Sunday, 2 July 2017

In Your Word of warning, Lord, we hear Your Word of love - and we rejoice in Your Word (prayers based on Ezekiel 32 - 34).

Ezekiel 32:1-32
‘Pride goes before destruction’ (Proverbs 16:18). ‘Pharaoh, king of Egypt’ was arrogant and ruthless: ‘You are like a lion among the nations;you are like a monster in the seas, thrashing about in your streams, churning the water with your feet and muddying the streams’ (Ezekiel 32:2). Soon, it would be ‘the day of his downfall’: ‘The sword of Babylon will come against you... Pharaoh and all his hordes will be killed by the sword’ (Ezekiel 10-11,32). Teach us. Lord, not to be like the rich fool - ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry’. He couldn’t have been more wrong! - You said to him, ‘You fool! I will demand your life from you tonight!' Help us, Lord to hear and heed Your Word of warning: 'This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God’ (Luke 12:19-21).
Ezekiel 33:1-33
Ezekiel was to be ‘a watchman for the house of Israel’: ‘whenever you hear a Word from My mouth, you shall give them warning from Me.’ He was to ‘warn the wicked to turn from his way’ (Ezekiel 33:7-9). This, Lord, is Your warning of love. You love us. It is because You love us that You ‘have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.’ In Your love, You show us our sin so that we might come to You with a real confession of sin: ‘Our sins are upon us.’ In Your love, You create in us a desire for Your salvation: ‘How then can we live?’ In Your love, You call us to return to You: ‘Turn back from your evil ways.’ You love us. You do not want us to ‘die’: ‘Why will you die?’ (Ezekiel 33:10-11). In love, You show us our sin - ‘The wages of sin is death.’ We thank You, Lord, that You also call us to receive Your ‘free gift’ - ‘eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23).
Ezekiel 34:1-31
Lord, You speak to us in love. You say to us, ‘I Myself will be the Shepherd of My sheep’ (Ezekiel 34:15). We rejoice in Your love. We say, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ (Psalm 23:1). We thank You that Jesus is our Shepherd. He is ‘the good Shepherd’. He laid down His life for us that we might receive the forgiveness of our sins. ‘Christ died for our sins’. We thank You that Your Son, Jesus - ‘the Righteous’ - died for us - ‘the unrighteous’ - ‘to bring us to You’ (John 10:11; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 3:18). He is ‘the great Shepherd’. He was ‘raised’ from the dead.’ Through His resurrection, we receive eternal life. We thank You that He says to us, ‘Because I live you will live also’ (Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:4; John 14:19). He is ‘the chief Shepherd.’ We thank You that He will come again with ‘the unfading crown of glory’ for His ‘good and faithful servants’ (1 Peter 5:4; Matthew 25:21).

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