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word of the
came to me
I received the following communication from Yahweh:
|The third of
five divine communiqués to Ezekiel in chapter 12. Remember Ezekiel is
prophesying in this section circa 591bc or about 5 years before the final
fall of Jerusalem in 586bc.
In this communication Jehovah instructs Ezekiel to carry out another sign.
Whereas the sign in the previous verses depicted the certainty of
Judah going into captivity, this sign speaks of the famine and
distress which would occur with the protracted siege of Jerusalem.
“Human one, you are to quake as you eat your bread, and shudder as you
drink your water.
your bread with trembling..."
(shaking, quaking) (Ezek 4:16,17; 23:33; Lv26:26,36; Dt28:48,65; Job 3:24;
Ps60:2,3; 80:5; 102:4-9)
In Ezekiel 4 (in Ezekiel's first drama with food) God declared that would He would
"break the staff of bread
in Jerusalem, and they will eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and
drink water by measure and in horror." (Ezek 4:16, read Ezek
Normally when most of us partake of food and drink,
it is a congenial, relaxed, reinvigorating time and the mood at the table
often reflects current conditions. Here the anxiety betrays the threat they
are living under as Babylon besieged Jerusalem. The word for "trembling"
(ra'ash) was used elsewhere in the OT to refer to an earthquake. The use
here is of course figurative but still quite paints a dramatic word picture of the fear.
The focus here appears to be not so much on a picture of starvation but of
the fear and anxiety as the inhabitants of Jerusalem sense the end drawing
Matthew Henry draws an excellent application that
When ministers speak
of the ruin coming upon impenitent sinners they must endeavor to speak
feelingly, as those that know the terrors of the Lord; and they must be
content to endure hardness, so that they may but do good.
Although it is not stated, the context
suggests that this was yet another prophetic drama portrayed before his
fellow exiles. As explained below Ezekiel's actions portend the horrible
state of those in Jerusalem encircled by the powerful Babylonian army.
Ezekiel is commanded to represent them by acting out that foreboding in an
exaggerated physical counterpart, a pitiable trembling that presumably
showed itself in spilling his drink and missing his mouth with his food.
Just imagine the reaction of the horrified exiles watching yet another of
Ezekiel's bizarre behaviors. If you read some of the liberal commentaries,
you too will be "horrified" by their bizarre interpretations for some
"scholars" have gone so far as to diagnose Ezekiel’s condition as a
physiological consequence of the strain he felt from his ecstatic prophetic
experiences! That is absurd and not at all what the text clearly states.
This type of fallacious interpretation by men who should rightfully and
theoretically know better is another reason why you need to be diligent
to hone your skills of Inductive Bible study, allowing the inspired text
and your infallible Teacher, the Holy Spirit, to guide you into all truth
rather than into vain speculation out of which can flow nothing but corrupt
"One can visualize the scene: the prophet’s hand would be shaking so that
water spilled before reaching his lips and the bread was fumbled at the
mouth. By his actions, he was demonstrating to his audience the fearful
condition of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who would dine in trembling in
the twilight of their city’s doom." (Craigie, P. C.
Ezekiel. The Daily study Bible series. Louisville: Westminster John Knox
say to the
people of the
GOD concerning the
Jerusalem in the
Israel, "They will
land will be
stripped of its
account of the
live in it.
Brenton: And thou
shalt say to the people of the land, Thus saith the Lord to the inhabitants
of Jerusalem, on the land of Israel; They shall eat their bread in scarcity,
and shall drink their water in desolation, that the land may be desolate
with all that it contains: for all that dwell in it are ungodly. (English of
Daily Study Bible:
and say of 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 fearfulness, and drink water in dismay, because their land will
be stripped of all it contains, on account of the violence of all those who
dwell in it.
