Scripture reading – Ezekiel 12; Ezekiel 13
Our Scripture reading continues today with Ezekiel 12 and 13, and I trust you are enjoying the daily study of this prophetic book as much as I.
Ezekiel’s heart had been moved by the visions of God’s judgments. After witnessing the latter vision that warned the judgment of God was imminent (11:21), the Spirit of the LORD placed Ezekiel in the midst of “of the captivity” (those living in Babylon, 11:24). Then, he began to tell the people all God had shown him in visions regarding the fate of Jerusalem (11:25).
To portray the imminent destruction and captivity of Jerusalem, Ezekiel was commanded to portray a symbolic, compelling act. Addressing Ezekiel as “Son of man” (12:2), the LORD described the spiritual condition of the children of Israel as “a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house” (12:2, 9). Though they were His people, their sins had left them spiritually blind and deaf to the voice of God.
An Illustration of God’s Judgment (12:3-16)
To warn the people of the inevitability of the Babylonian captivity, the LORD commanded Ezekiel to pack his personal belongings as though going on a trip (12:3). He was to move his personal property in the day time, that the people might observe his unusual activities (12:4). At evening, he was to depart from his home, portraying how some in Jerusalem would “go forth into captivity” (12:4). As the people watched, Ezekiel then broke through the wall (12:5), and covered his face as one that was blind (12:6). All of this served as a “sign unto the house of Israel” (12:6).
Ezekiel did as he was commanded, and on the next day, when the people asked, “What doest thou?” he was instructed to answer: “Thus saith the Lord God; This burden concerneth the prince [the king] in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel that are among them [the Jewish people still living in Jerusalem]. 11Say, I am your sign: like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them: they shall remove and go into captivity” (12:11).
In Ezekiel’s actions, the people witnessed symbolically all that would befall Jerusalem (12:11). The prince, who was king Zedekiah, would flee the city in the night, but be captured, his eyes put out, and taken in chains to Babylon (12:11-13; 2 Kings 25:4-7). Why was all this foretold? It was that the people of the captivity might be aroused to know the LORD (12:15-16).
Terror of God’s Judgment (12:17-20)
The LORD came again to Ezekiel, and asked him to dramatize in his eating and drinking, the fear and trembling the children of Israel would face in the days ahead (12:17-18). He was also commanded to interpret the message, explaining how the people would ration their food (“eat their bread with carefulness,” 12:19a) and water. All this would befall Jerusalem because of the wickedness and violence of the people (12:19).
Closing thoughts (12:21-28) – Though the LORD sent prophets who foretold God’s imminent judgment, yet, there were many who scorned, saying, “the days are prolonged, and every vision faileth” (12:22). Ezekiel was dismissed by the people, yet, all would soon be fulfilled (12:23-24). Six years passed before Babylon’s army ravaged Jerusalem; however, every word of Ezekiel’s prophecies was fulfilled (12:26-28).
Ezekiel 13 – False Prophets Condemned
False prophets became Ezekiel’s focus in chapter 13, when the LORD commanded him to, “prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy” (Ezekiel 13:2). Judah and Jerusalem were cursed with prophets who deceived the people, and were guilty of preaching their thoughts and opinions as though they were from the LORD (13:2-3). Those false prophets were like “foxes in the deserts” (scavengers, 13:4), who failed the people, preaching lies (13:5-6). They claimed to speak the words of the LORD, but they lied (13:7).
The LORD warned the false prophets, “I am against you, saith the Lord God” (13:8). Because of their wickedness, they would not have an inheritance in the land God promised His people (13:8-9). The LORD sent prophets warning Jerusalem the city was doomed because of its sins, but the false prophets lied, saying, “Peace; and there was no peace” (13:10a). Like a builder who cleverly conceals structural faults with plaster and whitewash, the false prophets were guilty of whitewashing the sins of the people and not speaking truth (13:10-11). When trouble came, the people were consumed by the tumult. Realizing too late they had believed a lie, they became weak and an easy prey (13:12). The approach of God’s wrath was portrayed like a great storm that would cause the walls of Jerusalem to crumble, and the people and false prophets would be destroyed (13:13-14).
Closing thoughts (13:13-23) – The approach of God’s wrath was portrayed like a great storm that would come upon Jerusalem, and the people and false prophets would be destroyed (13:13-14). Ezekiel was also told to prophesy against women who dabbled in the occult, and ensnared the people with their charms and magical claims (13:17-18). Those women were enriched by giving the people false hope (13:19). Therefore, the LORD declared He would destroy their charms (13:20), tear away their veils (13:21), and vindicate His name (13:21-22). All this was foretold, that some might believe and know the God of Israel was LORD (13:23).
A quote of the late Dr. Robert G. Lee (1886-1974) is appropriate as I close: “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay, Sin will cost you more than you want to pay.”
I fear 21st century believers are guilty of dismissing the consequences of sin and, in the words of Dr. Robert G. Lee, have forgotten the promise, there is a “Payday Someday”.
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith
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