Ezekiel Bible Study

Ezekiel ~ Lesson 9

 

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Read Ezekiel 17-19

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson and be reminded of the things that lead into, and set the stage for, this week’s passage.

2. Chapter 17

Read 17:1-10- Think back through what we’ve read in Ezekiel so far. What are some of the various methods God has used to get His message across to His people? Which method is He using now? (17:2) What does God say is His purpose in using parables? Have you noticed as we’ve been studying Ezekiel that God usually explains what He meant by the parable He told, or the diorama or drama Ezekiel enacted?

Read 17:11-15- Explain in your own words what the parable meant. (Don’t forget to use your cross-references.) What should “the royal offspring” (17:13) of Jerusalem (use your cross-references to find out who this was) have done instead of making a covenant with the king of Babylon or attempting to secure military help from Egypt?

Read 17:16-21- What will be the consequences for “the royal offspring” (17:13) for breaking his oath and covenant with the king of Babylon? Look carefully at 19-20. Who does God say he has actually sinned against by breaking the oath and covenant? Why? (Hint: Think about swearing an oath, even in a court of law today. Who do you swear by?) Compare what God says here to David’s assessment of his own sin in Psalm 51.

Explain why all sin and wrongdoing is, at its foundation, rebellion against God.

Read 17:22-24- What does this passage point ahead to? Explore the tree motif.

3. Read chapter 18.

Explain 18:4 in your own words.

In 18:5-18, God presents two different father/son scenarios. Briefly summarize the character of the father, the character of the son, and the consequences for the actions of each in the following sections:

Father              Son             Consequences (father)       Consequences (son)

5-13:

14-18

In 18:21-32, explain the heart of God toward sinners. Does God delight or take joy in exercising His wrath against sinners? What is His posture toward sinners? How does this passage explain repentance and God’s forgiveness of sin? How does it showcase God’s mercy toward sinners?

Chapter 18 talks a great deal about people’s wicked or righteous behavior. Is this chapter teaching works righteousness (that we can earn right standing with God by our good behavior or obeying His laws)? How do you know – based on specific Scriptures and the fact that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself – that it is not? What is the spiritual motivation for the righteous behavior described in chapter 18?

Is 18:24 saying that a person can lose her salvation? How do you know – based on specific Scriptures and the fact that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself – that it is not?

How does 18:21-32 show that God’s way of reckoning sin and righteousness is just and Israel’s way is unjust?

Imagine you’re one of the few faithful Israelites during this time. You love the Lord and do your best to obey Him. How would chapter 18 comfort you and reassure you as you keep hearing these messages of God’s impending wrath?

4. Read chapter 19.

Read through this chapter examining all of the cross-references. Who are the people alluded to in this chapter? What are the historical events alluded to in this chapter? Summarize in your own words what this chapter is referring to.

What is a lamentation, and why would it have been appropriate for the people to lament over the events of this chapter?

Have you ever lamented over your sin? Explain why, for Christians, lament should always lead to repentance and gratitude for God’s forgiveness.


Homework

• Add 17:21,24 to your “And you/they shall know that I am the Lord” list. Write down who will know that He is the Lord, what will cause them to know He is the Lord, and why God wants them to know He is the Lord.

• How would you use the principles in chapter 18 to explain to a friend why things like generational curses, reparations for slavery, systemic racism, “I’m a Christian because my parents are faithful church members,” etc., are unbiblical? Why is it important to God that we know that He holds every person responsible to Him individually for our sin, and that He applies Christ’s righteousness to us individually when we repent and place our faith in Him? How does this reflect God’s attribute of justice?


Suggested Memory Verse

Testimony Tuesday

Testimony Tuesday: Audrey’s Story

Audrey’s Story

A few months ago, I was scrolling on Twitter when a tweet from Michelle Lesley got my attention. She said, in her experience, false teachings enter the church through women’s ministries and worship music. I was aware of this. Many other evangelicals voiced similar concerns on doctrinal errors in women’s ministries and contemporary worship music. What stood out to me wasn’t what the tweet said, but what it didn’t.

