Posts Tagged ‘Ezekiel’

He Will.

The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.

Ezekiel 34:4

I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.

Ezekiel 34:16

The other day we looked at the choice that we have to make with regard to what kind of Christian we are going to be.  We can live in Ezekiel 34:4 and not be a help to anyone who needs it.  Or we can live in Isaiah 35 and strengthen the weak, help the needy and encourage the fearful.  In other words, we can follow our flesh and the Devil or we can follow the Lord.

In verse 16, we see our example, the Great Shepherd, and what He is going to do.  It is His example that we are always to follow.  Here He says that He will seek that which is lost.  Will we?  He will “bring again that which was driven away?”  Will we?  He will “bind up that which was broken.”  Will we?  He will “strengthen the sick.”  Will we?

Are we willing to follow His example?

He also says at the end of verse 16 that He will “destroy the fat and the strong…”  Is that us?  Have we fattened ourselves on what this world has to offer?  Are we strong in our own eyes or are we dependent on Him?  These are tough question, but ones that will help us if we answer them.

The Shepherd

For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.  As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.  And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.  I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.  I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 34:11-15

This passage has the feel of a Psalm.  It is the Great Shepherd speaking of His sheep.  I find comfort in these verses.  Think of the tenderness showed by the Great Shepherd.  He seeks out His sheep even though they are scattered.  He is going to bring them to their own land.  He is going to give them “good pasture.”  He is going to feed His flock and He is going to “cause them to lie down.” 

Some think of the Lord as a cruel taskmaster.  But that thinking is part of Satan’s deception.  It is Satan who is the cruel taskmaster.  The flesh and the world are cruel taskmasters.  They promise freedom and they promise happiness, but they deliver only slavery and pain.  Jesus Christ, the Great Shepherd, is the One who will give us peace and freedom.  This passage reminds me of Matthew 11:28: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 

He is my Great Shepherd, and I want to follow Him.

Which Are You?

The diseased have ye not strengthened neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye hound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.

Ezekiel 34:4

Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.  Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

Isaiah 35:3-4

There are two types of people contrasted in these verses.  Isaiah gives us the positive and Ezekiel gives us the negative.  The question for today is this: which are you?  Are one who “strengthens the weak, helps the feeble and encourages the fearful?”  Or are you one who has not done these things? 

These things are among the primary responsibilities of the Christian.  We have the greatest example of One who exemplified all of these ideals in the Lord Jesus Christ.  As the song says, “where He leads me, I will follow.” 

He wants us to strengthen the weak.  He wants us to encourage the fainthearted.  He wants us to help people.  Christians should be the most encouraging and helpful people in the world.  Jesus Christ came to “seek and to save that which was lost.”  He came to bind up the broken.  He came to help us.  We should take that help to others.

The contrast in these passages is very clear.  Either we are helping people or we are not.  We are encouraging people or we are putting them down.  Everyone needs something.  Some are weak and need strengthened.  Some are broken and need healing.  Some are discouraged or burdened and need encouraged.  Let us follow the example of our Lord in this matter.  Let’s live in Isaiah 35 and not in Ezekiel 34.

Hearing And Not Doing

And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.

Ezekiel 33:31

Have you ever been reading the Bible and had a verse just jump off the page and smack you in the face?  This verse hit me right between the eyes.  When I started thinking about it, I wanted to crawl under a rock.  This was a convicting verse to me. 

These people were going to come to God’s man, sit before God’s man, and listen to God’s man.  In fact, they were going to agree with God’s man.  They were going to show “much love” to the Lord with their mouths.  But “their heart goeth after their covetousness.”  They were doing everything right outwardly.  They were going to church.  They were even listening in church.  They were agreeing with what was said in church.  And then they went out and did whatever they wanted.

How often has that been me?  How often have I sat under the preaching and teaching of God’s Word and, while “agreeing with everything said,” gone out unchanged?  How often have I “gone after my covetousness?”  I pray that it would not be thus, but I fear that this verse would be descriptive of me far too many times in my life. 

