11 July 2011

"On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands. And I said to them, Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile themselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God. But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me ..." (vv. 6-8a)


This is God speaking and here is a prime example of God being ignored. Not unusual, of course, but you would have thought people might have been grateful for what God had done for them. They'd been in slavery in Egypt and had been very keen to get out of it. God had got them out under the leadership of Moses. And all that was asked of them in return was that they gave up the bad habits they'd picked up in Egypt and came back to worshipping God.

But it was not to be.

They were a rebellious people - once they had their freedom - and soon got back to ignoring God and grumbling incessantly about the conditions they found on their way to the land God had promised them. Now, many years later and in exile in another land, the elders of Israel come to consult God, through Ezekiel, to find out why they were in trouble once again.

God wasn't very impressed. Didn't they know why? Couldn't they understand that it was no use protesting that God was dealing unfairly with them, when they had certainly not dealt fairly with God? God had promised their freedom and their future, but what had they done in return? Broken promises and constant complaints had been the order of their day. God had been angry at this behaviour, but had still allowed them to move on.

This pattern of behaviour by the Israelites had continued from that time on: God making an agreement with the people; those same people making some effort initially, but soon reverting to disobedience and rebellion. 'Promises ... promises ... promises are made to be broken', seems to be their code, even though they then have to live with the consequences of their actions.

But they could always revert to grumbling about God's treatment of them. It was so much easier to blame someone else, rather than to take responsibilty for their own behaviour.

Doesn't that sound familiar?

To Ponder

What circumstances might tempt you to rebel against God?

How does it feel when someone breaks a promise, or you know you've done that yourself?

What, in your life, causes you to question God?

Bible notes author: Marjorie Dobson

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