BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON (4) – Ezekiel spoke to Africa, Asia, and Europe

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Ezekiel had a message for Africa, Asia, and Europe. Egypt was the lead African empire, Babylon was a center of civilization in Asia, and Greece was the light of Europe. These peoples lived between the Mediteranean sea in the north west and the Indian ocean in the south east (see map); they mixed through trade, education, culture including marriages, and war.

Israel was placed by God on the most important trade road at that time – the Via Maris. On this road was the great sea-port of Tyre, north of Jerusalem. Ships came from Spain, Greece, Egypt, Israel, to trade at Tyre with people that came from as far as India. They heard about the golden Temple in Jerusalem and visited it for themselves. Israel was put in this position to be a messenger for truth and light.

This is why after Solomon built the Temple, he prayed: “People from other places will hear about your greatness and your power. They will come from far away to pray at this Temple. From your home in heaven, please… do everything the people from other places ask you. Then they will fear and respect you the same as your people in Israel…” (1 Kings 8:41-43 Easy-to-Read Version Bible).

These people coming from “other places” – Africa, Asia, Europe were the focus of Ezekiel Chapter 25 to 32. In the warning to Tyre and to Egypt, we read that these nations had become very wealthy, powerful, and influential, such that their Kings considered themselves to be gods.

The prophet stated that Tyre will fall and proclaims in Ezekiel 27:36 (Easy-to-Read Version Bible): “The merchants in other nations [Africa, Asia, and Europe] whistle about you. What happened to you will frighten people, because you were destroyed. You are gone forever.’”

Ezekiel 29:13-15 (Easy-to-Read Version Bible) says of Egypt: “This is what the Lord God says: “I will scatter the people of Egypt among many nations. But at the end of 40 years, I will gather those people together again… But their kingdom will… be the least important kingdom. It will never again lift itself above the other nations. I will make them so small that they will not rule over the nations.”

Ezekiel advanced Israel’s mission to preach truth and light to the world. Ezekiel spoke to the world – teaching us that God is watching; leaders who think they are gods will fall; God wants people everywhere to worship him; he is God of all the nations, not just Israel.

May our hearts respond positively to the God of the nations, Amen!

BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON (3) – Ezekiel Prophet of Grace!

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In difficult times, visionaries bring hope and lead us into the light. The prophet Ezekiel was a voice of hope for Israel in Babylonian captivity. Ezekiel was a powerful visionary guide into the light at a time when darkness blinded Israel.

Ezekiel Chapter 1:3 says Ezekiel was a priest and the son of Buzi (Ezekiel ben Buzi). A number of Bible scholars teach that he was a descendant of Zadok, the faithful priest to King David who anointed Solomon as King (1 Kings 1:38-50). The sons of Zadok remained faithful to God even when most of Israel were not (see Ezekiel 44:15). Ezekiel lived by the River Chebar (Kebar) with other jewish people, shocked that they were captives in Babylon. They wondered why this happened to them and what was their future? God provided answers through Ezekiel. The prophet speaks of his first encounter with God in Ezekiel Chapters 1 to 3.

Ezekiel 1:4-28 (Easy-to-Read Version Bible) (shortened) says: “…a big storm come in from the north… a big cloud… there was fire flashing from it… Inside the cloud, there were four living beings… [with] four faces. In the front they each had a man’s face… a lion’s face on the right.. bull’s face on the left… an eagle’s face on the back… I noticed four wheels that touched the ground… [with] eyes all over the rims of all four wheels… There was an amazing thing over the heads of the living beings. It was like a bowl turned upside down… There was something that looked like a throne on top of the bowl… There was also something that looked like a man sitting on the throne… He looked like hot metal with fire all around him… It was the Glory of the Lord. As soon as I saw that, I fell to the ground.”

Ezekiel saw God on a throne with wheels, driven by angels. In the vision, the wheels had eyes all around and could see in every direction – imagine a car with video cameras all around. Ezekiel saw a vision of God in a moving throne that saw everything; in Ezekiel Chapter 8 this moving throne transported Ezekiel back to Jerusalem to see the religious atrocities that the people left in Jerusalem were commiting at the Temple including worshipping statutes of lizards and snakes (Ezekiel 8:10).