In my experience, there is a third entrance through which false doctrines sneak into the church. It is a small door, but it was through it that I got introduced to false teachers.

This entrance is the young adult ministries.

Most churches have ministries for Christians who are in their 20’s and 30’s. I have been a member of several of them, and I noticed other young adults almost always led them. They get attracted to popular young pastors the same way women are drawn to popular female teachers. These pastors are trendy, funny, relatable, and have a substantial social media presence. They, however, are not doctrinally sound.

They, however, are not doctrinally sound…

Being a social media recluse, I only discovered these pastors through the 20’s/30’s ministry at my former church.

My first “Bible study” there was Good or God by John Bevere, and it was the first Christian book I ever read. Since I was a new Christian with little discernment, I believed everything Bevere taught. I got a few of his other books and watched several of his lessons from his preaching ministry, Messenger International. He quickly became one of my favorite teachers.

But as I learned much later, John Bevere is a questionable teacher. He teaches extra-biblical revelations — he once said God told him He was about to do new things in the church that would make Pentecost day child’s play. He teaches tongues is a supernatural language that helps us communicate with God so that the devil doesn’t understand us. And his wife, Lisa Bevere, disobeys Scriptures by teaching men and partnering with false teachers.

The next study we did was Transformed by Rick Warren.

Rick Warren is the pioneer of the seeker-sensitive movement, and he is not a trustworthy teacher. His book, The Purpose-Driven Church, has caused many churches to water down the gospel, and add worldly components in their services to keep unregenerated hearts entertained. In Transformed, Warren frequently twists Scriptures and uses dubious translations to make incorrect statements.

I just wanted to study the Bible…

After a while, I got frustrated with these types of studies and my life group. I just wanted to study the Bible. I hoped that after Transformed, we would finally dig in the Word. But the leader dashed my hopes when she announced yet another canned study from yet another popular pastor. I wanted to say something, but I was new and shy. So I kept quiet. By God’s grace, someone else in the group voiced the concerns I had about our Bible study sessions. The leader considered them, and we started studying books of the Bible.

But ironically, it gave me even more exposure to dangerous teachers.

As we discussed our weekly readings, my mates frequently mentioned pertinent quotes or sermons by their favorite pastors. That’s how I discovered names like Steven Furtick, Robert Morris, and Judah Smith. Trusting their judgment, I listened to these pastors and others associated with them. And for me, Christianity’s best and brightest were men like Craig Groeschel, Michael Todd, T. D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Chad Veach, and John Gray. (I don’t consider all these men false teachers, but I don’t recommend them.)

After a shallow diet of Bible books studies, we eventually returned to canned studies. The next one we did was undoubtedly the worst of them all. It was Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer.

Joyce Meyer is a certified false teacher who teaches heresy like the Prosperity Gospel and Word of Faith theology. I bought her book intending to read it, but by God’s providence, my schedule changed, and I only attended three sessions. I still shudder when I think of the damning doctrines I almost learned.

I still shudder when I think of the damning doctrines…

Shortly after, I moved to another state, and I have never been back to that church. It’s been almost two years since then, and I realize now there were several other issues with that church. Nevertheless, young adult ministries can still be an avenue for false teaching even in sound churches, and need close oversight.

They are tomorrow’s leaders, and they have a profound influence on today’s youths. Most of the people in my life group worked in the children’s ministry or mentored teens in the church. If these kids get exposed to false teachers at such an impressionable age, it will be difficult to break that hold later. It is evidenced by the visceral reactions of Christians online when someone critiques their favorite teachers.

I used to be one of them. Someone once called my favorite pastor a false teacher, and I passionately defended him. I am ashamed to say that I even used the p-word (“Pharisee”). But today, I no longer follow him and his like.