Tell the people of the land this message from the Lord Yahweh
concerning the residents of Jerusalem still on Israelite soil: They will
eat their bread anxiously and drink their water with trepidation,
anticipating its territory being desolated and
stripped of what
now fills it, as a result of the violence perpetrated by all who reside
land" in the first use
refers to the land of Babylon, and the audience is Ezekiel's fellow
Following a pattern we saw in the first part of chapter 12 (and elsewhere in
Ezekiel), the drama of verse 18 is followed by specific explanation from
Jehovah through Ezekiel to the exiles. God explains their reaction (anxiety...horror)
(1 Ki17:10, 11, 12)
to the consequence (land...stripped)
(and plundered) (Ezek 6:6,7,14; 36:3; Is6:11; Je4:27; 9:10,11; 10:22; 18:16;
32:28; Je33:10,12; Mic7:13; Zec7:14) (Ps24:1; 1 Co10:26,28) and then explains the reason
for the consequence (violence
of all) Giving a similar portrayal of the fruit of sin, the psalmist says
that God turns
fruitful land into a salt waste, because of the wickedness of those who
dwell in it." (Ps107:34)
Through His prophet Moses God warned
Israel that as a consequence of disobedience
"your life shall hang in
doubt before you; and you will be in dread night and day, and shall have no
assurance of your life." (Dt 28:66)
As Henry notes
Anxiety and fear, if they prevail, are enough to embitter
all our comforts and are themselves very sore judgments.
In a similar description of Jerusalem and Judah in chapter 7, Ezekiel had
painted "the land
(as) full of bloody crimes, and the city (as) full of
(Ezek7:23) (7:23; Ge6:11-13; Ps107:34; Je6:7; Mic3:10-12) and went on to explain that
because of this
God had stated
I shall bring the worst of the nations, and they will
possess their houses. I shall also make the pride of the strong ones cease,
and their holy places will be profaned." (Ezek7:24)
The drama in this section is
reminiscent of the one in Ezek 4:10–16, predicting the intense starvation related to the
dire shortage of food and water during the coming 18 month siege of
cities will be
waste and the
land will be a
desolation. So you
know that I am the
The other cities, now inhabited, will also be laid waste, and the country
will become desolate. Then you will realize that I am Yahweh.”
inhabited cities...the land"
(Ezek 15:6,8; Isaiah 3:26; 7:23,24; 24:3,12; 64:10,11; Jeremiah 4:7,23-29;
Jeremiah 12:10-12; 16:9; 19:11; 24:8-10; 25:9; 34:22; Lam 5:18; Daniel 9:17)
leaves no corner that will be spared from the LORD's hand of just
The purpose of the waste and desolation is given -- to know that God is the
LORD, clearly a major emphasis of Ezekiel as this same phrase is found 63
times in the book. If they would not know Him in obedience, they would know
Him in the just consequences wrought by their disobedience.
Allen commenting on the "waste
and...desolation" adds that
The eventual fulfillment of such catastrophe for Jerusalem and
Judah would force upon the attention of the Judean hostages God’s role as
Judge of His people. If the sign and its interpretation failed to do so, the
coming of the terrible event (ed note: the siege in 3.5 years and the
fall of Jerusalem in 5 years) to which they pointed would leave no doubt." (Allen, L. C. Vol. 28: Word Biblical Commentary : Ezekiel
1-19. Dallas: Word, Incorporated)
Think about the application of this
aspect of God's judgment - that the exiles might know Him as Jehovah. Now
this is speculation but for a moment imagine yourself as one of the
"scoffers" in Ezekiel's audience having heard these prophecies 5 years
earlier but now being confronted with the heretofore unthinkable defeat of
the "eternal city" and sacking of the Holy Temple. What impact might this
detailed fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy have had on the exiles? Might not
some have been awakened from their spiritual slumber and eternal death? We
can't say for certain, but I can personally testify that the Spirit of God
used fulfilled prophecy in my "spiritual journey" to bring me to the point
of knowing and accepting that "I Am" is the LORD Jesus Christ.
Matthew Henry adds that
these judgments, they learn to know Him aright, that will make up the loss
of all they are deprived of by these desolations. Those are happy
afflictions, howsoever grievous to flesh and blood, that help to introduce
us into (initial salvation) and improve us (continuing salvation
= sanctification) in an acquaintance with God."
word of the
came to me,
I received the following communication from Yahweh:
marks a subsequent succeeding event introduced by the fourth of five direct
declarations by God in this chapter.
As Matthew Henry comments
Various methods had been used to awaken this
secure and careless people to an expectation of the judgments coming, that
they might be stirred up, by repentance and reformation, to prevent them.
