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December 2

Ezekiel 19; 1 John 4

Thought from Today's Old Testament Passage:

I gave them over to statutes that were not good and laws they could not live by (Ezekiel 20:25)

Verse 26 makes clear what these statutes were. Israel had been defiled by adopting the Canaanite practice of sacrificing their firstborn children to the god Molech. Indeed, there is a quasi-allusion to the commandment given in Exodus 13:12: "You are to give over to the Lord the first offspring of every womb." However, the Israelites perverted the practice by offering the children to Molech instead of dedicating them to the Lord as he had prescribed. Israel also confused their perversions with another law of God, Exodus 22:29, "You must give me the firstborn of your sons."

In this manner, God sent them "a powerful delusion" (2 Thess. 2:11) and "gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies" (Acts 7:42). In a sense, all this was a type of hardening in which all who did not renounce idolatry were given up to its power and control. That is why we find that verse 26 concludes with the dreadful note, "that I might fill them with horror so that they would know that I am the Lord."

…They wrongfully thought they were observing the law of God. However, they had so distorted their thinking that they could no longer discern God's law from the law of the pagan land.

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Hard Sayings of the Old Testament (Downer's Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1988), pp. 211-212.

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