Judah's Captivity Symbolized
8 In the morning the word of the Lord came to me: 9 “Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, ‘What are you doing?’ 10 Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: This oracle concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel who are in it.’ 11 Say, ‘I am a sign for you: as I have done, so shall it be done to them. They shall go into exile, into captivity.’ 12 And the prince who is among them shall lift his baggage upon his shoulder at dusk, and shall go out. They shall dig through the wall to bring him out through it. He shall cover his face, that he may not see the land with his eyes. 13 And I will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare. And I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, yet he shall not see it, and he shall die there. 14 And I will scatter toward every wind all who are around him, his helpers and all his troops, and I will unsheathe the sword after them. 15 And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them among the countries. 16 But I will let a few of them escape from the sword, from famine and pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the nations where they go, and may know that I am the Lord.”
17 And the word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink water with trembling and with anxiety. 19 And say to the people of the land, Thus says the Lord God concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the land of Israel: They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink water in dismay. In this way her land will be stripped of all it contains, on account of the violence of all those who dwell in it. 20 And the inhabited cities shall be laid waste, and the land shall become a desolation; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
21 And the word of the Lord came to me: 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb that you have about the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days grow long, and every vision comes to nothing’? 23 Tell them therefore, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will put an end to this proverb, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.’ But say to them, The days are near, and the fulfillment of every vision. 24 For there shall be no more any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel.25 For I am the Lord; I will speak the word that I will speak, and it will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, but in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it, declares the Lord God.”
26 And the word of the Lord came to me: 27 “Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, ‘The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off.’ 28 Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord God: None of my words will be delayed any longer, but the word that I speak will be performed, declares the Lord God.”
False Prophets Condemned
17 “And you, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own hearts. Prophesy against them 18 and say, Thus says the Lord God: Woe to the women who sew magic bands upon all wrists, and make veils for the heads of persons of every stature, in the hunt for souls! Will you hunt down souls belonging to my people and keep your own souls alive? 19 You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, putting to death souls who should not die and keeping alive souls who should not live, by your lying to my people, who listen to lies.
20 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against your magic bands with which you hunt the souls like birds, and I will tear them from your arms, and I will let the souls whom you hunt go free, the souls like birds. 21 Your veils also I will tear off and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand as prey, and you shall know that I am the Lord. 22 Because you have disheartened the righteous falsely, although I have not grieved him, and you have encouraged the wicked, that he should not turn from his evil way to save his life, 23 therefore you shall no more see false visions nor practice divination. I will deliver my people out of your hand. And you shall know that I am the Lord.”
Accompanying Dave Legge sermon: The Signs and Blunders Movement
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermons for Chapter 12 and Chapter 13.
Rayburn submits that the next two pieces of the doctrine of divine wrath revealed in today's passage are....
bad news is always the hardest to believe and judgment is, therefore, the doctrine concerning which men – whether in the church or out of it – are most practically and theoretically skeptical.
the most significant and consequential unbelief in that judgment is always found in the church, among her clergy, and is most insidious there.
The doctrine of divine judgment is a tough one to swallow. No one wants to believe that God will send anyone to hell. We don't like to talk about it. We prefer to take an ignorance is bliss type of position. And it's been that way since Adam and Eve.
the first sin, the cause of the fall of mankind, was disbelief in the threat of divine judgment. God had said to Adam, “On the day you eat of it you will surely die,” and the Devil flatly contradicted that in his conversation with Eve: “you surely will not die!” The history of Genesis 2 and 3, remember, is not just history. It is supra-history or meta-history. It establishes the patterns that will shape human life. And we have such a pattern here. From the time of the fall to our own day the Devil’s first and primary argument for sin is the same one he used on Eve: you will not die. You can sin and not suffer consequences. You will not be punished. And no lie is more commonly, or readily, or easily believed by human beings.
We all have a tendency to think of ourselves as good people. We're certainly not bad people! We're better than most. Certainly better than average. And should judgment be a possibility, it's likely in the far distant future and nothing that we need to be concerned about for a long time to come.
Sounds like King Hezekiah.....
A prime biblical example of this tendency is provided by Hezekiah, Judah’s greatest king and unquestionably a man of faith. You remember that shortly after the Lord had graciously spared his life when he was ill and added fifteen years to it, he entertained envoys from Babylon and proudly showed them all the wealth of Jerusalem. Babylon was not yet the international threat it would soon become, but Hezekiah, in his vanity, made sure that the Babylonians knew that Jerusalem was worth attacking when the time came. In response to Hezekiah’s vain and thoughtless exposure of his nation and people to the lust and rapacity of a great world empire, the Lord promised Hezekiah that all the wealth he had strutted before the envoys would in time be carried off to Babylon. But when that sentence was announced to Hezekiah by the prophet Isaiah, the ungrateful dolt had the temerity to say to Isaiah,
“‘The word of the Lord you have spoken is good…’ For he thought, ‘Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?’”
Even those of us who do believe in divine judgment, quite frankly don't live like that doctrine has any affect on our daily lives. We need to remember that what God says will happen, will happen. We can't wait for His Word to be proven true - because when that judgment comes it will be too late!
The people in Ezekiel's day had decided that both Ezekiel and God were all talk and no action, once again misinterpreting God's patience in bringing the judgment to mean there would be no judgement at all. We need to learn from what has already proven to be true - Jerusalem did fall.
it is well for us to remember that, as a matter of simple fact, shortly after Ezekiel acted out the exile, Babylon entered Judah, besieged Jerusalem, reduced the population to starvation – until they were drinking their own urine and eating their own excrement, until at last they were eating each other – finally broke through the walls, captured the king, killed his sons before his eyes, gouged out his eyes and carried the pathetic fool back to Babylon, despoiled the land, killed many who survived the siege, most of the soldiers, dashed babies against the rocks, tore the city down until it was little more than rubble, burned what was left, and carried off into exile the remnants of the once great kingdom of David and Solomon, leaving at the last only a few poor folk to tend the fields on their behalf.
And when the caravan arrived in Babylon with the long train of Israelites afoot stretched out for miles behind, carrying their bundles over their shoulders as they shuffled along, utterly desolate, hopeless, exhausted, not one, not a single person, not one Israelite said again, “The days go by and every vision comes to nothing.”....
We have to put ourselves to believing and remembering all God tells us in his word. We have to work to remember that we are going to die. Lord, teach us to number our days. We have to work to remember that the world around us is hurtling to judgment. We have to work to remember that we too must stand before the judgment seat of God, clothed in Christ’s righteousness as we may be. But the Lord has spoken. There is not a single chance in all the world that it is not so and that judgment will not be meted out and that an offended God will not unleash the fury of his wrath.
Unfortunately, society and even false teachers claiming to be Christians, prefer to believe something else entirely. We believe what we want to believe, instead of what God proclaims as truth. These false teachers talk and talk, but say very little, yet what they say sounds comforting and peaceful. Many preachers simply ignore the doctrine of wrath because it isn't political correct and doesn't market well. When we become more concerned with being "seeker sensitive" than we are with preaching the pure gospel message, we have lost both power and truth. You cannot preach salvation without preaching judgment - otherwise, from what exactly do we need saving?
We need to preach the truth like Ezekiel did. And we need to live out that truth, like Ezekiel did. We need to preach the gospel in both word and deed.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Ezekiel 14