The Lord is faithful…

I credit this change to American Gospel: Christ Alone, that exposed counterfeit gospels and their leaders, many of whom I respected even though I didn’t follow them; Justin Peters who set me free from false teachings like extra-biblical revelations and mysticism that have been a stumbling block in my faith; Michelle Lesley, who pulled me off the path of egalitarianism, made me appreciate my role as a woman, and exposed dangerous women teaching otherwise; and What Shall I Cry Ministry that taught me the difference between expository preaching and man-centered preaching.

My deepest gratitude goes to the Holy Spirit, who provided me with these excellent resources and opened my eyes to the truth.

The Lord is faithful, and He will protect His elect.

Grace and peace to you!


Ladies, God is still at work in the hearts and lives of His people, including yours! Would you like to share a testimony of how God saved you, how He has blessed you, convicted you, taught you something from His Word, brought you out from under false doctrine, placed you in a good church or done something otherwise awesome in your life? Private/direct message me on social media, e-mail me (MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com), or comment below. Your testimony can be as brief as a few sentences or as long as 1500 words. Let’s encourage one another with God’s work in our lives!

Bible Study

Throwback Thursday ~ You Have What it Takes to Lead a BIBLE Study?

Originally published February 1, 2019

I am so sick of women’s ministry/discipleship/”Bible” study that centers around narcissistic navel-gazing, I could vomit. My hurts, my feelings, my opinions, my self image.

Newsflash- You’re not the only person on the planet who’s ever been hurt or had problems.

And wallowing in the hurt and your emotions has never been the way to heal and feel better. Healing from the hurt comes from taking your focus off yourself and placing it on Christ: studying the actual Bible, obeying His commands, walking in holiness, praying, worshiping, serving others.

These canned “Bible” studies that masquerade as teaching the Bible – maybe even have the name of a book of the Bible in the title – yet all the “study” questions are about you, your preferences, and how you feel, are doing you no favors, ladies. They are keeping you enslaved to your hurts and self idolatry so you’ll continue to buy more and more of these books. Don’t be naive. LifeWay, CBD¹, and all the major “Christian” publishers know that there’s no money to be made in telling you to study your Bible. If you study your Bible you might actually grow in Christ, learn to glorify Him instead of your own opinions, heal from your hurts, and learn to handle your problems in a biblical way. And then all these divangelistas – whose main function in life seems to be exegeting stories from their own lives and telling you all about their pain- will be out of a job because you won’t need them, their books, their DVDs, their conferences, their simulcasts, or their merch, any more.

The Christian retail machine doesn’t make money when you follow what the Bible says to do: sit under good preaching and teaching at your own church, disciple women in your own church, be discipled by godly older women in your church, serve your church, attend your church like your life depends on it (because your spiritual life does), study your Bible every day, live in obedience to Christ. 

You’re being played and you’re being used by Big Christian Retail, ladies. Stop clinging to the pretty little gilded shackles they have locked around your wrists. Break free and experience the freedom in Christ that can only come from walking faithfully with Him in His Word.

I’m no prophet, nor a son of a prophet, but sometimes I think I might have a tiny inkling of how Jeremiah felt when he said:

If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.
Jeremiah 20:9

When I see the way so many professing Christian pastors, leaders, and teachers in the public eye damage the spiritual lives of their followers by adulterating God’s Word, biblical anger wells up inside me. And sometimes, the pressure gets to be too much and it finds a way to escape, like it did the other day when I tweeted the remarks above.

hate with a holy, biblical hatred what the Christian retail machine, overall, has done to Christians, particularly Christian women, by feeding them fluff and false doctrine.

Go back and read the robust theological thoughts and writings of some of the women who helped usher in the Reformation. And then go stick your head in the door of the average women’s “Bible” study at the church down the street and listen to the teaching and comments. We didn’t get to where we are today without somebody poisoning the water hole.

So it was with no small sense of irony that two days after I had let the fire loose on Twitter, I found myself clicking – with much trepidation – on an article from LifeWay Women that popped up in my feed: You Have What It Takes to Lead a Bible Study.

