shoot, a small sprig of cedar.  The meaning of “Nazareth” is a branch or a shoot, a small sprig.  In the midst of these parables, parables of uselessness, betrayal, and prostitution, God provides a glimpse of not only a Jewish restoration, but the salvation for all who are willing to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Some Serendipitous Reflections

“1. What kind of person is ‘of no use’ to God?
“2. How can you keep from becoming mere firewood?
“1. How would you treat a wife who behaved like the woman in this story?  Does God’s response surprise you?  Why or why not?
“2. Compare Ezekiel’s God – ‘giving over’ Jerusalem to her ‘enemies’ (v. 27) or her ‘lovers’ (v. 39) – with Paul’s God – ‘giving over’ all mankind to ‘sinful desires … shameful lusts … depraved mind’ (Ro 1:24-32).  What similarities do you see?
“3. What does this story tell you about God’s jealous love?  His long-suffering patience? His righteous anger?  His ultimately redemptive covenant?
“4. What does this story say about God’s father-like relationship to Israel?  To her ‘lustful neighbors’?  To you?
“5. What would an updated allegory directed at today’s church have to say about sexual perversion, secular humanism, social injustice and other scornful and idolatrous behavior?  What ‘lustful neighbors’ would you include?  What punishment to fit the crime would you dish out?  Why?  What final hope would you offer?  Why?
“1. As you consider the forces at work in the world today, what hope do you find in this parable?  How might this help you deal with fear, cynicism, and discouragement?
“2. Why do you think God cares about how various political leaders treat each other?  Why does he care about treaties and agreements?
“3. What agreements are you party to that God might care about?  Are you fulfilling them, or forgetting them?
“4. Why should Christians be people you can inherently trust?”

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

There are three sets of questions, one set for each chapter.  Remember that there is a different parable in each of these chapters:  Ch. 15: The useless vine; Ch. 16: The unfaithful wife; Ch. 17: The eagles and the vine.

Also note that the questions come from a Bible for small group study that was published in 1989, but the issues raised in question 5 are still hot topics today, and even more so.  The concept of political opponents treating each other properly was not as big of a problem in 1989 as it is today.  A follow-up question can be:  How has the degradation in civility at the political level (the last question 1) changed how governments operate?  Is the new system, if there is one that works, better or worse?  Why or why not?

Also adding to the last questions 2 and 4, what agreements has God made in the Bible?  Which of these have been kept?  What should God’s interest in keeping His commitments affect our responsibility in making commitments and keeping them?

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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