GODLY LIFESTYLE is a RESULT of OBEDIENCE to God’s WORD: "Therefore I made them go out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments, 'which, if a man does, he shall live by them.' Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them." (Ezek. 20:10-12)
In this chapter, prophet Ezekiel gives a panoramic view of the history of Israel, and can be divided into two parts: her rebellious past (vv. 1–32) and her glorious future (vv. 33–44). The first part recounts all that God had done for the nation of Israel as they went through the following phases: the Exodus (vv. 1–9), the wilderness journey (vv. 10–17), and their conquest of the land of Canaan (vv. 18–32).
Following their exodus from slavery in Egypt, God began to sanctify the Israelites by revealing to them a code of “law and conduct” for them to obey and follow. God also entered into a covenant relationship with the nation of Israel. Their godly lifestyle would be a result of their obedience to God’s Word. God’s laws, statutes and judgments were given to His people as a means of maintaining their walk with the living God. The law was God’s gracious gift to Israel as a way of life (Deut. 4:40; 32:46, 47; Joshua 1:7, 8), and the Sabbath was singled out as a law unique to Israel (vv. 13, 16, 21, 24), one that most clearly distinguished her from all the other nations.
However, the nation of Israel responded badly and disobeyed God’s Word. Ezekiel points out two important facts: (1) the nation of Israel was guilty of repeated rebellion against God (vv. 8, 13, 21), and (2) God acted as He did for His name’s sake alone (vv. 9, 14, 22). Instead of responding in obedience to God’s gracious provision, the nation of Israel rebelled against His rule, profaned His Sabbaths (vv. 10–13a), and chose to remain in idolatry (20:14–26). For His name sake, God however restrained His anger and spared the Israelites from destruction so that the other neighboring nations should not look down upon them (vv. 13b–17).
As in the case of the nation of Israel, repeated rebellion against God’s Word is a serious matter. God is long-suffering, but we must never take this for granted. Eventually He must chasten His rebellious children for His name’s sake. If we do not glorify Him by obeying His commandments, we must at least glorify Him by submitting to His chastening (Heb. 12:7-11).
Let us understand that the quality of our physical and spiritual lifestyle on this earth is related to our daily obedience to God’s Word. Let us intentionally carve out time for reading and meditating on God’s Word so that we can observe to obey it in our daily lives. When we do that, God will grant us the true success that we are looking for!