Ezekiel 20 -- 21
The king and the political religious leaders of Judah had expressed growing hatred for Jeremiah because of his messages of judgment against them. The revelations and visions given by God to Ezekiel in Babylon were also ignored. It was now too late to pray for God to spare Jerusalem from destruction. However, Ezekiel records: Certain of the elders of Israel came to enquire of the Lord, and sat before me (Ezekiel 20:1).
Then God gave Ezekiel the following message for the elders: I will not be enquired of by you. . . . I chose Israel . . . in the land of Egypt. . . . But they rebelled against Me, and would not listen to Me: they did not . . . cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt. . . . They despised My judgments, and walked not in My statutes, but polluted My sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols (20:3,5,8,16). Following this, Ezekiel received a horrifying message against the land of Israel from the Lord who said: Behold, I am against you, and will draw My sword. . . . This sword is sharpened . . . to give it into the hand of the slayer (21:2-3,11).
Far in advance of Nebuchadnezzar's march on Jerusalem, the prophet Ezekiel foretold how Nebuchadnezzar, the slayer, would come to the fork in the road at the parting of the way . . . to use divination. He made his arrows bright, he consulted with images (household gods), he looked in the liver (of an animal) (21:21). He cast lots to decide whether to first attack the capital of the Ammonites or that of the Israelites. One arrow was marked Jerusalem and the other Rabbah (modern Amman, Jordan). These arrows were placed in a vessel which was shaken until one fell out indicating the direction that Nebuchadnezzar should take. Little could he realize that when the arrow marked Jerusalem fell out, it was by the hand of Almighty God and not by the power of his own false gods.
Ezekiel's prophecy of the sharpened sword revealed impending doom as Nebuchadnezzar turned to destroy Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar, no doubt, congratulated himself on his splendid triumph in Judah when, in fact, he was only a servant of the King of kings, unknowingly used to fulfill the judgment of God upon His rebellious people. The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing is of the Lord (Proverbs 16:33).
King Zedekiah, the wicked prince of Israel (Ezekiel 21:25), and the people would soon be captured. Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed to fulfill Ezekiel's prophecy: I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more, until He comes whose right it is (to reign in judgment and in righteousness); and I will give it to Him (21:27).
Although some Israelites did return to Jerusalem after the captivity, no other king has been anointed to sit on the throne of David in Israel for the past 2500 years. In the time of Jesus, an Edomite named Herod was merely a puppet king appointed by Rome to govern over the Jews of Judea. Israel will continue to exist without a king until the return of Jesus Christ as King of kings, and Lord of lords (I Timothy 6:15).
Just as Pilate had no power over Jesus except what was given to him from above (John 19:11), so too Satan, with all his angels, can do nothing without the express permission of the great God of Creation. As the psalmist reminded us, God is the Judge: He puts down one, and sets up another (Psalms 75:7).
The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turns it whithersoever He will (Proverbs 21:1).
As the One who will gather His people from all nations and will purge out the false from the true (Ezekiel 20:34-38; also Matt. 3:12; 25:32).
20:5 lifted up mine hand means promised, vowed; 20:6 espied means searched out, selected; 20:9 wrought means acted; 20:40 oblations means sacrificial gifts; 21:2 drop thy word toward means preach against; 21:9 furbished means polished; 21:13 a trial . . . the sword contemn even the rod means there is a testing in store by the sword since you despised the rod (refused to be corrected); 21:31 brutish means cruel.
Government Officials: Rep. Danny Davis (IL) and Rep. Sander Levin (MI) · Pray for Bible Pathway Prayer Partners · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast sponsored by Carl and Donna Evans · Country: Cambodia (7 million) in Southeast Asia · Major languages: Khmer and French · Confused and unsettled at this time · 88% Buddhist; 3% animism and spirit worship; 2% Muslim; .6% Roman Catholic/Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Give thanks to the Lord and praise Him openly, for He has redeemed you through His blood and forgiven all your sins (Colossians 1:12-14).
Memory Verse for the Week: