Torah reading: Exodus 6:2-9:35
Haftorah reading: Ezekiel 28:25 – 29:21
On the first day of the first month of the 27th year during our exile, the LORD spoke to me. ‘Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made his army fight hard against Tyre. They struggled until they all had bald heads and sore shoulders. But he and his army gained nothing from the fight with Tyre. Therefore, the LORD your King says: I will give the country called Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He will ruin it and he will rob it. He will carry away all its wealth. With this, he will pay wages to his army. I have given him Egypt as a reward. In what he has done, he worked hard for me. This is what the LORD your King says. At that time, I will make Israel to become strong again. You will speak to them. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’ Ezek. 29: 17-21
In the first sixteen verses of Ezekiel 29, the LORD spoke to Ezekiel to prophesy against Egypt. He describes the king of Egypt as being like ‘a great crocodile in the river’, warns him that another nation (Babylon) will attack and conquer them and He (God) will ruin the country. For forty years Egyptians will be banished and scattered from their country but after that time, they will return and this shall be a sign to the Israelites that they, too, will return to their native land. More importantly, it will be a sign to Israel that the LORD’s promise to them is sure and will indeed come to pass. For when they see this prophecy of Ezekiel’s against Egypt come to pass, they will know that his prophecy that Israel will be restored will also come to pass. Notice the last words: At that time, I will make Israel to become strong again. You will speak to them. Then they will know that I am the LORD.
There is the key: …that they will KNOW that I am the LORD.
Throughout biblical history, we are confronted with the issue of faith vs. fear. Though the Israelites knew about God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as well as the covenant at Mt. Sinai, along with all the miracles the children of Israel experienced through the centuries, nevertheless in Ezekiel’s day, they still doubted Israel’s restoration. Every visible indication was that Israel as a sovereign nation on the land promised to Abraham was finished, thrown into the dustbin of history…that is, if you only looked at what was visible.
However, the promises of God are not dependent on what is visible, but on His eternal and intrinsic integrity. God cannot lie. When Israel was exiled because of her sinfulness, He nevertheless had promised they would eventually return, that the God of heaven would keep His Word to Abraham and his descendants.
But given the conditions around them, the people of Ezekiel’s day doubted.
Aren’t we too often so much like them? On the one hand, we declare that we believe the Scriptures to be the eternal, inviolable Word of God but when visible situations or our earthly circumstances seem to contradict what we believe how easily are we prone to doubt. In times like that, we may even say things like ‘I know God can help me but I’m not sure He will in this instance.’ May God forgive us!
Sometimes we are simply impatient. We want an answer and we want it now. We want to see a situation change and we want it yesterday! It is precisely in times like these that it is vital to remember all the blessings God has already provided us in our lifetime.
One of the most powerful deterrents to doubt is an attitude of gratitude. Giving thanks to our heavenly Father on a daily basis is to the soul like Vitamin C to the body – it strengthens your immunity against the ‘dis-ease’ of doubt!
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth, we read in Psalm 34:1.
Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 106:1
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
John Henry Howett wrote: Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road. How true!
To train ourselves that our first thought on waking up will be ‘Thank you, my God, for another day to live and serve You’ is a worthy pursuit. Beginning our day with thanksgiving sets an atmosphere, a positive outlook that makes the new day an adventure instead of a drudgery.
In Tune with Torah this week = check out your ‘gratitude attitude’. How is it doing? On a scale of 1 – 10, how grateful were you this week for God’s daily blessings in your life? We too often focus on the ‘big’ things and forget to thank Him for the multitude of so-called ‘little’ things He does for us continually. He deserves our thanks for EVERYTHING!