Following this vision, God asked Ezekiel to go preach a message of punishment, destruction, repentance, forgiveness, and redemption for Israel. So we read in Ezekiel 11:16-20 (shortened): “So tell them this: The Lord God says, ‘It is true, I forced my people to go far away to other nations… but I will gather you together and bring you back… I will give the land of Israel back to you. When my people come back, they will destroy all the terrible, filthy idols that are here now… I will put a new spirit in them. I will take away that heart of stone, and I will put a real heart in its place. Then they will obey… They will be my people, and I will be their God.’”

Ezekiel was a prophet of grace by the rivers of Babylon! The prophet clearly informed Israel of God’s plans to deliver them from idolatry; the captivity was not the end of the road, it was bitter medicine to bring them back into the light. God uses this pattern in our lives too – the corrective discipline of a parent over a child.

I pray our hearts respond positively to God’s corrective discipline, Amen!

BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON (2) – Why is Ezekiel important to us?

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Why is the Biblical history of Israel important to Christians? What is the lesson we can learn from it to make our lives purposeful and better? The book of Ezekiel leads us to some life transforming answers.

Ezekiel and other Israelites had been captured from Jerusalem by the Babylonians after a war that Israel lost. While the princes of Israel like Daniel were taken to King Nebuchadnezzar’s palace, common people like Ezekiel were taken to a place called Tel Abib by River Chebar (Kebar). If Jerusalem was a land of milk and honey, Tel Abib was a place of bitter medicine; so the Israelites wept big sorrowful tears. Why did this happen to them and what is the lesson for us?

Ezekiel 5:5-10 (Easy-To-Read Version Bible) (shortened) says: “Then the Lord God said… I put Jerusalem in the middle of other nations… The people rebelled against my commands… They broke more of my laws than any of the people in the countries around them… So the Lord God says… I will punish you while those other people watch. I will do things to you that I have never done before. And I will never do those terrible things again… People in Jerusalem will be so hungry that parents will eat their own children, and children will eat their own parents. I will punish you in many ways, and those who are left alive, I will scatter to the winds.”

God put Israel in the middle of the world, to be his ambassadors, representatives of truth and light to all the world – we see this plan revealed clearly in Deuteronomy. Israel became wealthy and forgot the reason for their existence. Instead of being missionaries for truth, goodness, fairness, and worship of God, they started practicing idolatry, child sacrifice, occult sex magic, fetish fashion clothing, and injustice against the poor and the weak – the book of Isaiah reveals these misbehaviors.

Ezekiel Chapters 4 to 24 explains why Israel was being given very bitter medicine. It took 70 years of hospitalization in Babylon before Israel was able to go back to Jerusalem and worship God with truth and sincerity and zeal again as recorded in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Bitter medicine is painful to swallow but the purpose is not to kill the patient, it is to return the patient to good health!

Ezekiel shows how much God invested, in keeping Israel on track to deliver Jesus to the world. Israel has played a huge role in advancing heaven’s purpose to establish a better world on earth. When they rebelled and forgot their purpose, God brought them back through corrective discipline. The book of Ezekiel is an important record of God’s hard work of yesterday that built the foundation of our Christian life today. Next week we will do a character study of the man Ezekiel.

Lord thank you for Ezekiel and his life changing message to us, Amen!


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“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars [trees] we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” – Psalm 137:1-4 (NIV)

Psalm 137 has been made into song by gospel and pop musicians. As a kid, after listening to this song, I would ask myself where is this Babylon, where is this Zion, and who are these people who sat and wept? I now know that these were Israelites taken into captivity 2600 years ago by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (a place in Iraq). The book of Ezekiel says they were by the River Chebar (Kebar) (Ezekiel 3:15).

River Chebar was not a good place – it was a place the Israelites could not easily escape from; it would flood during the rains, and they would farm it in the dryer months. Nebuchadnezzar took the Israelites from their beautiful homes and golden Temple in Jerusalem, and dumped them in an insect infested hole in Babylon. So the Israelites wept big tears; to make it worse the Babylonians mocked them – you use to sing and dance in Jerusalem, sing and dance here too, let’s watch!

At that time, it looked as if Israel was completely finished, or finished completely (ha-ha); all hope was lost. How come the nation of Israel still exist today? The continued survival of Israel despite their Biblical history of bad leaders and powerful enemies, shows how God is able to keep his promises in difficult circumstances. The Biblical history of Israel is a case study and a track record of God’s ability to achieve his purpose in the face of non-stop opposition.

In the next couple of weeks, we will look at Israel in Babylon through the writings of Ezekiel. The prophet says a lot of things that can be difficult to fully understand. I will focus on lessons from Ezekiel that are helpful to you and I. Ezekiel reveals God’s future plans for Israel even while they were weeping in Babylon.

