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INTRODUCTION

This Home Discussion Guide is the take-home companion to the


spring sermon series The God Who Desires to Be Known.
The guide is fairly simple. It follows the pattern of the sermon series,
with a weekly excerpt from Ezekiel, a brief word of encouragement,
prayer prompts, and discussion questions. The goal of this guide is to
stimulate and continue conversation at home about the book of
Ezekiel.
Hopefully, this guide can be placed on your dinner table, in the car,
on the refrigerator, or in some other prominent place in your home
or apartment. Throughout the week, take five minutes or so to focus
on one part of the guide at a time, perhaps as part of your familys
devotional time or simply to prompt spiritual conversations. Below
are some examples of how the guide could be used:
Talk about a discussion question during the evening meal
together.
Read the encouragement thought and discuss during the
morning commute.
Use the prayer prompt to begin your evening prayers individually
or with others.
Read a portion of the weekly passage from Ezekiel during your
morning breakfast.
Our prayer is that this guide will continue to direct our thoughts and
conversations towards Gods concern for the world to know Him, as
we seek to be a church Moved by the Mission of God.
Southside Church of Christ
Spring 2016


Brief Timeline of Israels History
and Ezekiels Ministry

722 BC Exile of Northern Kingdom (Israel) by Assyrians


640 BC Josiah Becomes King of Southern Kingdom
(Judah) [2 Kings 22:1]
622 BC Birth of Ezekiel [Ezekiel 1:1]
609 BC Death of Josiah [2 Kings 23:28-30]
605 BC Jehoiakim Burns the Scroll (Jeremiah 36)/Nobles
(including Daniel) taken as hostages to Babylon
[2 Kings 24:1; Daniel 1:1-2]
597 BC First Deportation to Babylon (Ezekiel taken) [2
Kings 24:10-14]
592 BC Ezekiels Call to Ministry [Ezekiel 1:1]
587 BC Second Deportation to Babylon/Fall of Jerusalem
[2 Kings 25:1-12/Ezekiel 33:21]
571 BC Ezekiels Ministry comes to an end

WEEK 1
Ezekiel 1:1-3
In my thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day,
while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens
were opened and I saw visions of God.
On the fifth of the monthit was the fifth year of the exile
of King Jehoiachinthe word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the
priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the
Babylonians. There the hand of the Lord was on him.

WEEK 1
The God Who Desires to Be Known

Encouragement Thought:

The overall message of Ezekiel is that God wants His people and
all nations to know that He is God. Over 50 times, the book uses
the phrase that you may know that I am God. Gods presence
and actions of salvation, rescue, judgment, or exile all have the
central concern of helping His people and the nations know this
truth: God desires for His glory, holiness, and honor to be known
throughout the earth.
Prayer:

Lord, You are our sovereign King. May the world be filled with
Your knowledge, holiness, and glory. May every person come to
know Your greatness and live for Your honor. May this start with
me.
Discussion Questions:

1. What are other times when God acted in Scripture so that


the world would know Him (e.g. Joshua 4:24; 1 Samuel
17:46)?
2. How does it make you feel to know that God wants you to
know Him?
3. In what ways can your life help others to know God?

WEEK 2
Ezekiel 3:16-21
At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me:
Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of
Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from
me. When I say to a wicked person, You will surely die, and
you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from
their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person
will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their
blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not
turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will
die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
Again, when a righteous person turns from their
righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block
before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they
will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will
not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their
blood. But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and
they do not sin, they will surely live because they took
warning, and you will have saved yourself.

WEEK 2
God Calls a Watchman

Encouragement Thought:

The dominant image of Ezekiels ministry is a watchman. A


watchmans job was to be a lookout for the city to warn them of
enemies coming down the road. For Ezekiel, this meant warning
the exiles about the coming judgment of God, calling them to
repentance, and giving them hope for the future. God explains
that the Watchmans responsibility was simply to warn. Once he
does his duty, it is the hearers job to respond faithfully to the
message.
Prayer:

Lord, may Your hand be upon me so that I might be a watchman


to those around me. Help me to care enough about those near me
that I can warn them of surrounding spiritual danger so that they
might turn to You.
Discussion Questions:

1. Name some types of watchmen, or people in our society


who warn us of some sort of danger?
2. What are ways we can warn someone who is close to
spiritual danger?
3. Who is someone who has been a watchman in your life
and kept you from spiritual harm?

