NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.
Bible Passage: Ezekiel 20:1-14
- What might make you cringe when you see a specific person’s name appear on your phone screen?
- Can a person be a partial follower of Jesus? What might God expect from those who claim to be His followers?
Food for thought:
The people of Israel had not listened to the Lord, so He sent them into exile in Babylon. In chapter 20 of Ezekiel, we find the leaders of Judah approaching Ezekiel to inquire of the Lord. Apparently, they wanted to know what was taking place in Jerusalem, how long they were going to be captives and if there was any hope of the captives being restored. God was not interested in taking their inquiry.
Ezekiel reminded the elders that the Israelites rebelled against the Lord. In Leviticus 18:1-5, the Lord told the Israelites not to follow idolatrous practices. The first generation of Israelites who left Egypt continued to pursue idols and were not allowed to go into the promised land (Ezekiel 20:15; Numbers 14:30). Ezekiel’s generation was taken from the land because they continued to chase after idols as well (Ezekiel 12:1-16). Both generations experienced God’s judgment by not being allowed to live in the promised land.
Most of us have a friend or family member who seems to reach out to us only when they are in need. If their number pops up on our phone, we are all but assured that a request is coming. We want and value relationships. We would be happy to help if they would simply invest in the relationship and call us at times when they did not have a need. Unfortunately, there are some of us who cause God the same grief.
God wants and values a relationship with us and too many times the only time we call on Him is when we are in trouble, just like the elders in Ezekiel’s day. We may even wonder why God does not answer, not realizing that we are the issue and not Him. God deserves our complete loyalty expressed in a growing relationship with Him through faith in Jesus. Anything less is idolatry; us placing whatever that other person or thing is in the position where only God can rightly reside.
As we approach Christmas, nothing would be more celebratory than to place Him where He belongs: at the center of our lives. Then we can approach Him with confidence, knowing that He will attentively listen.
Explore the Bible
Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at Lifeway.com/ExploreTheBible.