30 “As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ 31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.
These verses come near the very end of this chapter in a section titled Jerusalem’s Fall Explained starting with verses twenty-one and twenty-two where Ezekiel is no long silent.
21 In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month on the fifth day, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen!” 22 Now the evening before the man arrived, the hand of the Lord was on me, and he opened my mouth before the man came to me in the morning. So my mouth was opened and I was no longer silent.
Recall this past Tuesday, August 14, we had as our verses of the day in chapter twenty-four
25 “And you, son of man, on the day I take away their stronghold, their joy and glory, the delight of their eyes, their heart’s desire, and their sons and daughters as well— 26 on that day a fugitive will come to tell you the news. 27 At that time your mouth will be opened; you will speak with him and will no longer be silent. So you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the Lord.”
Now we see that day has come and the Lord is speaking to Ezekiel and telling him what he is to say to the exiles. First the Lord addresses the idea that they should have the land given back to them simply because they are Abraham’s children and then has Ezekiel speak the following to them
25 Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you eat meat with the blood still in it and look to your idols and shed blood, should you then possess the land? 26 You rely on your sword, you do detestable things, and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife. Should you then possess the land?’
As a result God lets them know those who remained in Israel will die and the land will become a desolate waste because of all the detestable things they have done (v29). Then we come to our verses for today whereupon He is speaking specifically to them about them and their actions or non-actions. Let’s take a closer look at what He says about them.
31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.
I don’t know about you, but when I read those words I thought of our churches today when all too often we go to be entertained. Oh, we hear the words, but do we put them into practice? We listen, we even speak of the love of God, love for our neighbors, love for our enemies … on Sunday. However, when Monday comes, all is forgotten as if what was heard on Sunday was nothing more than a Sunday TV episode to be enjoyed and then forgotten as we get back to the real world.
Well, news flash, what you hear on Sunday, if it is from the Bible is about the real world. More real than what you will see on TV or the internet or read elsewhere. It is eternally real. It is about this world and the next one. We hear that we are not of this world, but of the next. Do we really believe that? Do our actions reflect that? Or do we continue on permitting ourselves to be deceived that this is it, this is the real world?
On Friday it is my usual practice to encourage you to remember to go to church. But today, I want to encourage you to WAKE UP and ask yourself if you are living as if you are asleep concerning the next world? Once awake, consider going to church, partaking in the worship and prayer, listening to the Biblical message. Then on Monday when the ‘rubber meets the road’ putting the words you heard (and hopefully read) into practice. Then do the same on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Then back to church for a refill. Of course refills are available during the week. You can read a few verses from the Bible and for 15-30 minutes you and your family can discuss them one, two or three times a week.
What will you put into practice? Where will your heart be?