Prophecy Against Tyre
15 “Thus says the Lord God to Tyre: Will not the coastlands shake at the sound of your fall, when the wounded groan, when slaughter is made in your midst? 16 Then all the princes of the sea will step down from their thrones and remove their robes and strip off their embroidered garments. They will clothe themselves with trembling; they will sit on the ground and tremble every moment and be appalled at you. 17 And they will raise a lamentation over you and say to you,
you who were inhabited from the seas,
O city renowned,
who was mighty on the sea;
she and her inhabitants imposed their terror
on all her inhabitants!
18 Now the coastlands tremble
on the day of your fall,
and the coastlands that are on the sea
are dismayed at your passing.’
A Lament for Tyre
‘I am perfect in beauty.’
4 Your borders are in the heart of the seas;
your builders made perfect your beauty.
5 They made all your planks
of fir trees from Senir;
they took a cedar from Lebanon
to make a mast for you.
6 Of oaks of Bashan
they made your oars;
they made your deck of pines
from the coasts of Cyprus,
inlaid with ivory.
7 Of fine embroidered linen from Egypt
was your sail,
serving as your banner;
blue and purple from the coasts of Elishah
was your awning.
8 The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad
were your rowers;
your skilled men, O Tyre, were in you;
they were your pilots.
9 The elders of Gebal and her skilled men were in you,
caulking your seams;
all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in you
to barter for your wares.
into the high seas.
The east wind has wrecked you
in the heart of the seas.
27 Your riches, your wares, your merchandise,
your mariners and your pilots,
your caulkers, your dealers in merchandise,
and all your men of war who are in you,
with all your crew
that is in your midst,
sink into the heart of the seas
on the day of your fall.
28 At the sound of the cry of your pilots
the countryside shakes,
29 and down from their ships
come all who handle the oar.
The mariners and all the pilots of the sea
stand on the land
30 and shout aloud over you
and cry out bitterly.
They cast dust on their heads
and wallow in ashes;
31 they make themselves bald for you
and put sackcloth on their waist,
and they weep over you in bitterness of soul,
with bitter mourning.
32 In their wailing they raise a lamentation for you
and lament over you:
‘Who is like Tyre,
like one destroyed in the midst of the sea?
33 When your wares came from the seas,
you satisfied many peoples;
with your abundant wealth and merchandise
you enriched the kings of the earth.
34 Now you are wrecked by the seas,
in the depths of the waters;
your merchandise and all your crew in your midst
have sunk with you.
35 All the inhabitants of the coastlands
are appalled at you,
and the hair of their kings bristles with horror;
their faces are convulsed.
36 The merchants among the peoples hiss at you;
you have come to a dreadful end
and shall be no more forever.’”
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon
The main point of this long passage is the fact that God controls the destinies of all nations.
Rayburn: Such a sermon preached to Ezekiel’s contemporaries in the immediate aftermath of Jerusalem’s catastrophic destruction was meant to comfort and console them. The Lord was at work in the world judging his people and judging their enemies. No one can escape his judgment and no one shall. But that means that he is able to restore his people whenever he is ready to do so. No nation, no political situation, no alliance of human power can stand in his way. The nations are a drop in the bucket before him. Even the most powerful of nations is but an instrument in his hand to accomplish his will.
Tyre was a very wealthy city. And that wealth led to her downfall, drawing the attention of the Babylonian empire. Wealth almost always corrupts - we see this all the time. And prosperity is blinding - it makes it that much more unimaginable that judgment or destruction could come. We shudder when we hear of catastrophes such as tsunamis and hurricanes, but they don't impact our everyday lives and we are unaffected in any lasting way. Even 9/11 did not result in lasting spiritual change (for the majority). We certainly don't relate any of those events to God's judgment - and if we did, there would be intense opposition or even hatred towards anyone even considering such a preposterous idea.
we think as we do because we are so prosperous. Our hearts have become knitted to this world. We think very differently about life than do people in other parts of our world who have little and who live in constant danger that what they have may well be taken from them. There is a reason why Jesus said that it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. And there is a reason why Zacchaeus, as soon as he became a follower of Christ, gave away half of his wealth....
prosperity knits the soul to this world and make it uninterested in questions about the world to come.
Make no mistake, wealth and prosperity is no protection against the judgment of God.
It was important for Ezekiel’s contemporaries to hear that and to reflect on that. There had been far too much caring about money and the things money buys in the generations leading up to the exile and it was time now to purge the people of that foolish desire for things that do not last and to set them once again seeking after treasure in heaven.
And we cannot hear that message too often ourselves. Don’t lay up for yourselves treasures here, my friends. Even if you succeed, you will regret it. Lay your treasures up in heaven where they will delight you forever. Heavenly treasures make for happier, wealthier people here, already, and then are never lost. So says Ezekiel, so says Jesus Christ, and so says every Christian who has ever lived in this world and left it for heaven.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Ezekiel 28
Sunday's passage: Exodus 1-2
Monday's passage: Exodus 3-4, Psalm 20, Matthew 20