Vs. 2, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him.” Question: Just who is Gog? Even the readers of Ezekiel’s time would not have known who he was referring to. Gog is a future leader or nation that comes from the north. Bear in mind that Ezekiel was a prophet and often times these prophecies pointed to the time of the Messiah’s first coming and second coming. In this case, Ezekiel is giving a prophecy of the time of Tribulation (second coming). This attack would be during the seven years under the pretense of false peace led by the antichrist himself.
Regarding application…God is Revealing Himself. Vs. 23, “And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” Question: Why would God bring calamities upon evil nations? So that the world will know God is God. There is no other. Evil will have its day for just a little while. Do you know God? When disaster, storms and struggles come…they begin to reveal to us how small we are. It is these times that tug at our heart and help us realize that there is a higher power at work. From the beginning of Genesis to our very lives today…God has been faithfully revealing himself in all situations. Remember God’s faithfulness in the storms of your life and let that be the catalyst that increases your faith and your healthy fear of a God who is mighty to save!
Vs. 1, “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.” About 1 ½ ago, I preached on this very passage! Question: When will this vision come to fruition? Many biblical scholars point to this vision as the restoration of the physical and spiritual Israel. In the past century, Israel has become an official nation again. And, according to your biblical doctrine, God will one day restore Israel and Jesus will reign with them for 1000 years. But going back to the vision: It must have been quite a scene to see a valley of skeleton bones all over. God restores the dry bones and gives them life. We also see the illustration of the two sticks becoming one to unite God’s people.
Regarding application…Make Us One. Vs. 22, “I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.” While the verse is a prophecy to Israel, the application is useful for all of us. Many of us are dead in our transgressions and don’t realize we are like the dry bones. As He breathes life into us, we will one day be restored as one body in Christ! When I think about the heartache of broken families, broken churches, broken nations…it grieves so many. This hope for a better future is something that not only brings comfort now, but should inspire us to do our part in hastening that day. What can we do now to help bring about God’s will of restoring that which is broken?
Vs. 8, “But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home.” In times of struggles, a message of hope is quite welcomed. And this is exactly what God would now instruct Ezekiel to do. Mountains have been and still are a symbol of turning to God…and God would now speak from the mountains. As God speaks of the restoration of His people, we too can take comfort in realizing there is a dual meaning to this in our lives. While God allows consequences to come, there is also the eternal hope we have. We see one of the most beautiful passages in the latter half of this chapter as we are reminded of God’s grace.
Regarding application…How is your Heart? Vs. 26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Perhaps this is a question we should be asking ourselves daily. Israel had lost her way because they had chosen to turn away from God. I’m reminded of Lot’s wife when she turned to look back and became a pillar of salt (it was immediate). The moment we start to turn away from God, our hearts can become like stone. That is why it is so important to turn daily to the Lord in prayer and reading of His word. Open your heart today and see what God can do with a spirit and heart that beats for Him!
Vs. 2, “Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir; prophesy against it and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, Mount Seir, and I will stretch out my hand against you and make you a desolate waste.” In the midst of Ezekiel’s turn from curses to blessings…we now see Ezekiel speak of Edom. Question: Who were the Edomites? They were the descendants of Esau (Jacob’s older twin brother). They had still not forgotten Jacob’s deception towards Esau. They were finding delight in the downfall of Jacob’s descendants. They also took part in assisting the Babylonians in killing fleeing people who were running out of Judah.
Regarding application…Revenge. Vs. 14, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: While the whole earth rejoices, I will make you desolate.” The Edomites give us a stark reminder of the condition of our own hearts. The sin nature within us often delights at the demise of those who have been against us. I recall my first Boy Scout summer camp. I was perhaps in 5th grade at the time. There was a fellow camper who would often poke fun of me. So much that we almost got into two fights that week. A few years later, he tried joining the wresting team. I had been in wrestling for years and was a bit amused to see him try out. Needless to say, I found myself delighting in watching him get beaten down each day at practice. He quit after one week of tryouts. Yet, I look back realizing I was no better than him back when we were in 5th grade. Let’s realize it is God’s place to avenge, not ours!
Vs. 2, “Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In the pride of your heart you say, “I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas.” But you are a man and not a god.” As we wrap up the oracle against Tyre, we see Ezekiel now direct the prophecy directly towards the king of Tyre. This king thought too highly of himself, he even thought he was wiser than Daniel (vs. 3). Just like our application from yesterday, the king’s pride would bring him to disaster. And when you look closely at vs. 6-19, you can’t help but see a comparison to the downfall of Satan.
Regarding application…True Wisdom. Vs. 4, “By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself and amassed gold and silver in your treasuries.” Question: What is wisdom? Wisdom is making the right decision. For the king of Tyre, his decision led to fame and fortune. But, it was not a wise decision. God gives us choices to choose the right path. Perhaps the moment we start thinking we are doing pretty good in this life is the moment we need to look intently in the mirror of our heart and soul. Trusting in God seems a foolish choice to the world. Some of you know may know about Tim Tebow, the Denver Bronco’s quarterback for football. Recently a former quarterback Jake Plummer was critiquing Tim Tebow and actually complimented him on a few things, but railed him when it came to Tebow always sharing his faith on national television. Tebow has many haters, yet, he seems to be choosing a very wise path of humility and trust in God. Seems to be a wise young man. Let’s seek true wisdom in our lives too!