WEEK 3
Ezekiel 7:1-9
The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says
to the land of Israel:
The end! The end has come
upon the four corners of the land!

The end is now upon you,


and I will unleash my anger against you.
I will judge you according to your conduct
and repay you for all your detestable practices.

I will not look on you with pity;


I will not spare you.
I will surely repay you for your conduct
and for the detestable practices among you.
Then you will know that I am the Lord.
This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
Disaster! Unheard-of disaster!
See, it comes!

The end has come!


The end has come!
It has roused itself against you.
See, it comes!

Doom has come upon you,


upon you who dwell in the land.
The time has come! The day is near!
There is panic, not joy, on the mountains.

I am about to pour out my wrath on you


and spend my anger against you.
I will judge you according to your conduct
and repay you for all your detestable practices.

I will not look on you with pity;


I will not spare you.
I will repay you for your conduct
and for the detestable practices among you.
Then you will know that it is I the Lord who strikes you.

WEEK 3
God Brings Disaster

Encouragement Thought:

Ezekiels first task is to help the Israelites understand why they are
in exile. He explains that Gods patience has come to an end:
idolatry has filled the land and God is fed up with their
unfaithfulness. In chapter 8, the Spirit gives Ezekiel a vision of the
detestable idolatry continuing to take place in Jerusalem. If these
people are going to know Him, God has no other option other
than to pour out His wrath and bring disaster on them.
Prayer:

Sovereign Lord, forgive us when we take Your grace for granted.


We repent of our unfaithfulness and we ask that You fill us with
Your presence so that we can live for You.
Discussion Questions:

1. What were the reasons that God was angry with Israel (see
vv. 3-4)?
2. What was the ultimate intent of Gods wrath for Israel (see v.
9, 27)?
3. Are there occasions where tough love is necessary for
maturity? Explain.

WEEK 4
Ezekiel 11:1-13
Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the gate of the house of
the Lord that faces east. There at the entrance of the gate were twenty-five
men, and I saw among them Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of
Benaiah, leaders of the people. The Lord said to me, Son of man, these are
the men who are plotting evil and giving wicked advice in this city. They say,
Havent our houses been recently rebuilt? This city is a pot, and we are the
meat in it. Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, son of man.
Then the Spirit of the Lord came on me, and he told me to say: This is
what the Lord says: That is what you are saying, you leaders in Israel, but I
know what is going through your mind. You have killed many people in this
city and filled its streets with the dead.
Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: The bodies you have
thrown there are the meat and this city is the pot, but I will drive you out of
it. You fear the sword, and the sword is what I will bring against you, declares
the Sovereign Lord. I will drive you out of the city and deliver you into the
hands of foreigners and inflict punishment on you. You will fall by the sword,
and I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. Then you will
know that I am the Lord. This city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be
the meat in it; I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. And
you will know that I am the Lord, for you have not followed my decrees or
kept my laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around
you.
Now as I was prophesying, Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. Then I fell
facedown and cried out in a loud voice, Alas, Sovereign Lord! Will you
completely destroy the remnant of Israel?

WEEK 4
God Pronounces Judgment

Encouragement Thought:

Ezekiel sees city leaders in Jerusalem who are complacent and


arrogant in their religion. Even though the glory of God has
departed the temple (Ezekiel 10:18-19), they carry on business as
usual, assuming that they will be saved because they are leaders
in Jerusalem and God will protect them. But Ezekiel has a
message: Judgment is coming. They victimized the poor, so now
God will victimize them. God cares more about our actions and
deeds than our supposed religious piety.
Prayer:

Lord, help me to love my neighbor. May I not assume that my


church attendance and Bible reading is a substitute for caring
about the poor, wounded, and vulnerable around me.
Discussion Questions:

1. What are ways in which we can become complacent or lazy


in our faith?
2. Do we ever bypass the needs of the poor to focus on our
own wants? Give an example.
3. In what ways are these leaders of Jerusalem similar to the
Pharisees of Jesus day (e.g. Matthew 23:27-28)?