The good thing about getting hit between the eyes by a verse is that you know that the Lord is speaking to you.  And when the Lord shows you a problem, you get it taken care of and move forward for Him.  Let us not be like these people.  Let us come and hear the words; and DO them!

Interesting Names

And I will pour my fury upon Sin, the strength of Egypt; and I will cut off the multitude of No.  And I will set fire in Egypt: Sin shall have great pain, and No shall be rent asunder, and Noph shall have distresses daily.

Ezekiel 30:15-16

I love the wording of these verses.  There are some things that just can’t possibly be coincidences.  And I think that the names of these places in Egypt are not coincidences.  I understand that “Sin” is actually Pelusium, in the northeast of Egypt.  I understand that “No” is actually Thebes, in the south of Egypt.  And the technical interpretation of the verse is that the Lord is going to destroy all of Egypt – from the top to the bottom, north to south, end to end.  That in itself is a good lesson.  But think of the word pictures these verses provide:

“And I will pour my fury upon Sin.”  How true is that?  God will pour out His fury on sin.  The greatest example of His fury being poured out on sin is the cross.  There Jesus became sin for us, and was forsaken by the Father.  That is the fury He pours out on sin.

“Sin shall have great pain.”  I have never experienced pain in my life like the pain that has been brought on by my own sin.  Sin may seem pleasurable, but in the end, it brings great pain.

“I will cut off the multitude of No.”  How many people have no to the Lord.  The children of Israel said no to Him over and over.  I would say that there is a multitude of people today who have said no to Him.  And He is going to cut off that multitude that has rejected Him.

I am fascinated by the double application of these verses.  You could just keep going with different applications and they would all probably be accurate.  Also interesting is that, in the Bible, Egypt is a type of the world.   

“Sin, the strength of Egypt…”  Sin is the strength of the world.  Sin is the allure of the world.  Any way you cut these verses, you come up with the fact that God is going to judge Sin severely.

He Sought for a Man

And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.  Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 22:30-31

To me, this is one of the saddest passages in the Bible.  Many sermons have been preached on verse 30, but I don’t know that I’ve heard one preached on verse 31.  Verse 30 is a classic verse dealing with the fact that the Lord is looking for someone to do Him will.  Numbers chapter 16 tells us the story of the children of Israel provoking the Lord.  He sent a plague and Moses sent Aaron to stand before the Lord for the people.  “And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.”  That is what the Lord wants.

The sad part comes at the end of verse 30: “but I found none.”  The Lord didn’t want to destroy the land.  So He looked for someone to stand in the gap for the land.  But He found none.

Verse 31 then goes on to tell us that “…I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath…”  The Lord was forced to destroy the land because He could not find a man who cared enough to intercede for the land.  To make an application to our situation, how often have we “stood in the gap?”  How often have stood before the Lord for our land?  There is much sin and rebellion in our land today.  We need to pray for our country.  We need to stand in the gap.  If the Lord looked for a man (or woman) today, would He find one if He looked in your direction?

No Pleasure for the Lord

For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Ezekiel 18:32

I like this verse because I think it dispells a common myth about the nature of God.  I have heard many people say things like “why would a loving God send people to Hell?”  I have seen some people blasphemously say that they would not serve a God Who would send people to Hell.  Some people think that God takes some pleasure in condemning people.  But this verse tells a different story.

God says here that “I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth…”  God doesn’t take pleasure in death.  On the contrary, He says “wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”  He doesn’t want to condemn people; He wants people to turn from their wicked ways and turn to Him.  In this particular book of the Bible, God has sent His prophet, Ezekiel to a people that had rejected Him over and over again.  Yet still He called out to them, beckoning them to return to Him.  He took no pleasure in their death; in fact, He did all He could to prevent their death.  He wanted them to live and prosper.  He wants us to live and prosper!

This verse also tells us that, in the end, it is not the Lord who condemns us.  We condemn ourselves.  The reason that Lord destroyed the children of Israel was their repeated rebellion and their refusal to return to Him.  He says “turn yourselves…”  He sent prophets to warn them of what would happen to them if they did not turn.  But they didn’t turn.  They condemned themselves. 

“I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth…”  “Turn yourselves, and live…”  Amen.

Lying Prophets

Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:

Ezekiel 13:22

In this passage, God is pronouncing judgment on the children of Israel through Ezekiel.  Specifically, this verse deals with the prophets that have lied and have not spoken the words of the Lord.  There are two aspects to their  deceit that are important lessons for us to learn so that we can both avoid falling for these deceits and perpetuating them. 

First, these lying prophets “have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad.”  They called the righteous “wicked.”  They made the righteous sad because it was them that they preached against.  It’s easy to get to feeling a little jealous when confronted with a good, Godly Christian if we are not ourselves living like good, Godly Christians.  There have been many good people torn down by gossip and jealousy.  Let’s make sure we are not among those who do the tearing.

Second, the lying prophets “strengthened the hands of the wicked…”  The Bible tells us in Proverbs 17:15 that “He that justifieth the wicked… (is) abomination to the LORD.”  While I don’t know that I overtly strengthen the hands of the wicked, I’m sure that I have done some things or said some things to “justify the wicked.”  If nothing else, surely we have tried to justify something to ourselves.  That strengthens our own hand to do more wickedness.  We have to be careful about that.

The saddest part of these verses to me is that, by justifying and strengthening the hand of the wicked, it destroys that person.  “…that he should not return from his wicked way…”  If we don’t speak out against wickedness when we see it, how will the wicked ever turn from his wicked way? 

Let us not be like the lying prophets of Ezekiel’s day.  These things should be the other way around: the wicked should be “made sad.”  And the righteous should have their hands strengthened.

A Hard Saying

Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.  When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from him wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Ezekiel 3:17-19

This is one of those passages that, to me at least, is a “hard saying.”  I understand that, doctrinally, we do not need to preach to the lost in order to “deliver our soul.”  We do not try to bring people to the Saviour in order to “earn” our salvation.  But I believe that the general principle found in these verses still applies, as hard as it may be for us to swallow.

I can only speak for myself, but I shudder to think how many people I have passed by in my life and not shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with.  I shudder to think how many people will never come to the Lord and will die in their sins because I didn’t fulfill my duty and warn them.  I shudder to think what my answer will be when someone I knew in this life asks me “why didn’t you warn me?” on their way to judgment.

This is not a pleasant subject on which to think.  But it is necessary.  Let us do what we can while we can.  We have been given a commission.  Let us do our best to fulfill it.

They Would Have Listened

And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them.  For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel; Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand.  Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee.  But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.

Ezekiel 3:4-7

God sent Ezekiel to preach to the children of Israel and warned them that they were hard hearted and that they would not listen.  Then He tells Ezekiel something that I found interesting.  He says that He is not sending him to a “people of a strange speech and of an hard language.”  The people that he is going to preach to do not speak a foreign language.  He isn’t going to have to master some difficult language to preach to them.  He is going to his own people.

And they are going to reject him.  The sad thing about these verses is the statement that the Lord makes in verse 6: “Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee.”  God was not sending Ezekiel to the heathen, He was sending him to the nation of Israel.  But if He had sent Ezekiel to the heathen, they would have listened.  That was convicting to me. 

How often have I not listened to Him when confronted by His plain truth in my own language?  How often have I been in the place of these Israelites?  I have ignored and rejected the Lord, yet He has still sent people to preach to me and implore me to return to Him.  We have heard the gospel hundreds or even thousands of times while there are those who have not heard it once.  The apostle Paul said that he was “debtor…”  Think of the tremendous debt we owe to those who have not heard, both in our own area and to “people of a strange speech and of an hard language.”