The prophecies of their ruin were confirmed by visions, and
illustrated by signs, and all with such evidence and power that one
would think they must needs be wrought upon; but here we are told how they
evaded the conviction, and guarded against it, namely, by telling
themselves, and one another, that though these judgments threatened should
come at last yet they would not come of a long time. How they flattered
themselves with hopes that the judgments should be delayed."
In this last section God gives Ezekiel
the words to respond to the two popular attitudes of contempt toward his (as
well as his contemporary Jeremiah's) prophecies of judgment, first citing
the common saying that prophecy is no longer fulfilled at all (Ezek 12:21,
22, 23, 24, 25) and then the saying that these prophecies refer to the far
distant future (Ezek 12:26, 27, 28).
proverb you people
AMP Son of man, what is
this proverb that you have in the land of Israel, saying, The days drag on
and every vision comes to nothing and is not fulfilled?
They said, “The days are prolonged; the judgments have not come when they
were expected to come, but seem to be still put off and therefore we may
conclude that every vision fails
"Son of man, what's this proverb making the rounds in the land of Israel
that says, "Everything goes on the same as ever; all the prophetic warnings
are false alarms'?
"Son of man, what is that proverb they quote in Israel: 'Time passes, making
a liar of every prophet'?
"Mortal man," he said, "why do the people of Israel repeat this proverb:
'Time goes by, and predictions come to nothing'?
WBC: “Human one, what do
you all mean by this slogan you are using about the land of Israel,
‘After a long time elapses, every revelation is a
dead letter’? (a dead threat)
|The Hebrew word for "proverb..."
for 8/40 OT uses) describes a
pithy maxim or brief popular saying that is often memorable and also
suggests that it gives special insight and authority. The proverb that
prevailed among the Jews at this time could be curtly paraphrased as
Time passes and nothing happens! or "the
prophets speak and yet nothing happens" or the prophets had cried
"wolf, wolf" for a long time without anything happening.
Over 14 months of Ezekiel's doom and
gloom had passed and nothing that he had predicted had come to pass. Some
falsely concluded therefore that nothing bad would happen. They had eyes but
could not see, ears but could not hear and understand.
clearly reflected the
general feeling of the people that the prophetic doom and gloom of Ezekiel
(and his contemporary Jeremiah) was empty rhetoric and not a valid
representation of the future. Given that the year was about 591bc, the
delay in God's judgment had already been about 6 years (assuming
exile in 597bc or 14 years if exiled in 605bc) and thus they falsely
reasoned that the stroke of judgment would never come. They reasoned that it
was unnecessary to take seriously the declarations of the prophets. They
were always warning of terrible disasters, and nothing ever happened.
The "proverb" was directed to ridicule Ezekiel (and God) because the
warnings had not been immediately fulfilled.
God issues warnings, not as predictions of the future, but as opportunities
for men to know the will of God and to change their lives accordingly.
Richards comments that
is a saying that sums up common wisdom, or a people’s point of view. The
belief the proverb
expresses is, simply, that the message of judgment delivered by Ezekiel and
earlier prophets like Isaiah simply was not true. The argument underlying it
is basically, “It hasn’t happened yet—so it can’t happen!” That notion is
foolish, whether it’s held by a Californian living in an earthquake zone, or
a non-Christian hearing about Christ’s Second Coming! God’s patience in
delaying judgment is evidence of grace, not evidence no judgment lies ahead!"
(cf 2Pe3:15) (Richards, L. 1991. The Bible reader's
companion. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books)
cease is the Hebrew verb shabath which in other contexts means to observe the sabbath
and cease from activity. s related to the word "Sabbath" and the idea is to
rest or cease.
days are long" (Ezek
12:27; 11:3; Is 5:19; Je 5:12,13; Am 6:3; 2Pe3:3,4)
How blind Judah was to the acts of God
in their own history. Time had passed and something had already happened to
the exiles. They were in exile! Of all people, the exiles should have known
the folly of protesting that prophecy would not come true, or would happen
only in the distant future. The end was already upon them, if they only had
the eyes to perceive it. They were like those Peter writes about who are
"Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell
asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." For
when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the
heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water,
through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water."
