Ezekiel 5 -- 9
Fourteen years after Nebuchadnezzar conquered the Kingdom of Judah, life in Jerusalem seemed to have returned to normal. Consequently, the people would not believe Ezekiel when he said: Your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain men before your idols. And I will lay the dead carcases of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars. In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate (Ezekiel 6:4-6). Even the Israelites who were captive in Babylon were sure God would never allow the destruction of His city and the only Temple on earth where His presence dwelt.
But Ezekiel continued to warn: The sword is without, and the pestilence and the famine within: he that is in the field shall die with the sword; and he that is in the city (Jerusalem), shall be devoured by famine and pestilence (7:15). What a horrifying prophecy!
Fourteen months after his first vision (1:1), Ezekiel reported: As I sat in my house, and the elders of Judah sat before me . . . the hand of the Lord God fell upon me. . . . and the Spirit lifted me up . . . and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate . . . at the gate of the altar . . . was this image (idol) of jealousy (8:1-5). This second vision given to Ezekiel was in the sixth year of the captivity of King Jehoiachin about five years before the destruction of Jerusalem.
The prophet was led to see even the great abominations that . . . Israel commits. . . . wicked abominations. . . . every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the House of Israel, portrayed upon the wall. . . . and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz (the Babylonian god of fertility). . . . men, with their backs toward the Temple . . . and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun. As a result of their disobedience to the Word of God, they had filled the land with violence (8:6,9-14,16-17).
This second vision showed the reason for the coming judgment upon Judah and Jerusalem. Just as Ezekiel had prophesied, these Israelites refused to repent until it was too late, when they shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed (discarded like rubbish): their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord (7:19). How typical of our generation with its emphasis on materialism, success, and sex.
Wealth itself is not sinful, but wealth was never meant merely to be accumulated or to be lavished on ourselves. God entrusts wealth to many people as stewards for the ministry of His Word, as well as to provide for the needs of others.
Religious America seldom views wealth as a dangerous idol. Instead, wealth is praised by many as a virtue, something to be admired and desired. But the Holy Spirit warns: Those who will be rich fall into temptation . . . and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition (I Timothy 6:9).
The man clothed in linen (Ezekiel 9:2-11) represents Christ as High Priest, marking His people to be spared from the flaming sword of vengeance. There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus (I Tim. 2:5).
5:13 comforted means satisfied; 5:16 staff means supply; 6:4 images means incense altars; 7:26 ancients means older elders; 8:12 imagery means perverse idol imagination; 9:8 all the residue means all that is left.
Government Officials: Rep. Earl Pomeroy (ND) and Rep. John Spratt (SC) · BPM Staff: Letha Hash · Pray for Stephen Wike, Media Management · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in honor of Vincent Turpin · Country: Brunei (400,000) on the northern coast of Borneo · Major languages: Malay and English · Limited religious freedom · 66% Muslim; 19% Chinese religions; 6% animist; 4% Protestant; 4% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice that the Lord protects you and provides your needs (Philippians 4:4).
Memory Verse for the Week:
II Thessalonians 2:12