Vs. 2, “Son of man, take up a lament concerning Tyre.” Ezekiel would give a very poetic lament (sorrow) for Tyre’s demise. Ezekiel gives us another allegory, and this is Tyre being like that of a beautiful ship that is going to be destroyed. Tyre was part of the Phoenician culture and was a very prominent city in its day. Like Los Angeles or Portland, OR…it was a port city and those often thrive! All types of merchandise and goods were shipped, stored and traded. A person who lived in Tyre, if they had the money…could get anything they wanted via trade through Tyre.
Regarding application…Downfall of Pride. Vs. 33, “When your merchandise went out on the seas, you satisfied many nations; with your great wealth and your wares you enriched the kings of the earth.” The people of Tyre depended upon their material success to a fault. They had no mind of God and like any great nation or people group…their pride would be their downfall. We’ve seen this sort of in the stock market plunging and people losing all of their savings in an instant. Let us be people who do not depend upon the things of this world to find our worth.
Vs. 3, “therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the sea casting up its waves.” Tyre was located about 40 miles north of Israel. During their time, Tyre was one of the great port cities of its time. They would see great benefit at God’s people suffering (one less competitor commercial purposes), but God would bring vengeance. For Jerusalem’s conqueror would become Tyre’s too.
Regarding application…Secular Music. Vs. 13, “I will put an end to your noisy songs, and the music of your harps will be heard no more.” I couldn’t help but laugh at this! I always feel like a cranky old man with how loud youth play music But, in this case…God would silence their music that brought Him no glory. If this is how God treated secular music then, I wonder how God looks at our secular music today. So much loud noisy songs that talk about love, relationships, money, sex, etc. The conviction concerning such can only come from a open heart and the Holy Spirit. Music was created by God, but I do believe there is some secular music that has no place in the Christian life. Seek the Lord and see if He is convicting you on how you approach the type of music you watch.
Vs. 1, “The word of the Lord came to me…”Since we’ve been reading Ezekiel, we have been focused on God’s people. But now we see consequences for the pagan nations surrounding God’s people. Justice is being served. In this chapter we read of four of the nations, Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia…but as we continue on, there will be a total of sixteen nations listed. The Ammonites were rejoicing at Judah’s downfall, the Moabites basically confirmed with Judah’s downfall that they were not special, the Edomites and Philistines helped the Babylonians and took pleasure in Judah’s consequences.
Regarding application…God will Judge. Vs. 7, “I will cut you off from the nations and exterminate you from the countries. I will destroy you, and you will know that I am the Lord.” Question: Why do the evil seem to get all the breaks? The rich keep getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Where’s the justice in the world today? I’m sure for God’s people, they felt like God was against them. But while the other nations were laughing, God would bring vengeance upon them. The application I see here is that don’t get all up in arms about the injustices of this world. God is in control. Let’s just do our part in being genuine in our walk and faith.
Vs. 10, “So heap on the wood and kindle the fire.” Smh…Amazon!!! You stole from the Bible :P. Anyways, on a very serious note…we read of the parable of the pot, the literal melting pot. In this parable, God is turning up the heat in the pot to burn away all the impurities. And sadly, for whatever reason…God would take the life of Ezekiel’s wife and instruct him not to mourn. This was another action prophecy to show the consequences of their hardened sins. A very sad time for Ezekiel and all that would perish in Jerusalem.
Vs. 2, “Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother.” Question: Who were these two daughters’? They were the two kingdoms, the Northern (Samaria) and Southern (Judah) kingdoms…Israel & Judah. Now, if you remember…Israel/Samaria had already been taken captive by the Assyrians earlier. We have a pretty graphic chapter today to say the least! It is a metaphor (symbolic of something else)…that depicts God’s deliverance of Hi people from Egypt and now how they responded in the Promised Land. They were supposed to be in a relationship with the Lord, but instead, they were prostituting themselves to other nations.
Regarding application…Sin is Serious. Vs. 35, “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you have forgotten me and thrust me behind your back, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution.” Whether physical in meaning or spiritual in meaning…when we put other things before God, it becomes pretty serious business. In our society today, sin has been minimized (It’s not that big of a deal). It’s common to use the Lord’s name in vain, it’s common to have premarital sex, it’s common to gossip and slander, it’s common to glorify ungodly music. Question: How do we know when our sin becomes serious to God? When we don’t take it serious ourselves. The penalty for such sins was death. God took it so serious that He would send Jesus to die for us. Yet, metaphorically speaking…we are the ones yelling “Crucify Him!” when we don’t take sin serious in our lives. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but it starts with the condition of the intentions of our heart. How is your heart today?