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accountability at board meeting August 29 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Ezekiel 33:21- 36:38

Holding People Accountable

An organization, business, or even family must hold its members accountable. If it doesn’t, there will be a deterioration of it. There will experience a loss of productivity, quality, motivation, respect, and reputation. For their name’s sake, the LORD’s, and ours, each of us must be held accountable. In 586 B.C. this is what Israel needed to learn and what we today must learn. If we hold ourselves accountable, God will not bless us.

At this time in Israel’s history, Israel and Judah are in exile in the nation of Babylon. They are there because they did not hold themselves accountable. They had sinned greatly–more than all the surrounding nations around them. Because the LORD had been very patient and sent them prophets but took little action, they thought He did not see their misdeeds or that He was like a permissive parent. They found out differently. They were held to account for their many sins, and now they will be in exile for seventy years.

Ezekiel records, “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!’” (Ezekiel 33:21, NIV). Although Ezekiel had prophesied about this for twelve years, they are shocked! Although many of the exiles liked Ezekiel’s preaching style (unlike Jeremiah), they did not take him seriously. Finally, God closed his mouth for a time because they were not listening. They continued in their sins and deceived themselves into believing that the nation of Judah could survive Babylon’s attacks as she had previously, and they would soon return to the land. They were wrong, for finally the day of judgment did come.

After Jerusalem's fall, there are some in the land who survive Babylonian destruction. They are poor people and under the control of Babylon. Strangely, however, they become proud. God tells Ezekiel,

“Son of man, the people living in those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land. But we are many; surely the land has been given to us as our possession.’” (33:24, NIV).

Like some employees in a firm or educational system, they think they will not be removed because of their tenure or relationship with it. The Israelites in the land disobey the laws of God yet expect to retain their place. This self-deception causes them to continue and even increase their wicked behavior. God holds them to account, however, and they are removed. Now very few remain in the land, and foreigners occupy it.

God likens Israel’s leadership to bad shepherds, who do not care for their flock (their people). Because they cared only for themselves, their sheep were scattered by war and by exile, and the rest were devoured. For these sins the LORD says he holds the shepherds accountable. We may not be shepherds of sheep, but most of have responsibilities over some people. How do we treat them? God will certainly hold us accountable.

Because of their incompetence, the LORD says He will be Israel’s shepherd. He will deliver His people from exile and bring the scattered ones back to pasture in the Promised Land. He will be their protector and provider. This will happen in part when the Israelites are delivered from exile after the seventy years of exile are complete, but this prophecy will find complete fulfillment during the millennial reign of Christ. Apparently, the LORD will even resurrect King David to be prince over them (2Samuel 7:16; Ezekiel 34:24). We know this prince is not referring to Christ because he will offer up sacrifices for his own sins (Ezekiel 45:22). Before the millennial reign of Christ, God will give Israel a new heart to obey Him (Ezekiel 36:25-27). Do we want God's blessings? It starts with a new heart (more...).

In our last Bible study we saw how the nation of Tyre was held to account for profiting from Israel’s disaster. In today’s Bible reading Edom is again held responsible for rejoicing over Israel’s demise. Instead of helping her sister nation, she rejoices and profits by her downfall (the same accusation is made in the book of Obadiah and in Ezekiel 25:8-14).

In the future the LORD will save Israel physically and spiritually, restore her land and protect her. You may ask, why would the LORD save Israel? Has she not violated every law of God? Has she not defiled herself by bowing down to all the gods of the surrounding nations? Was she not more wicked than all the nations around her? Yes, yes, yes! Now she suffers for it, but when God’s wrath is complete, He will look upon her again with mercy. It will not be because Israel deserves it, but God in His great love will do this for His own name’s sake. He will change her heart, forgive her sins and restore her because He is faithful to fulfill His promises, and He is kind. It is difficult to love others who have acted wickedly against us, yet God leaves us this example to follow.

Lessons to Live By

  • Live responsibly in the fear of the LORD
  • Love your neighbor as you would yourself.
  • Hold people accountable, but take care of those under your charge. Shepherd them with kindness, not harshness.
  • Love others who have acted wickedly against you. Act with justice and righteousness, but also act with mercy and love so they might know the LORD.
  • Do you know God in a personal way? He offers you forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...). If you obey Him you will be in His favor and escape eternal punishment.

Today’s Bible Memory Verse

Ezekiel 36: 9a (NIV) “I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor.”

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