Parables: A faithless bride, Ezekiel 16. Two eagles and a vine, Ezekiel 17. A fire, Ezekiel 20:45-49. Two sisters, Oholah and Oholibah, Ezekiel 23. What others do you find? How are these parables helpful in understanding the message of Ezekiel?
A New Covenant: Ezekiel 18 foreshadows a New Covenant. In the covenant that God made with Israel at Mt. Sinai, the nation as a whole was in covenant, and God responded to their behavior as a nation. If many in the nation were good, everyone was blessed; if many were bad, everyone was cursed. With God’s patience in dealing with them, that means that generations were often paying for the sins of the previous generations. In the New Covenant, salvation is individualistic. This is the lesson he is teaching in Ezekiel 18.
The Sins of Israel: What are some of the reasons that God gives for bringing judgment upon the nation Israel? Realize that these reveal the character of God. When he pronounces judgment against a sin, we must realize that means that he does not want us to live in such a place as he describes. It also should remind us to search ourselves and ask his help in cleansing us from those things that displease him.
God Judges the Nations: Notice how God pronounces judgment on other nations? What are the sins He holds against them? Do we think this way? What might be some accusations he could make of our own country? What are some things happening in our country that could be his judgment upon us? Ammon, Moab, Seir, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, Sidon, and Egypt were all neighbors to Israel.
The Siege of Jerusalem: Ezekiel 24. The Israelites in exile in Babylon did not have Fox News, but they did have Ezekiel. He announces on the very day that Jerusalem was under siege (Jerusalem was at least a month’s travel away.) Ezekiel was forced not to cry at the death of his wife. On the surface, this seems awful, but what would this extreme action say to Ezekiel’s audience about the seriousness of his message? What if some believed, would it be worth it? Ezekiel also had to be mute until the news came – proving him a true prophet.
Satan? Ezekiel 28 is a prophecy against the prince/king of Tyre followed by a lament. In Ezekiel 28:12-18, some of the poetic language gets pretty extravagant in its description of him. Some say that this is a description of Satan, citing the casting from the mountain of God, the use of the word cherub, and the overall feel of the passage. See also Isaiah 14.
The ‘Reluctant’ King: John 6:15 discloses that Jesus passed up the opportunity for the crowd to make him king. Why was this? Did He not come to be king? John 6:26-27 may help. What about John 12:12-15, The Triumphal Entry, when Jesus allows the people to hail him as king? What about John 18:37 and John 19:19-22? Have you made Jesus king on your own terms, or have you fully acknowledged his kingship?
The Bread from Heaven: John 6 contains an extended discourse of Jesus comparing himself to the bread that came down from heaven. He of course is speaking of the Manna God gave to the Israelites in the wilderness, see Exodus 16:15 and Numbers 11:7-9. According to this passage, how does one receive salvation? How does one keep salvation? What does Jesus mean that the bread is his flesh, John 6:51? What is John 6:53-59 a picture of? Is he being literal? If not, then what does this mean about the way that Jesus is to be received?
Witnesses to Jesus: John 8:12-20 accounts Jesus using the law that facts should be established on the testimony of two or more witnesses. He then refers to himself and the Father bearing witness about Him – two witnesses. Compare this to John 5:30-47. What witnesses to Jesus do you find there?
Confrontation: John 8 contains a rather direct confrontation with the Jewish leaders. What are some reasons that Jesus attacks them? What can we learn from these passages about ourselves? The nature of man? The work of spreading the gospel? Look at the confrontation in John 9. As things heat up, the opposition seems to get more irrational. What is wrong with their thinking?
Salvation is from God: A major theme in John is that God is sovereign in the salvation of those who believe. In John 1:12, we see that for those who receive and believe Jesus, that they are born of the will of God, not the will of the flesh nor of man. While it’s true that we must believe in Jesus in order to be saved, nowhere in the Bible do we find true people of God boasting about their faith. It is also true that we must obey Jesus, but in every instance in the New Testament, we see that obedience only in response to what God has accomplished. Rather, all glory is given to God for salvation. Look for the subject of the verb in the following passages; who is doing the action of salvation?: John 3:3-8, 4:13-14, 6:35-40, 6:44-51, 6:63-65, 7:37-39, 8:36, 10:7-18, 10:27-30. But just because God does the work of salvation in His people does not mean we are not responsible for rejection. Jesus’ encounters with his opposition clearly shows this. God is sovereign in salvation, but every person is responsible for his unbelief, John 3:18. These two truths must be kept in balance.
Psalm 84: What are the blessings of being the people of God? What did Jesus say about sparrows?
Psalm 134: You can memorize an entire Psalm! In Christ, what does it mean to receive blessings from Zion?
Psalm 85: Are you familiar with the hymn, “Revive us again”? Psalm 85:8-9 seem to be at the center of the lesson of this Psalm.