WEEK 5
Ezekiel 18:21-32
But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed
and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will
surely live; they will not die. None of the offenses they have committed will
be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have
done, they will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?
declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from
their ways and live?
But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin
and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live?
None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered.
Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they
have committed, they will die.
Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not just. Hear, you Israelites: Is my
way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? If a righteous person turns
from their righteousness and commits sin, they will die for it; because of the
sin they have committed they will die. But if a wicked person turns away from
the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they
will save their life. Because they consider all the offenses they have
committed and turn away from them, that person will surely live; they will
not die. Yet the Israelites say, The way of the Lord is not just. Are my ways
unjust, people of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust?
Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own
ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses;
then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have
committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of
Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign
Lord. Repent and live!

WEEK 5:
God Calls for Repentance

Encouragement Thought:

Ezekiel offers the only solution to Israels problem: repentance. In


this chapter, he lays the groundwork for repentance by explaining
that each person and each generation must choose for
themselves how to live. They can choose to continue in
wickedness or to repent. Yet, because God desires for us to know
Him, He continues to offer the opportunity of repentance and
change.
Prayer:

Sovereign Lord, turn my heart towards You. Help me to repent of


my sin and receive a new heart and new spirit so that I may live
for Your glory.
Discussion Questions

1. How would you define repentance?


2. Why does God continually offer the opportunity of
repentance in this life?
3. In what areas do you need to repent and turn to God?

WEEK 6
Ezekiel 20:39-44
As for you, people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign
Lord says: Go and serve your idols, every one of you! But
afterward you will surely listen to me and no longer profane
my holy name with your gifts and idols. For on my holy
mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign
Lord, there in the land all the people of Israel will serve me,
and there I will accept them. There I will require your
offerings and your choice gifts, along with all your holy
sacrifices. I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring
you out from the nations and gather you from the countries
where you have been scattered, and I will be proved holy
through you in the sight of the nations. Then you will know
that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel,
the land I had sworn with uplifted hand to give to your
ancestors. There you will remember your conduct and all the
actions by which you have defiled yourselves, and you will
loathe yourselves for all the evil you have done. You will know
that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my names sake
and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt
practices, you people of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.

WEEK 6
God Upholds His Name

Encouragement Thought:

Ezekiel 20 is a brief rehearsal of Gods history with Israel,


emphasizing the Exodus, Wilderness, Conquest, and Exile. While
God certainly has every right to judge and condemn His people, at
the end of this chapter, He offers hope for the future. This hope is
based on the desire of God to uphold His name: God cares about
His reputation among the nations because He wants the nations
to know of Him.
Prayer:

Sovereign Lord, may my actions today bring honor to Your Name.


I want Your holiness to be displayed through my life today. Use me
and Your people to be a light to the nations for Your names sake.
Discussion Questions

1. How important is a name or reputation?


2. What are ways that we can bring honor to Gods name or
reputation?
3. How does it affect your perspective on the week, knowing
that your actions influence the reputation of God among
others?

WEEK 7
Ezekiel 34:11-16
For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will
search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks
after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look
after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where
they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will
bring them out from the nations and gather them from the
countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will
pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in
all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good
pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their
grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land,
and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of
Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down,
declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and
bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and
strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will
destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.

WEEK 7
God Becomes the Good Shepherd

Encouragement Thought:

A key reason for Israels banishment to exile was the failure of


their leaders to be good shepherds. God offers here a pledge to
do what the leaders did not. Just as a good shepherd would care
for his flock, God promises to restore His people, to care for them,
and protect them. Throughout the passage, God says I will
multiple times, emphasizing Gods firm promise to
compassionately lead His people.
Prayer:

Lord, thank You for being a good Shepherd. Watch over me today
in Your benevolent care. Bind me, strengthen me, bring me back
when I stray, care for me as no human leader can, so that I may
give You glory.
Discussion Questions:

1. What are other Scriptures that use the image of shepherd in


describing Gods relationship with His people (e.g. Psalm 23;
John 10:11-18)?
2. Count the various actions in the passage that God promises
to do for His people as their good shepherd.
3. How is God a good shepherd to us today?

WEEK 8
Ezekiel 36:22-32
Therefore say to the Israelites, This is what the Sovereign Lord
says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do
these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have
profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the
holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the
nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations
will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am
proved holy through you before their eyes.
For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all
the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle
clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all
your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart
and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of
stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you
and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my
people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your
uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will
not bring famine upon you. I will increase the fruit of the trees and
the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace
among the nations because of famine. Then you will remember your
evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your
sins and detestable practices. I want you to know that I am not doing
this for your sake, declares the Sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and
disgraced for your conduct, people of Israel!

