Ezekiel continues to warn the people – judgment is coming. The Sword of the LORD, in the sword of Babylon.
But not everyone who died was unsaved, we read those words in:
Ezekiel 21:4 (NKJV) “Because I will cut off both righteous and wicked from you…”
The sins of the wicked DO affect the righteous. Today the sin of Adam, and the sins of our generation have brought death, and even days of greater death in Covid-19 to both the saved and unsaved. The difference however, is their eternal destiny in heaven or hell.
Matthew 13:41–43 (NKJV) “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
In Ezekiel’s day the Babylonians would strike for the third time – we read that explicitly in:
Ezekiel 21:14 (NKJV) “You therefore, son of man, prophesy, and strike your hands together. The third time let the sword do double damage. It is the sword that slays, the sword that slays the great men, that enters their private chambers.”
Jerusalem was conquered in 3 sieges; the third and final siege Ezekiel predicted took place in 586 B.C..
Ezekiel also wrote of the judgment of Ammon (Ezekiel 21:20; 28-32).
But it’s not all bad news. Although the scepter would cease for a season (Ezekiel 21:13) and Jerusalem would be overthrown…eventually the Day would come when Jesus would rule as King.
Ezekiel 21:27 (NKJV) “Overthrown, overthrown, I will make it overthrown! It shall be no longer, Until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him.”
Aren’t you looking forward to that Day when Jesus rules the world from the city of Jerusalem?
In Ezekiel 22 Ezekiel gets specific by listing some of the sins the people were guilty of, including those that had made Jerusalem a “bloody city.” There were idols in their hearts, there was murder on their hands. They did not honor mother and father, oppressed the foreigners, mistreated the helpless orphans and widows; they despised the holy things, profaned God’s Sabbaths, and their slander was so severe, it led to bloodshed. The men slept with their father’s wife, and violated women in their impurity, there was actually a slew of sexual sin. Then of course the God of Mammon, the bribes, high interest, the extortion. They had caused the Day of Judgment to come to them (Ezekiel 22:4)
Ezekiel simply shares the truth – God’s judgment was inevitable!
Ezekiel 22:14 (NKJV) “Can your heart endure, or can your hands remain strong, in the days when I shall deal with you? I, the LORD, have spoken, and will do it.”
It’s sad that it came to this, but God saw the people He loved as dross – worthless, rubbish, impure – they needed the refiners fire. We all do from time to time, so God “tests” us. At times it’s because we’ve done something wrong, and at times it’s because we’ve done something right, such as Job, who penned these words:
Job 23:10 (NKJV) “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Much of the blame for the fall of Jerusalem, was due to the complete corruption of her so called “leaders.” Her princes were wolves, her prophets were false, and her priests had no discernment whatsoever, they did not live or give the Word.
Ezekiel 22:26 (NKJV) “Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.”
God looked for someone to stand in the gap. A leader the people would follow. Apparently not, so God brought His judgment.
Ezekiel 22:30–31 (NKJV) “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. 31 Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord GOD.”
Bible Knowledge Commentary, “The corruption was so complete that when God searched for a man who could stem the tide of national destruction (build up the wall and stand … in the gap), none could be found. No one in a position of authority in Israel had the moral qualities to lead the nation aright. Obviously Jeremiah had these qualities, but he lacked the authority to lead the nation from the brink of disaster.”
In Hebrews 10:1 we come across that word “shadow” again, something we saw back in Hebrews 8:5. The Jewish Old Testament Law was merely a shadow of the substance; the substance was Christ. For that reason, the Old Testament sacrifices were insufficient, they could never cleanse anyone completely from their sins. The shadows could never ever finish the work.
The blood of bulls and goats couldn’t wash us – it had to be the blood of God (Acts 20:28).
Some might ask, “Why?” Why did it have to be the blood of God?
It’s because our sin is against an infinite God and therefore the punishment must be an infinite punishment. It’s for that reason the only way to satisfy God’s holy justice was for the sacrifice to be infinite – it had to be God on the cross.
The writer to the Hebrews quotes from Psalms 40:6-8; how ultimately God was not pleased in the sacrifices and offerings of animals; there would one day be the One who would come, and the whole Old Testament (volume of the book) pointed to Him. The writer is redundant, he wants to make it clear, God takes away the first so that He may establish the second – the New Covenant replaces the Old (Jeremiah 31:31).
Under the New Covenant there’s no condemnation, there’s not even a consciousness of sin, in the sense that I don’t wonder if I’m saved, free, or forgiven – I know I am. Under the Old Covenant however (and any other type of works-oriented righteousness) there’s not a remission of sins, it seem that on the contrary there’s only a reminder of sin.
Warren Wiersbe put it this way, “The sacrifices under the Old covenant brought a reminder of sin, not a remission of sin. The blood of God’s Son took care of sin once and for all. Because there is no more offering for sin, there is also no more remembrance of sin (Hebrews 10:17; Jeremiah 31:34), and we can rejoice that we have a righteous standing before God.”
Jesus finished the work, which is why He is able to sit down (see also Hebrews 1:3; 10:2; 12:2). He’s just waiting for His enemies to become His footstool; the day is coming when Jesus will reign (Psalm 110:1).
Until then we wait…as believers washed completely clean in the blood of Jesus!
Doesn’t it bless your heart and give you peace to read Hebrews 10:17?
Hebrews 10:17 (NKJV) “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Thank You Jesus!
A large part of David’s battle plan had to do with prayer and praise.
Apparently this Psalm was written after a momentary setback or struggle with Edom. We read in:
Psalm 108:10–11 (NKJV) “Who will bring me into the strong city? Who will lead me to Edom? 11 Is it not You, O God, who cast us off? And You, O God, who did not go out with our armies?”
David’s wondering, Lord, if You don’t help us, who can?
So he prays and worships. He’s not anxious or afraid, his heart is steadfast (Psalm 108:1). He’s not sweating, he’s singing. He acknowledges the greatness of God’s mercy and truth – this is not something we earn, we are promised victory because of the covenant we have with a gracious and loving God.
David longs for God to be exalted in their victory.
David knows God loves Israel (He call them His “beloved”)
David knows that without God they can do nothing, but with God there’s nothing they can’t do. Psalm 108:13 is the Old Testament version of Philippians 4:13.
Psalm 108:12–13 (NKJV) “Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless. 13 Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.”
Proverbs 27:12 (NKJV) “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.”
This Proverb is identical to Proverbs 22:3. Why do you think it’s repeated? Did Hezekiah’s men make a mistake in writing it again – verbatim?
I would say it’s “Repeated so we won’t be defeated.” “Repetition teaches a donkey.”
Here we’re reminded again, that the prudent person looks ahead to see if there are any potential dangers or pitfalls in order to avoid them; but the naive person just plows through all the red flags of warning, falls into the enemies’ evil trap, and suffers the consequences.
In Matthew 3:7-12 John the Baptist warned the people about their future in the lake of fire if they simply passed on and kept doing what they were doing. The prudent man considers his eternal destiny, repents of his sin, believes in and receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!
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.