(2Pe3:4, 5, 6)
Isaiah was confronted with this
skeptical, scoffing attitude, his distracters crying out
"Let's see God
hurry. Let's see him do his work soon. We want to see it. Let's see the plan
of the Holy One of Israel happen soon. Then we would know what it really is."
5:19, Int'l Children's Bible).
In the same way Ezekiel's
contemporary, Jeremiah, records
"People (of Judah) scoff at me and
say, "What is this 'message from the LORD' you keep talking about? Why don't
your predictions come true?" (Jer17:15,
Fallen human nature has not changed
over 2500 years later, for many "enlightened" men and women attempt to
explain away prophetic judgments yet to come.
Evangelical Commentary explains this
proverb as an indicator of
"the people’s problem is their spiritual
insensitivity. They are addicted to a snatch-and-grab mentality, an itch for
the instantaneous. Since nothing has apparently happened, they deny the
validity of the Word of the Lord."
Ezekiel's contemporary, Jeremiah of
Jerusalem, gives a similar portrayal of the Jews cynical attitude towards
imminent judgment as expressed "proverbially". Jeremiah records God's words
"the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt
very treacherously with Me...They have lied about Jehovah and said (here
is the "proverbial" statement), “Not He (Who speaks
through His prophets or alternatively there is no God). Misfortune
will not come on us and we will not see sword or famine. And the prophets
are as wind, and the word is not in them. Thus it will be done to them!”
Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, "because you have spoken
this word, behold, I am making My words in your mouth fire and this people
wood, and it will consume them." (Jer 5:11-14)
Albert Barnes writes that
There was prevalent a disregard for the true
prophets, which is ever followed by a recognition of the false. First, the
true prophet is rejected because it is thought that his prophecies fail.
Then men persuade themselves that if the prophecy be true it respects some
distant time, and that the men of the present generation need not disturb
themselves about it...Against both these delusions Ezekiel is commissioned
to protest, and so to lead the way to his condemnation of his countrymen for
their blind reliance on false prophets.
As Matthew Henry comments that the
forbearance of God which should have
led them to repentance hardened them in sin. They were willing to think
their works were not evil because sentence against them was not executed
speedily; and therefore concluded the vision itself failed, because the days
were prolonged." He goes on to add that "It is a token of universal
degeneracy in a nation when corrupt and wicked sayings have grown proverbial"
say to them,
GOD, "I will make
cease so that they
use it as a
tell them, "The
near as well as the
tell them this as a message from the Lord Yahweh: I will put a stop to
this slogan, and it will be used in Israel no longer. Say to them
rather: The time is near, and so is the content of every revelation.
Give the people this message from the Sovereign LORD: I will put an end to
this proverb, and you will soon stop quoting it. Now give them this new
proverb to replace the old one: 'The time has come for every prophecy to be
or because of the fact that "you
have this false assumption that the delayed judgment equated with no
judgment. God instructs Ezekiel to declare that judgment day is coming and
will be fulfilled to the minutest detail. It could be paraphrased:
up and everything is going to happen!
will make this proverb cease
How? When the doubters and scoffer finally experience God's day of vengeance
and that not one iota or tittle of the prediction falls to the ground, then
they will be ashamed and clearly foolish to continue using it as a proverb.
God counters the saying that
the days are long
with the exact opposite: "The
days draws near"
(Ezek 12:25; 7:2,5-7,10-12; Joel 2:1; Zeph 1:14; Mal 4:1; Mt24:34; Ja5:8,9)
fulfillment of every vision"
reminds one of God's declaration
So shall My word be which goes forth
from My mouth. It shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I
desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." (Is
Most of the Hebrew words translated “vision”
come from the root hazah and each indicates a revelation from
God or a special, mystical means through which God communicated His message
to the Old Testament prophets.
12:24 For there will
For no longer will any revelation be spoken in vain nor any divination
be devoid of reality in the community of Israel.
|When the judgment comes
it will put an end to the false prophesies of the lying prophets and fake
soothsayers who decry God's judgment and promulgate hope. The coming
judgment would put an end to their predictions of continued well-being and
expose their empty delusion.