It was written by a darling young lady named Mickey who made several very good points and was charming and encouraging. I’m certain she wanted the article to be helpful and edifying, and I have no points of contention with her personally. This article was a work product. It expresses LifeWay’s position, not necessarily Mickey’s personal thoughts and opinions. (I wrote for a LifeWay publication once. Believe me, if what you’ve written doesn’t match what they’re trying to convey, they edit it until it does. Which, as a business, they certainly have a right to do.)

“What might LifeWay Women think qualifies someone to lead² a Bible study?” I wondered, as I waited for the page to load. “I have what it takes? What does it take in their eyes?”

The first point of the article was to address women’s feelings of inadequacy about leading a Bible study and reassure them. Feelings. Not what the Bible says about teaching God’s Word, or the qualifications for doing so, or even the need other women have to be taught Scripture. Feelings. For LifeWay, the major obstacle to overcome for a woman who’s on the fence about teaching a Bible study is her feelings of inadequacy.

And how did LifeWay address those feelings of inadequacy and offer reassurance? Again, not with Scripture (indeed, no Scriptures are quoted or even referenced in the article), but by exegeting a personal anecdote from the author’s life. “I felt inadequate too, but then I gave it a try and I was successful. So if you’re feeling inadequate to lead, just give it a try. You’ll be successful, too.” It may be an oversimplification, but that’s the take away.

If this methodology sounds familiar to you, maybe it’s because you’ve worked through one of LifeWay’s most popular women’s “Bible” studies. Generally speaking, this is the core of the majority of LifeWay’s women’s “Bible” study products: your feelings and the exegesis of personal stories from the author’s life to relate to and address those feelings.

The article went on to quote a recent LifeWay Women survey which asked women,

“What is the biggest obstacle keeping you from leading a Bible study?”

Know what the number one answer was? “I don’t feel like I know enough to lead.” (Again with the feelz.)

Is it any wonder, when, for decades now, evangelical women have been fed a steady diet of nothing but girlfriend stories that they feel inadequate to teach the Bible? Of course they feel inadequate! They don’t know their Bibles because the materials they’ve been getting from LifeWay all this time haven’t taught them the Bible. They likely know more about their favorite author than they do about Jesus. Most of them probably correctly feel inadequate because they don’t know enough to lead.

Feelings of inadequacy aren’t wrong simply because they make you feel bad. Sometimes your feelings of inadequacy are wrong because you’re neurotic or unrealistically anxious, and sometimes they’re right because you don’t have the skills to handle the task you’re attempting. We’ve all watched enough American Idol auditions to know that.

Our feelings need to be informed, molded, and submitted to the facts of God’s written Word. And what does God’s written Word have to say about whether or not you have what it takes to lead a Bible study?

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
James 3:1

Where LifeWay issues a blanket “anybody can do it” encouragement to the hundreds of women (whom LifeWay has never laid eyes on and has no idea whether or not they’re biblically qualified to teach God’s Word) reading this article – “…trust me, friend, you have what it takes, too” – the Bible says that teaching Scripture is a solemn, weighty ministry fraught with the burden of responsibility of imparting God’s Word correctly. And precisely because of that, “not many” should become teachers.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

What does LifeWay think qualifies someone to lead a Bible study? “…a willing spirit, an open heart for new friendships, and thirst for more of God.” Is that what the Bible says about qualifying for the lofty responsibility of teaching God’s Word? No. The Bible says we need to work hard at studying, understanding, and rightly handling God’s Word so that we don’t end up twisting it or teaching something that conflicts with it. We need to be able to stand before God unashamed to say, “I worked hard, and studied long, and did my very best to teach your Word accurately.”

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.
2 Timothy 2:24-25a

LifeWay seems to think getting over your feelings of inadequacy means you have what it takes to lead a Bible study. The Bible says there’s a much higher standard. Are you even able to teach – to accurately explain what God’s Word says, in a way women can understand, and help them correctly apply it to their lives? Are you quarrelsome? Kind? Able to endure evil patiently? Do you know and can you handle Scripture well enough to correct someone who makes an unbiblical argument, and can you do it gently?