We learn from Ezekiel that even when we pass through dark times, hard times, tough times, that is not the final chapter; may our study in Ezekiel, give us hope and strength in this journey called life, Amen!


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Many years ago, I was victim to a hit and run car accident. I cannot fully describe the physical pain I felt; I carried some of the injuries on me for almost 10 years; the after effects have remained with me 20 years after the accident. I am not alone in having passed through such a traumatic experience, every adult person probably have a story of physical and or emotional tragedy and trauma to share. Every person has probably asked the question – why do bad things happen?

The Bible provide answers – bad things happen because of the devil; the Bible does not just point a finger, the Bible provides a picture of the ancient origin of evil. It all began when the mighty angel Lucifer began a war in heaven to forcefully seize the throne (Revelation 12:7-10). As part of the war effort, Lucifer spread the message that he would be a much better ruler than God because God was wicked. At a point in the war, Lucifer was thrown out of heaven and fell to earth.

The earth became the battlefield for this war when Lucifer fell to earth. When Lucifer approached Eve and said she would be like God by eating the forbidden fruit, Lucifer was partly right. God requires us to submit to him, anyone who does not do so becomes a rival, a competitor, another god. Lucifer became a god when he challenged God; Adam and Eve became gods when they too challenged God.

Is Lucifer a better ruler than God? The Bible teaches that God is loving, righteous, kind, patient, longsuffering, forgiving – does Lucifer show the same character or better? Are human rulers with great power, of the same character like God or better? The Bible teaches that Lucifer’s reign on earth has been devastating and traumatic.

We read 1Peter 5:6-8 (Amplified Bible): “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God… so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour.”

Lucifer prowls around on earth like a hungry angry lion, seeking someone to hurt badly; just as God works through people and the creation to do his will on earth, Lucifer work through people and the creation to do his will also. This is the origin of evil and bad things that plague the earth.

Our father in heaven, give us our daily bread, forgive our sins, and deliver us from the evil one, Amen!


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January for me, is often tough! Getting back to rhythm of work after the holidays takes time. Meeting up with the bills for home maintenance, school fees, food and fuel for the cars need some advance maths skills (ha-ha). January is the back to everyday reality month, after the excesses of the end-of-year and new-year celebrations. Nonetheless, I give thanks with a grateful heart as I wave goodbye January!!!

I welcome February with renewed hope. I feel like a traveler who has gone through a mountain road and is now back on flat ground. I can breathe again and I have a new sense of excitement about the journey still ahead of me. Each month of the year comes with its own expectations, challenges, and drama. This journey called life is never a smooth ride from start to finish.

King David captures this beautifully in Psalm 23:1-4 (Living Bible): “Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need! He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams. He gives me new strength. He helps me do what honors him the most. Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.”

For King David, life is not a smooth ride – but God gives him rest along the way; God gives him new strength; God helps him, guards him, and guides him all the way – wow! I want to be like David when I grow up (ha-ha).

Family and friends, wherever you may be, give thanks for January, no matter the drama it brought your way, its gone and you are still standing. Look forward with new hope – anchor that hope in the Lord, the God who is able to give you rest, new strength, and help to keep you going forward in 2023.

To God be the glory, great things he has done; praise the Lord, let the earth hear his voice, Amen!


In the book of Genesis, Chapter 2 and verse 15, we read from the Amplified Bible: “So the LORD God took the man [He had made] and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it.” Think about this, and ask yourself – why was the man not put in a cave, or in a cage, or at the bottom of a hole? In this act of placing the man in a garden to cultivate and keep and eat from the trees, God is sharing!

Later on when Adam and Eve were sent packing out of the garden, Genesis Chapter 3 and verse 17, from the Amplified Bible says: “Then to Adam the LORD God said, “Because you have listened [attentively] to the voice of your wife, and have eaten [fruit] from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’; The ground is [now] under a curse because of you; In sorrow and toil you shall eat [the fruit] of it All the days of your life.”

Even when Adam was sent out of the garden of Eden, God said “In sorrow and toil YOU SHALL EAT… from the ground”. Even when Adam and Eve sinned, they were not denied the material provision to survive. Genesis Chapter 8 and verse 22 from the Amplified Bible states this very clearly: “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.”

God created humanity and shared his goodness with us; God used his abilities, gifts, skills, and talents, to create, to provide, and to invest in humanity. We are taught from the Bible that God created humanity in his image; if God shares from what he has, we too should share from what we have. We should share our gifts, and skills, and talents, and wealth – in sharing we are doing God’s work!