(Hebrew = shav') (Ezek 13:23; 1Ki22:11, 12, 13,17; Pr 26:28;
Je14:13-16; 23:14-29; La 2:14; Zec13:2, 3, 4; Ro16:18; 1 Th2:5; 2Pe2:2,3) means emptiness, vanity, nothingness, deceit,
deception, malice, falsehood, anything unsubstantial, unreal, worthless. It
is a word that is occasionally used for idols. Shav' describes anything
which disappoints the hope which rests upon it! All of these synonyms and
short definitions readily describe the character of the visions of the false
Divination is the attempt to communicate with the supernatural by observing
natural phenomena (e.g., stars, entrails of sacrificial animals, clouds,
births), manipulating certain objects (arrows, oil and water, lots, etc.),
or consulting mediums. The pagans made use of divination, magic, and mediums to learn the mind of
the deity (Deut 18:9-12). In true prophecy mechanical arts were discarded, for
Jehovah spoke to the mind of the prophet.
or smooth divination promised immunity from trouble (cf. Jer 23:16, 17;
The IVP Bible background commentary adds that
The task of the
diviner was to determine the will of a god or gods through various
ritualized actions—the examination of sheep entrails, consultation with the
dead (1Sa 28:8) or the study of the astrological configurations.
All of these practices were forbidden by Israelite law (see the comment on
Deut 18:10, 11, 13) because of their association with false gods and false
religions. Naturally, a diviner would wish to please his paying clients and
thus might be inclined to flatter or seduce them with his manner and
statements (cf Pr26:24, 25, 26). Such desirable predictions were out of
place and to be considered similar to those condemned by Jeremiah (see Jer
27:9, 10)." (Matthews, V. h., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J.
H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary : Old Testament Downers
Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.)
(tavek) literally means right in the middle or midst of! The
point is that these false visions, etc were not just a few "crazies" on the
fringe, but were taking place right in the center of the "house
of Israel". How tragic
that God's chosen people
professing to be wise...became fools, and
exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God...they exchanged the truth
of God for a lie...and just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God
any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which
are not proper...and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those
who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but
also give hearty approval to those who practice them." (Ro1:22-32)
Matthew Henry writes that
truth was older than error, so it will survive it; it got the
start, and it will get the race. The true prophets' visions and predictions
stand, and are in full force, power, and virtue; they give law, and receive
credit, when the vain visions, and the flattering divinations, are lost and
forgotten, and shall be no more in the house of Israel; for great is the
truth, and will prevail.
12:25 "For I the
speak will be
performed. It will
delayed, for in your
house, I will
it is I, Yahweh, who is speaking: whatever word I speak is fulfilled.
There will be no further delay. In your lifetime, you rebellious
community, I mean to both speak the word and fulfill it. So runs the oracle
of the Lord Yahweh.”
(Ezek 12:28; 6:10; Numbers 14:28-34; Isaiah 14:24; 55:11; Lamentations 2:17;
Daniel 9:12; Zechariah 1:6; Matthew 24:35; Luke 21:13,33) His Name is Jehovah, the God Who keeps His covenant.
Whatever word I speak will
be performed is a
principle not only applicable to Jerusalem's certain judgment but to all of
God's promises, for good or for bad. Isaiah records a similar
LORD of hosts has sworn saying, "Surely, just as I have intended so it has
happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand"
Writing from exile in Babylon Daniel
Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against
our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole
heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem."
Writing after the destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah
The LORD has done what He purposed; He has accomplished His word Which He
commanded from days of old. He has thrown down without sparing, and He has
caused the enemy to rejoice over you; He has exalted the might of your
adversaries." (Lam 2:17)
Zechariah adds a hopeful note writing
But did not My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the
prophets, overtake your fathers? Then they repented and said, 'As the LORD
of hosts purposed to do to us in accordance with our ways and our deeds, so
He has dealt with us."
Matthew Henry writes
The word that He speaks shall come to pass; it shall infallibly be
accomplished according to the true intent and meaning of it, and according
to the full extent and compass of it...for His mind is never changed, nor
His arm shortened, nor is Infinite Wisdom ever nonplussed. With men saying
and doing are two things, but they are not so with God; with Him it is dictum, factum - said, and done. In the works of providence, as in those of
creation, he speaks and it is done; for he said, Let there be
light, and there was light
In similar tones Moses reminded Israel
God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should
repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He
not make it good?" (Nu23:19)
As Samuel reminded disobedient,
rebellious King Saul
the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man
that He should change His mind." (1Sa 15:29)
It will no longer be
delayed (Jeremiah 16:9;
Habakkuk 1:5; Mark 13:30,31) He had borne with
Judah a great while, but He would not always forbear and now
God's patience has expired and He will no longer defer the execution of the
sentence. “Not yet” doesn’t mean “never.”