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Titus 2:3-5

LifeWay doesn’t address the character needed to teach the Bible. The Bible says you’re to be mature and behave reverently, you’re not to gossip and slander others, and you’re not be controlled by alcohol.

While one of LifeWay’s tips for leading a small group is to choose a study that fits the “interests, preferences, and characteristics” of the women in your group, the Bible doesn’t really care what they’re interested in or prefer to learn. It prescribes what they need to learn. Do you know “what is good” according to Scripture? You have to know that if you’re going to teach it. And you also have to know what the Bible says about wives loving and submitting to their husbands, loving their children, being self-controlled, kind, and pure, and working at home, if you’re going to teach those things.

 

The Bible says you have to know your Bible to teach a women’s Bible study. You have to have certain skills, abilities, and character traits. Not just anybody can do it. Not just anybody should do it.

Do you have what it takes to lead a Bible study? If you want to know, don’t check with LifeWay. Check your Bible.


¹Christianbook.com – It used to be called Christian Book Distributors. Old habits die hard. :0)

Additional Resources:

Bible Studies

Basic Training: Bible Studies and Sermons

McBible Study and the Famine of God’s Word²
After I finished writing today’s article, I noticed that the LifeWay article exclusively used the phrase “lead a Bible study” rather than “teach a Bible study.” This is likely due to the fact that many LifeWay studies do not require the leader to teach so much as to play a DVD of a popular LifeWay author teaching. It is probably also intentional – to encourage women to lead without that pesky little need to be biblically qualified to teach. However, most people still rightly understand “leading a Bible study” to mean teaching the Bible, thus the survey response of “I don’t feel like I know enough to lead,” and Mickey’s own fear that “I don’t know enough about the Bible to lead…”. You don’t need to know much about the Bible to push a button on a DVD player. McBible Study and the Famine of God’s Word addresses this harmful practice and the need for the church to have trained teachers teaching the Bible.

4 Ways We’re Getting Women’s Discipleship Wrong, and How We Can Get it Right!

The Mailbag: “We need to stop relying on canned studies,” doesn’t mean, “We need to rely on doctrinally sound canned studies.”.

Ezekiel Bible Study

Ezekiel ~ Lesson 8

 

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Read Ezekiel 15-16

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson and be reminded of the things that lead into, and set the stage for, this week’s passage. Does it seem like any time elapsed between the end of chapter 14 and the beginning of chapter 15? Why or why not?

2. Read chapter 15.

Have you ever seen grape vine “wood”? Take a look at some of these photos. How does God describe this kind of wood in chapter 15? Think about the things people would have used wood for. Why was vine wood useless for these things? We might say that vine wood looks like wood, but doesn’t “act” like wood, and is therefore good for nothing. Explain why this is an appropriate comparison to the people of Jerusalem.

Compare these “good for nothing” Israelites who look like God’s people but don’t act like God’s people to Paul’s description of people in the last days. Focus especially on the phrase in verse 5: “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.”

What did it mean for the Israelites to “act faithlessly”? (8) What does it mean for God’s people today to act faithlessly?

3. Read chapter 16.

In chapter 16, God tells a metaphorical story of Israel’s history with Him. Take a moment to think back through the timeline of Israel’s history, recalling the major events along the way, or examine the Old Testament timeline in your Bible (or Google “Old Testament timeline” and find a good one online). And don’t forget to use your cross-references!

16:1-5- When was “the day of [Israel’s] birth”? What historical event or time period is God talking about here? How does God describe Israel at her “birth”? Does Israel really have anything going for her at this point?

16:6-7- How did God care for Israel when she was a newly established people? How does this demonstrate God’s compassion, care, and provision for His people? Explain how the blood represents both birth and death in this passage.

How does 16:1-7 point ahead to sinners today being being “born again“? Or to “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,“? Or to “even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ”?

16:8-14- What historical time period is God referring to here? What kind of relationship does “spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you” (16:8) signify? Which covenant is verse 8 referring to, and what did that covenant basically say? Who is performing all of the action in this section? What is Israel doing for God here? What effect did God’s blessing and care have on Israel’s reputation to the rest of the world? (16:14) Why?

