Scripture reading – Ezekiel 7

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Continuing our study of the Book of Ezekiel, we remember Ezekiel was the son of a priest (Ezekiel 1:1-2) when the LORD called him to be His prophet. He was among the first removed from Jerusalem before the fall of that city and was ordained to prophesy to the Jews of the Babylonian captivity.

The message to the children of Israel in Ezekiel 7 was one of doom and judgment. Indeed, the Jews living in Babylon were anxious for news of their friends and family left in Jerusalem. In some ways, Ezekiel acted as the LORD’s reporter of the conditions and events occurring in Jerusalem.

Warning to Worshippers of Idols (Ezekiel 7:1-4)

With the words, “An end, the end is come,” the fate of Israel and Judah was sealed (Ezekiel 7:2). God’s judgment was imminent. Judah and Jerusalem would fall to Nebuchadnezzar’s army (Ezekiel 7:2). God’s patience with the sins and abominations of His people was exhausted, for they provoked Him to anger. The LORD declared He would not show them pity (Ezekiel 7:4). All of this was so the people might “know” and acknowledge Him as LORD (Ezekiel 7:4).

God’s Purpose for Executing Judgment

God’s Purpose for Executing Judgment (Ezekiel 7:5-9)

Declaring “an evil, an only evil, behold is come” (Ezekiel 7:5), we read the emphatic announcement of judgment: “The end is come…the morning is come…the time is come, the day of trouble is near” (Ezekiel7:6-7). What was the basis of God’s judgment? It was to chasten His people for their sinful ways and abominations (Ezekiel 7:8-9). Though Nebuchadnezzar was the vessel of His judgment, the people were warned, “Ye shall know that I am the LORD that smiteth” (Ezekiel 7:9).


The Description of God’s Judgment (Ezekiel 7:10-27)

Though prophesied more than two and a half millennia ago, there is much to be learned from Judah’s moral decay and destruction as a nation. As you read today’s Scripture, remember that Ezekiel was prophesying to the Jews living in Babylon. Meanwhile, the prophet Jeremiah prophesied and warned those living in Jerusalem of the sorrows and afflictions yet to come. Provoked to anger by the pride of His people (Ezekiel 7:10), the LORD warned that none living in Judah would be spared His judgment (Ezekiel 7:11).

Characteristics of a Rebellious, Dying Nation (Ezekiel 7:12-27)

The latter half of Ezekiel 7 recorded several traits of a failing nation. The first was a failed economy. Selling one’s inheritance was a desperate plight for Israelites whose wealth was in their lands, which were passed from generation to generation. Nevertheless, the siege and destruction of Jerusalem would mean that neither the seller nor the buyer would profit from their transactions (Ezekiel 7:12-13).

Another characteristic of Judah as a dying nation was that few answered the call to defend Jerusalem(Ezekiel 7:14). The people refused to hear and heed the warnings of the prophets (portrayed here as the trumpet blowing, Ezekiel 7:14). Despair reigned as Ezekiel stated, “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, famine and pestilence shall devour him” (Ezekiel 7:15). Death was ever-present as the sword was symbolic of violence and war, pestilence was sickness and disease, and famine was caused by failed crops and an inability to import food (caused by the siege).

Characteristics of a Rebellious, Dying Nation

A third characteristic of a dying nation was portrayed in Judah’s perpetual state of sorrow, for the moaning of the people sounded like the cooing of the “doves of the valleys” (Ezekiel 7:16). Uncertainty and anxiety were portrayed as physical weakness, as fear, sorrows, and shame overtook the nation (Ezekiel 7:16-18).

Fourthly, the nation’s currency failed (represented as silver and gold), and was not “able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD” (Ezekiel 7:19). Food shortage was another evidence of failure, for there was a lack of provisions to “fill their bowels” (Ezekiel 7:19b).

A fifth characteristic of a dying nation is when its wealth is plundered in “the hands of the strangers” (Ezekiel 7:21). The gold that adorned their women and decorated their shrines became spoils for the wicked (Ezekiel 7:20-21). Even the LORD’s Temple was plundered by robbers and defiled (Ezekiel 7:22).

Lawlessness, the sixth characteristic of a dying nation, was identified after the LORD commanded Ezekiel to “make a chain” that symbolized captivity (Ezekiel 7:23). Judah had become “a land…full of bloody crimes, and the city [was] full of violence” (Ezekiel 7:23).

The final trait of a dying nation was an invasion of strangers that were described as “the worst of the heathen” (Ezekiel 7:24a). The people would lose their homes, the patriotic pride of the nation would cease, and their sacred places would be defiled (Ezekiel 7:24).


Closing thoughts –

Before we consider the closing verses of our study, let’s review the seven characteristics of a dying nation and consider our country’s current condition. I believe the seven traits of a dying nation are seen throughout the free world and particularly in my nation, the United States: A failed economy, an unwillingness to defend one’s country, a perpetual state of sorrow and depression, a failure of a nation’s currency, food shortages, national wealth plundered by strangers, lawlessness and violence, and an invasion of strangers.

Sorrow, failed leadership, and trouble are the lot of the people of a dying nation (Ezekiel 7:25-26). Lest some accuse the LORD of injustice, He declared, “I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 7:27).

What do you think? Do you identify the signs of Judah’s failure in our world today?

I fear we are doomed as a nation without a national revival. May you and I set our hearts to seek the LORD!

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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