Ezekiel was taken to Babylon in the second siege. The Jews were under the impression that they were about to be restored and delivered by God, but they were wrong, dead-wrong. Ezekiel was carried away in 597 B.C. and 11 years later the Babylonians would level Jerusalem, in 586 B.C.
We read about the judgment upon the land and cringe at the severity of it, but it’s important to realize that it’s simply the justice of God. God declared in;
Ezekiel 7:27b (NKJV) “I will do to them according to their way, and according to what they deserve I will judge them; then they shall know that I am the LORD!’ ”
Disaster, doom, destruction, death, “the time has come, the day draws near.” (Ezekiel 7:12)
God would see it all, but His eye would not spare; the God whose love and compassion are such that He would give His Son to die for us, would not pity the people at this point. It’s critical to understand that God is both Savior and Judge.
The people would die in the field by the sword, in the city by famine and pestilence – their money would be meaningless, their idols would be defiled.
There will be no leadership, meaning the people will be completely lost and without hope. God will give them what they’d always wanted, life without Him.
Ezekiel 7:26 (NLT) “Calamity will follow calamity; rumor will follow rumor. They will look in vain for a vision from the prophets. They will receive no teaching from the priests and no counsel from the leaders.”
I sigh…so much unnecessary heartache, for most – doom is their destiny.
In Ezekiel 8, we find the prophet sitting in his house with the elders – it “appears” that all is well, until the Spirit of God carries Ezekiel away to show him what’s really going on in the Temple of the LORD and in the hearts of the elders. God is jealous because His bride has been committing spiritual adultery!
Ezekiel 8:12 (NKJV) “Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land.’’”
The abominations only increased, the more Ezekiel probed into those “walls” and saw behind closed doors, as they worshipped Tammuz (see article on Tammuz) and even worshipped the sun. God pronounced His just judgment:
Ezekiel 8:18 (NKJV) “Therefore I also will act in fury. My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.”
In Ezekiel 9 we have a glimpse behind the scenes, just prior to the judgment of Jerusalem, of what appears to be angels, one of whom is sent in advance to “mark” those who would be spared. This practice is similar to what we see in Revelation 7:2-3; 9:4; 14:1. It’s insightful as we discover the reasoning for the special identification marks.
Ezekiel 9:4 (NKJV) “and the LORD said to him, ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.’”
There was still a remnant, who wept over the wickedness of the world they lived in. They sighed and cried over all the abominations that were done. It reminds me of the words of the Psalmist:
Psalm 119:136 (NKJV) “Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law.”
After the people were ‘marked’ the judgment began, and that judgment began in God’s sanctuary (with those elders), judgment always begins at that place, but doesn’t end there.
1 Peter 4:17 (NKJV) “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
Ezekiel was able to foresee the judgment of God’s people, so he falls on his face in intercession. Ezekiel should have known, God would NOT destroy all the remnant of the people (that’s what that mark was all about) but from Ezekiel’s perspective, it sure looked that way.
One day, the Day will come, the Day of the Lord, and the only way “out” is through Jesus Christ. Friend, are you ready? I pray we’d all be ready for that day, by completely yielding our lives to the Lord. Have you done that?
The writer to the Hebrews had closed chapter 4 by alluding to Jesus as our High Priest.
He now shares a little more on that prominent priestly position. The High Priest was to be a direct descendant of Aaron. He was called and appointed by God to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people. He was to deal gently with those who sinned, since he himself was also a sinner. As a matter of fact, not only was he to offer a sacrifice for them, but he was also required to offer sacrifices for himself. Pastor Chuck Smith comments on this, “None of us is perfect and we should have compassion for others. Sometimes we become very judgmental and God then forces us to see our own failures, so we can be more understanding.” (see also Galatians 6:1)
The position of High Priest was a high and holy calling from God, it wasn’t something anyone just took to themselves. And such is the case for Christ also. The Father appointed Him (Hebrews 5:5-6).
Jesus is now our High Priest, called and anointed by His Father, but according to a different Priesthood. The writer quotes from Psalms 2:7 and 110:4 and points to a mysterious figure in the Old Testament by the name of Melchizedek (His name means “King of Righteousness”). Who is this person?
I believe He is a theophany, an appearance of God, and more specifically, a Christophany a literal appearance or visitation of Christ to earth (we’ll see a lot more of Melchizedek in Hebrews 7).
In speaking of Jesus, the writer gives us insight into His prayer life, it wasn’t nominal, or casual, He prayed vehement cries, He shed heartfelt tears, He learned to be the perfect High Priest, through the things He suffered.
Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Jesus had to prepare for His priestly ministry by experiencing the trials His people experience as they walk by faith (4:15). Because of the life that He lived and the death that He died, He is able to identify with your needs and give you grace to see you through. He understands!”
Not only did Jesus become the author of salvation by dying on the cross and rising from the dead, He’s also the finisher of salvation as He sits at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us, ready to help at any time.
These Hebrew Christians were having a hard time understanding the modern ministry of Jesus because they were going backwards, back to legalism, back to Judaism, back to the baby-believer basics.
By this time (after all these years) these Christians should have been teachers of God’s Word, but legalism had stunted their growth, and now they had to go back to the elementary things, the A, B, C’s of the Christian life, they needed to go back to milk instead of solid food. Milk is necessary in the beginning stages of life, but we need go on and mature, to be skilled in the Scriptures, we should grow and be able to consume, enjoy, and digest solid food, even the meat of the Word.
Hebrews 5:14 (NKJV) “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
Sandy Adams comments on this passage, “How do you graduate from milk to meat? Obedience is the spiritual growth hormone. Take what you learn, apply it to your life, and you will learn more. The more you exercise your spiritual reflexes the sharper they become.”
This Psalm is primarily an expression of praise for all the good God had done for Israel – their history of overall victory.
Give thanks, call upon His name, make known His deeds, sing to Him, talk of all His wondrous works, glory in His name, let hearts rejoice to seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face forevermore!
There’s the Abrahamic covenant – consider it, when he had nothing, God promised him a land flowing with milk and honey, descendants as the stars in the sky and the sands of the sea.
Even when Abraham and Isaac ventured out and failed in foreign lands, we read in:
Psalm 105:14–15 (NKJV) “He permitted no one to do them wrong; yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, 15 Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.”
I praise God for the grace He’s given to Israel, to His church, and even to me. He’s called us and will carry us through life, and all the way “home.”
Proverbs 26:28 (NKJV) “A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, and a flattering mouth works ruin.”
How we need to be so careful not to speak negatively or inaccurately about others; it’s not just passing conversation, it’s hatred, and hatred is actually murder (in God’s sight) (Matthew 5:21-22).
When it comes to flattery, our best rule of thumb is not to say to a person’s face what we wouldn’t say behind their back.
Let’s not lie and let’s not flatter, and let’s be determined not to listen to either.
Flattery is a form of manipulation. I’ve learned over the years that sometimes a person will tell you you’re the best thing since sliced bread, only because they want a piece of the pie.
So much ruin happens through those types of tongues, the immoral messages from those types of mouths.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.