Explain how the marriage-like covenant in 16:8-14 points ahead to the covenant of grace God makes with sinners when He saves us. How does it foreshadow Christ as the bridegroom and the church as the bride? What do, “I bathed you with water” and “anointed you” (16:9) point to?

16:15-22- If the previous passage centered around a marriage covenant motif, what is the motif of this section? What sin does God consider spiritual “adultery”? In what ways did Israel forsake and betray the Lord? If Israel had remembered “the days of [her] youth” (16:22) and how God had graciously rescued and blessed her, how might her idolatrous behavior have been different?

Following the motif of this passage, describe the kind of sin Christians can fall into when we “forget the days of [our] youth” (16:22) when Christ first saved us.  In what ways might we – as individual Christians, or as a local church – “trust in our beauty” (16:15)? How might we sacrifice “baby Christians” to be devoured or slaughter those weaker in the faith and deliver them up as an offering to idols? (16:20-21)

16:23-29- Describe the depths of evil and idolatry to which Israel sank. Why does God mention pagan nations like Egypt, Assyria, and the Philistines in this passage? What did it say about Israel (God’s people) that the daughters of the Philistines (a pagan nation) were “were ashamed of [their] lewd behavior” (16:27)? What did God mean that Israel was “not satisfied” with her evil and idolatry? (16:28-29)

Have you ever seen a professing Christian sink to a level of evil so debasing it made heathens blush? Was that person ever genuinely saved?

16:30-34- Explain how Israel’s whoring after idols was so abominable that they couldn’t even rightly be compared to a prostitute. Going back to the marriage covenant motif, describe the level of hatred and contempt a wife (Israel) would have to have for her husband (God) in order to treat him in such a way.

Are there any ways in which you see evangelical “churches” whoring themselves out to idols?

16:35-43- Some people are uncomfortable thinking of God as wrathful, but considering this passage and all the previous passages we’ve read about Israel’s sin, did God have a right to be “enraged” (16:43)? Did Israel deserve God’s wrath after all He had done for her and the blackness of the evil she had committed against Him? How was God eventually going to execute judgement on Israel?

16:44-52- Review this passage through the lens of 16:23-29. How did Israel’s sin affect her reputation in the eyes of the pagan nations around her?

How does it affect the reputation of Christ and the church when a high profile Christian is publicly exposed in his sin?

16:53-58- How is God using shame as a tool in this passage? Explain “how the mighty have fallen!” in 16:56-57.

16:59-63- What is God’s overall goal for all this wrath, shame, and punishment? List and explain each of His objectives in this overall goal:

60a-

60b-

61a-

62a-

62b-

63a-

63b-

63c-

 What is the “everlasting covenant” God makes with those who, by faith, are truly His children?


Homework

• Add 15:7, 16:62 to your “And you/they shall know that I am the Lord” list. Write down who will know that He is the Lord, what will cause them to know He is the Lord, and why God wants them to know He is the Lord.

• Take a moment to “remember the days of your youth,” when Christ first saved you. How did Christ bring you from death to life, cleanse you, and bless you “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”? For the next week, take a few minutes every day to reflect on the gospel and what God has done for you in Christ. (Some people call this “preaching the gospel to yourself”.) How might “remembering the days of your youth” in this way help you to walk in humility and gratitude to God instead of straying off into sin and idolatry?


Suggested Memory Verse

Ezekiel Bible Study

Ezekiel ~ Lesson 7

 

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Read Ezekiel 13-14

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson and be reminded of the things that lead into, and set the stage for, this week’s passage. What was going on in chapters 11-12, and how does that connect to chapter 13?

2. Read chapter 13.

What’s another term for “the prophets of Israel…who prophesy from their own hearts” (13:2)? Are these prophets similar to Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. in that they are truly hearing from the Lord and conveying His message to the people?

What was the message the false prophets were delivering to the people? (13:10,16) How did this differ from the message Ezekiel delivered to them in last week’s lesson (link above)?