We all have a gift, a skill, a talent, a resource from which we can share and be a blessing; in 2023 be blessed and be a blessing, Amen!


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In the book of Genesis, when Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden, God said to them in Genesis 3:17-19 (New Living Translation): “…the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made…”

When God rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt, God reversed that Genesis curse. God led Israel to a good land, on condition that they worship him – we read about this in Deuteronomy 8:6-9. The good land for Israel was a place with abundant resources, a place where they were sure to have a good harvest for their labor, and a good reward for their industriousness. However, God did not end there.

Deuteronomy 8:18 (King James Version) says: “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.”

Deuteronomy 8:18 (New Living Translation) says: “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”

God brought Israel to a good land, and gave them the ‘power’ or ‘ability’ to produce wealth from the resources. Bible scholars note that this verse refers to both physical strength and mental capacity (wisdom, intelligence, leadership) to create wealth.

Today, we can pray for this power, ability, capacity to create wealth. We are not citizens of the nation of Israel, however, as Christians, we worship the God that blessed Israel, and has extended the same grace to followers of Jesus. In 2023, wherever we find ourselves, may the Lord bless us and give us the “power to get wealth”.

To God be the glory, Amen!


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At midnight on 31 December 2022, as my family welcomed the new year, we sat down and prayed about what we want in 2023. My kids prayed about school work, my wife and I prayed about family and career. Are these what God wants for us in 2023?

Deuteronomy 8:7-10 (Amplified Bible) says: “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water… and springs… a land of wheat… and pomegranates… olive oil and honey… where you will eat bread without shortage…you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are satisfied, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.”

God placed Israel in a good land with resources to live well, but God did not come down to bake the bread, to make the olive oil, to collect the honey, to set up industries and businesses to exploit the iron and the copper. The people had to develop their intelligence and skills, and work hard to exploit the resources in the land. Thus if you have made plans to build your skills and work hard to live well in 2023, you are on the right road to success. But is this all that matters?

Deuteronomy 8:11-19 (Amplified Bible) (shortened) continues: “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by failing to keep His commandments and His judgments (precepts) and His statutes… otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses… and your silver and gold multiply… your heart will become lifted up [by self-conceit and arrogance] and you will forget the Lord your God… And it shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and serve them and worship them… you will most certainly perish.”

In 2023, God wants us to live well, to avoid self-conceit and arrogance, and to worship him with sincerity. The material resources to live well are on earth, not in heaven. I pray the Lord gives you wisdom about what is available to you, and open doors to access them. I pray that when we have eaten and are satisfied, we will not be among those who prospered and perished.

May 2023 bring you good success in Jesus name, Amen!


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The end of the year and the beginning of a new year is a period of deep thinking and reflections for me. While I ensure that my children have a lot of fun and memories they will cherish for a long time, for me it is a time to take stock of my journey on planet earth, give thanks for my achievements, examine my failures, and make plans for the new year.

I ask myself – where am I going and why? Am I living just for myself, my pleasures, my ambitions? Am I working hard everyday only to put food on my table or am I serving a greater higher purpose? Where do I find purpose and strength to go serve humanity when I am teaching in the classroom, or when I am home with my family, or at Church, or with extended family, in-laws, friends, neighbors, colleagues, strangers – whether these interactions are in person or over social media?

Proverbs 16:19 (Amplified Bible) says: “A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the LORD directs his steps and establishes them.”

My purpose is influenced by my understanding of God’s purpose for humanity as taught in the Bible. There are many teachings and philosophies in our world on how best to live your life; I find the wisdom and light of the Bible absolutely outstanding. So, when I make plans for the future I commit them to God to direct my steps and establish my plans.

Looking backwards, questioning my purpose, vision, and mission – provides clarity on moving forward into the new year. Deep reflection could sometimes produce depression, I have experienced that – one way to avoid this is to see failures not as the end, but as a source of wisdom. Failures could mean I am trying to do too much, or I don’t yet have the skills and knowledge to achieve my goals, or I don’t have the right support, or that the goal is not for me, I should let it go.

As you reflect and make plans for 2023 – the LORD bless you, and keep you [protect you, sustain you, and guard you]; the LORD make His face shine upon you [with favor], and be gracious to you [surrounding you with love and kindness]; the LORD lift up His countenance (face) upon you [with divine approval], and give you peace [a tranquil heart and life] – Amen!

Happy New Year 2023!!!