Sep. 29. Ezekiel Laments; Proclaims Against Various Empires

Ezek. 33:21-33; 19:1-14; 22:23-31; 25:1-26:21

The next day after Jerusalem had fallen, one who had escaped went to the prophet with the grim news that the city had been captured. Earlier in his prophetic career, God had closed Ezekiel’s mouth and had made him mute. He had received his speech the evening before and was then able to talk. Those remaining reasoned that since the land had been given to Abraham, it was theirs to keep. The Lord instructed the prophet to inform the remnant that they were no more righteous than those who had fallen and that they would also fall. They would pretend to hear his words, but would refuse to obey them. However, when they saw them come true, they would know that a man of God had been with them.

In highly symbolic language, Judah was described as a lioness and Jehoahaz was one of her cubs. He had been a strong and ruthless lion, but after a short time, his fierce nature caused him to be trapped in a pit and carried in chains to Egypt. The other young lion cub to be named was Jehoiachin. After a period of time, he began to express his manly roar. He was soon captured and taken in a cage to Babylon. Judah was also pictured as a vine that had once grown and produced abundant fruit near the waters. It had been dug up and transplanted in a desert only to have her fruit parched by the hot dry east wind.

Judah’s kings may have been less wicked if their religious leaders had not been so vile. Ezekiel described the prophets as lions tearing the prey. The priests had violated God’s law by allowing holy, unholy, clean and unclean things to be mingled causing all to be unholy and unclean. Their prophets had prophesied falsely. It seemed that everyone with any authority used it to oppress the poor for dishonest gain. The prophet listed those sins as reasons for the Lord’s wrath in destroying Judah. There was no one to intercede between them and God.

There have been times during the world’s existence that God’s patience has reached its limit. At one time, He had destroyed man and all animal life except for Noah and his family and two of every kind of animal with a giant flood. Periodically, He had used various nations to punish His chosen people, the Israelites. However, those punishing nations had also been evil and had received their punishment as well. During the times of Ezekiel and the other prophets, God sent warnings of impending doom upon the disobedient nations. Several of those people were warned in these proclamations.

Even though God had allowed Babylon to destroy Jerusalem, He was not pleased with those surrounding nations who were rejoicing over their calamity. Some had aided in Judah’s downfall. Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia and Tyre were specifically named as nations that would receive His wrath. The people of Ammon, Moab and Edom were relatives of Israel, having descended from Abraham’s nephew, Lot and Jacob’s brother, Esau.

Tyre was a seaport center in Phoenicia which had ambitions of increasing their commercial opportunities after Judah had fallen. God was displeased with their greedy pleasure of seeing His people destroyed. He sent word to them that He would send Nebuchadnezzar against them and that they would be destroyed and never be rebuilt.