Make a list of all the words and phrases in chapter 13 that tell you (you’ll probably need more space than this):

Where the false prophets’ message came from:

How God describes the false prophets’ message (ex: truthful/false, helpful/unhelpful):

God’s posture, or attitude, toward the false prophets:

The consequences/punishment for prophesying falsely:

Examine 13:9 carefully. Put yourself in the average Israelite’s shoes. Why – theologically, culturally, familially, inheritance-wise, legacy-wise, etc. – would being cut off from one’s people have been such a dire punishment? Compare 13:9 to these passages. Is there a similar principle playing out in both?

Explain the “whitewash” metaphor in 13:10-16.

What sub-group of false prophets is 13:17-23 dealing with? What are the magic bands mentioned in 13:18, 20? Knowing what the magic bands were, what can you infer about the veils in 13:18, 21? Does God give these false prophets a pass just because they’re women? Describe the influence these women had on God’s people, and the unique influence female false teachers/prophets have on God’s people today. Compare 13:19 with these passages. What is the underlying motivation of the false prophecy/teaching “industry”?

Think about false teachers in evangelicalism today through the lens of chapter 13, applying all of the same categories above (where their message comes from, how God describes them, etc.). From God’s perspective, why is false prophecy/false teaching such a big deal? Based on this passage, how do you think God feels about false teaching in the church today? How does this passage apply to extra-biblical revelation (“God told me…”)? How do false teachers today “hunt down souls” (13:18) and “encourage the wicked, that he should not turn from his evil way to save his life” (13:22)?

Read these common objections many Christians today raise when someone warns against a false teacher. If the God of Ezekiel 13 sent Ezekiel to speak to them today, what do you think He would have Ezekiel say to these objections?

2. Read chapter 14.

Explain in your own words what God is saying in 14:1-5. Is God OK with His people harboring idols in their hearts yet still trying to approach Him in prayer, worship, or seeking His favor? How does this concept apply to Christians today? Note in verse 1 – who specifically is harboring idols in their hearts as they approach God, and how is this impacting the people (14:5)? Explain again why it is so important for those in leadership to lead those under them in a godly direction and to set a good example for them.

Look at 14:6, 11- Does God want to punish His people? What does He want for His people?

Is the prophet God mentions in 14:7, 10 a true prophet of God, like Ezekiel, or a false prophet? What does “the punishment of the [false] prophet and the punishment of the inquirer shall be alike” (14:10) mean? Examine this pronouncement in light of 2 Timothy 4:3-4 and Genesis 3:6, and explain why this punishment is appropriate. Are people who seek out false prophets/teachers innocent victims of those false prophets/teachers? Why does the Bible say people seek out false teachers? What is already in their hearts when they do? How can false teachers be like the fruit that tempted Eve? What was already in Eve’s heart that caused her to reach out for the fruit? How do false teachers tempt women in those ways today?

Examine 14:12-23- Why did God bring Noah, Daniel, and Job into this passage? Compare this passage to Abraham’s intercession for Sodom. What differences and similarities do you see?

What are God’s “four disastrous acts of judgment,” and what will be the result of each for any country to whom God sends them?

14:12-14-

14:15-16-

14:17-18-

14:19-20-

What does God mean by “How much more when I send upon Jerusalem” these acts of judgment? (14:21). Explain in your own words what God is telling Ezekiel in 14:22-23. How should Ezekiel be comforted by this?

Does God ever do anything, especially exercising His wrath and judgment, “without cause”? (14:23) How can this expression of His justice be a comfort to us?


Homework

• Add 13:9, 14, 21, 23, 14: 8 to your “And you/they shall know that I am the Lord” list. Write down who will know that He is the Lord, what will cause them to know He is the Lord, and why God wants them to know He is the Lord.

• Is there any way you’re harboring an idol or cherishing iniquity in your heart (14:1-5) while still trying to approach God in prayer, worship, or seeking His favor? Prayerfully examine your heart against Scripture and repent if you’re sinning in this way.


Suggested Memory Verse