WEEK 8
God Gives a New Heart and Spirit

Encouragement Thought:

God pledges to give Israel a new heart and spirit. He recognizes


that Israel needs a heart transplant and, out of grace, God
promises to give it (notice again I will). This new heart and
spirit will help move Gods people to follow Gods ways and be
faithful to Him, unlike their forgettable past.
Prayer:

Lord, give me a new heart and new spirit. Take away my heart of
stone and give me a heart of flesh. Empower me by Your Spirit to
walk in Your ways. Teach me to depend on You every day as I seek
to live for Your glory.
Discussion Questions

1. How did God fulfill this promise to Israel of putting His Spirit
in them (see Acts 2:16-21, 38-39)?
2. How does Gods Spirit help us today to walk in Gods way
(see Romans 8:1-11; Galatians 5:16-26)?
3. What are areas of your life where you need to depend more
on Gods Spirit?

WEEK 9
Ezekiel 37:1-14
The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the
Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and
forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones
that were very dry. He asked me, Son of man, can these bones live?
I said, Sovereign Lord, you alone know.
Then he said to me, Prophesy to these bones and say to them, Dry bones, hear
the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will
make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and
make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and
you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a
noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and
tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no
breath in them.
Then he said to me, Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to
it, This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and
breathe into these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded
me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feeta vast
army.
Then he said to me: Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say,
Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off. Therefore prophesy
and say to them: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to
open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of
Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves
and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will
settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I
have done it, declares the Lord.

WEEK 9
God Brings Resurrection

Encouragement Thought:

Ezekiel has a vision of being in a graveyard full of bones. This


represents the current state of Israel: dead in exile. But then the
bones start to make noise, come together, and get on their feet.
This image illustrates Gods resurrection plan: God is going to
bring His people back to life, breathing life into them again so they
can live for His glory.
Prayer:

Lord, breathe Your Spirit into me today so that I may live in the
image of Christ. Bring to life the parts of me that have become
dead so that my whole heart, mind, body, and soul can be devoted
to You and Your Mission.
Discussion Questions

1. How does this story connect with the resurrection of Jesus?


2. Read Ephesians 2:1-5. How has God made you alive with
Christ?
3. What areas of your life do you need God to breathe His lifegiving Spirit into?

WEEK 10
Ezekiel 39:21-29
I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will
see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay on them. From that
day forward the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their
God. And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into
exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my
face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all
fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness
and their offenses, and I hid my face from them.
Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will now restore
the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of
Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. They will forget their
shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they
lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. When I
have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them
from the countries of their enemies, I will be proved holy through
them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the
Lord their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations,
I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no
longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the
people of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.

WEEK 10
God Displays Glory Among the Nations

Encouragement Thought:

In this text, God emphasizes that His actions with Israel are for the
wider audience of the nations. While He judges Israel in exile and
will restore them in the future, these actions are not for the sake
of Israel alone. He desires for His glory and His name to be
hallowed among all the nations. God cares about the world, and
He longs for the world to know Him.
Prayer:

Lord, may Your name be lifted high not only in my life but around
the world. May the nations of our globe come to bow their knee
and confess with their lips that Jesus is Lord to Your glory.
Discussion Questions:

1. What are ways that we can demonstrate our love for the
world?
2. What are places in the world that you have visited or would
like to visit?
3. Are there people that you know from another country that
you can bless?

WEEK 11
Ezekiel 43:1-5
Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, and I saw
the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice
was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant
with his glory. The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen
when he came to destroy the city and like the visions I had
seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown. The glory of the
Lord entered the temple through the gate facing east. Then
the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court,
and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.

WEEK 11
God Comes Back

Encouragement Thought:

This text and the chapters following provide a conclusion to the


devastating action found in Ezekiel 10:18-22, when Gods glory
left the temple because of Israels unfaithfulness. Now Ezekiel
promises a day when Gods glory would return. Gods heart is full
of forgiveness and mercy, and that gives us hope that no matter
how far we stray from Gods path, restoration is still possible in
Him.
Prayer:

Lord, thank You for never giving up on me or Your people. May


Your glory fill Your church and may Your Spirit lift us up to be
witnesses for others about Your greatness so that the world may
know You.
Discussion Questions

1. Tell of a time in your life when you strayed from God and
came back to Him.
2. Do you need to forgive and restore relationships with anyone
in your life?
3. What are ways that you can display the glory of God through
your life this week?