Let's apply this truth:
Simply put: Don’t mistake judgment
deferred for judgment denied. Delay is not denial with God.
This present age is drawing to a close
and there is a promised judgment by the Almighty and so it should not
surprise us to read similar words in the Revelation from the angel who
by Him who lives forever and ever, WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT,
AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no
longer but in the days of the
voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of
God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets."
(Rev 10:6, 7)
With the phrase "in
your days" Ezekiel makes
it abundantly clear that God's judgment would transpire in their lifetime.
will speak the word and perform it"
Matthew Henry presents us with a
somber application writing
Behold, the Judge stands at the door. The righteous are taken away from the
evil to come, but this rebellious house shall not be so quietly taken away;
no, they shall live to be hurried away, to be chased out of the world. There
shall none of My words be prolonged any more, but judgment shall now hasten
on apace; and the longer the bow has been in the drawing the deeper shall
the arrow pierce.” When we tell sinners of death and judgment, heaven and
hell, and think by them to persuade them to a holy life, though we do not
find them downright infidels (they will own that they do believe there is a
state of rewards and punishments in the other world), yet they put by the
force of those great truths, and void the impressions of them, by looking
upon the things of the other world as very remote; they tell us, “The vision
you see is for many days to come, and you prophesy of the times that are
very far off; it will be time enough to think of them when they come
nearer,” whereas really there is but a step between us and death, between us
and an awful eternity; yet a little while and the vision shall speak and not
lie, and therefore it concerns us to redeem time, and get ready with all
speed for a future state; for, though it is future, it is very near, and
while impenitent sinners slumber their damnation slumbers not.”
12:26 Furthermore, the
word of the
came to me,
I received a further communication from Yahweh:
|For the fifth time in
chapter 12, Ezekiel has an up close and personal encounter with Jehovah.
vision that he
sees is for
years from now, and
Brenton Son of
man, behold, the provoking house of Israel boldly say, The vision
which this man sees is for many days, and he prophesy for times afar off.
(English of Septuagint)
“Human one, I draw your attention to what the community of Israel is
saying, ‘The revelation he is giving relates to a long time ahead. It is
about the distant future he is prophesying.’
vision...for many years from now...times far off" (Ezek
12:22; Is 28:14,15; Da10:14; 2Pe 3:4) Instead of implying that prophecies
are not true (as in the proverb in verse 22), the second response indicated
that the fulfillment of prophecies lay far in the future. There was
therefore little need to be worried about them in the present. Let future
generations worry! In the next verse God reverses their "saying",
emphasizing that it will happen now, in your own time.
Even those who did believe Ezekiel,
did not believe that his words would affect them. They thought
Maybe someday. But not now. Maybe someone. But not us."
God’s response through
Ezekiel was, “Not someone...you!” And, “Not someday...soon!”
Isaiah speaking at the time the
Assyrians were in power and threatening Judah after having defeated Israel,
proclaimed to the deceived deceivers in Jerusalem
(in light of the tragedies that had befallen Ephraim ~ 10 northern tribes
described in Isa28:1-13), hear the word of the LORD,
O scoffers, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, because you
have said, "We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have made
a pact (the scornful leaders in Jerusalem had made an agreement with
Egypt to help defend themselves against the Assyrians).
The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by (this phrase combines images of an overflowing river and a whip, as the
deceived leaders bragged about their invincibility to foreign invasion),
for we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with
deception." (Isa 28:14, 15)
Jerusalem’s leaders yielded to expediency for the sake of security.
Without directly admitting it, they had taken refuge in deceit and
Let's apply this truth:
The attitude of the people of Ezekiel’s day is still pervasive in the modern
day church. If only saints would truly believe that Jesus (and judgment) was
coming and allow this truth to break the bondage of materialism that
entangles so many saints so that they would be set free to live wholly and
holy for the Lord to the glory of the Father. Many who have been blind to
the truth have found that reading the Bible is a real eye-opener.
Jesus solemnly warned about a similar
mindset declaring that
if that evil slave says in his
heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ and shall begin to beat
his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; the master of that slave
will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does
not know, and shall cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the
hypocrites; weeping shall be there and the gnashing of teeth." (Mt24:48,
49, 50, 51)
paraphrases this verse as
The vision is for a great while to come; it
refers to events at a vast distance, and he prophesies of things which,
though they may be true, are yet very far off, so that we need not trouble
our heads about them; we may die in honor and peace before these troubles
comments that this proverbial" expression
emphasizes irrelevance and
postponement: “Ezekiel is not talking to us, but to someone down the road.
Therefore we do not need to take anything he says personally.” The last
thing the people must do is accept personal responsibility for their
circumstances. Therefore, they must evade in whatever way possible hearing
the Word of the Lord and responding to it."
A Storm is
Judah wasn't Listening!
Several years ago in Florida, I watched the ominously black sky as a
howling wind drove the rain in stinging sheets across angrily churning
bay waters. A hurricane was approaching! All day long, radio and TV
stations gave urgent instructions on how to guard against the
destructive winds and surging tides of the impending storm. As
residents were frantically preparing for the storm, I asked myself,
"Why do people take the warnings issued by the weather bureau so
seriously, yet stubbornly refuse to hear God's warnings?" In His Word,
God has told us that a much greater disaster will come upon the entire
world. The Bible says,
"The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in
which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will
melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it
will be burned up" (2Peter 3:10-note).
Yes, that dreadful day is
coming. But there is a sure way of escaping God's judgment. It's found
in Christ. Those who have placed their faith in Him enjoy His peace
here on earth and are assured of spending eternity with Him in heaven.
Are you prepared? If not, accept the Lord Jesus as your Savior today
(Ro10:9-13). — (Our
Daily Bread - Richard De Haan)
To learn how you can be
prepared for the day you will stand before the Lord,
Do I Have The Right Kind Of Faith?
God's deliverance is to invite destruction.
God explains to Ezekiel that the exiles still don't understand and have
deluded themselves into thinking that the judgment of Jerusalem won't impact
them since it is so far in the future. This attitude is always present, for
even today no one wants to consider the idea that God might soon judge them
or their nation. This delusion is similar to that we
see in the end of the age where scoffers question "Where is the promise
of His coming?" (2Pet3:4) You can mark it down: Jesus' second coming is as certain
as His first!
say to them,
* of My
words will be
speak will be
tell them this as a message from the Lord Yahweh: There will be no further
delay over any words of mine. Whatever word I speak is fulfilled. So
runs the oracle of the Lord Yahweh.”
of My words will be delayed any longer"
(shall not be deferred) (Ezek 12:23, 24, 25; Jer 4:7; 44:28; Mk 13:32, 33,
34, 35, 36, 37; Lk 21:34, 35, 36; Rev 3:3) Jesus' parable of the evil
servant gives a similar clear warning to all unbelievers regarding the
certainty of God's judgment, Jesus declaring that
that evil slave says in his heart, 'My master is not coming for a long
time,' and shall begin to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with
drunkards; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not
expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and shall cut him in
pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; weeping shall be there
and the gnashing of teeth." (Mt 24:48, 49, 50, 51)
Similarly, Paul reminded the
Thessalonians of the certitude of the wrath of God, writing
For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord
will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, "Peace and
safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon
a woman with child; and they shall not escape." (1Th 5:2-3)
Do you recognize this implement?
The diagram depicts a stone grinding mill, and brings to mind the crushing
power of the slowly grinding stone which eventually pulverizes whatever is
placed under its crushing weight. Someone has written a poem that conveys
the essence of the truth recorded by Ezekiel and pictured by this heavy
mills of God grind slowly,
yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting,
with exactness grinds He all."
To counter the false
conclusions of the exiles God instructs Ezekiel to declare to them that the
judgment will be "delayed
The LORD's statement reminds us of
the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which
God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly
take place". (Rev 1:1-note)
God does not necessarily recompense at the end of every week;
but He does pay with perfect timing and in full.