God refused to answer those blatantly unfaithful to Him
1 And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, and sat before me. 2 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 3 Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, The Lord God says this; Have you come to inquire of me? As I live, says the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you.
- Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me,
- John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
4 Will you plead for them, son of man, will you judge them? Cause them to know the abominations of their fathers: 5 Say to them, The Lord God says this; In the day when I chose Israel, and swore to the seed of the house of Jacob, and made myself known to them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up my hand to them, saying, I am the LORD your God; 6 In the day that I lifted up my hand to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt to a land that I had selected for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands: 7 Then I said to them, Every man cast away the abominations of his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
- God gave His people the best place on earth, the glory of all lands. He alone is God.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
8 But they rebelled against me, and would not listen to me: every man did not cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury on them to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. 9 But I acted for my name’s sake, that it not be polluted before the nations, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known to them, in bringing them out of the land of Egypt.
God’s statutes bring life
10 Therefore I caused them to go out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. 11 And I gave them my statutes, and showed them my judgments that if a man does them, he will live in them. 12 Moreover I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctifies them. 13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they did not walk in my statutes, and they despised my judgments that if a man does them, he will live in them; and they greatly polluted my sabbaths: then I said I would pour out my fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them. 14 But I acted for my name’s sake, that it would not be profaned before the nations in whose sight I brought them out.
- God protected His reputation for the sake of the nations that they might come to know Him also and live.
15 Yet also, I lifted up my hand to them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land that I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; 16 Because they despised my judgments, and did not walk in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols. 17 Nevertheless my eye spared them from destroying them neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.
- The consequence of their choice to continue to worship their idols is that they never enjoyed the great land God had for them.
- They missed God and His blessings their whole lives.
18 But I said to their children in the wilderness, Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers or observe their judgments or defile yourselves with their idols: 19 I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; 20 And sanctify my sabbaths; and they will be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.
- God offered the same blessings and conditions to their children.
21 But the children rebelled against me: they did not walk in my statutes or keep my judgments to do them, which if a man does them, he will live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury on them to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness. 22 But I withdrew my hand and acted for my name’s sake, so that it would not be polluted in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I brought them out. 23 I lifted up my hand to them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the nations, and disperse them through the countries; 24 Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes followed their fathers’ idols. 25 Therefore I gave them statutes that were not good, and judgments by which they could not live; 26 And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused all that opened the womb to pass through the fire, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD.
- The world today has many false gods and false religions.
- There is only one true God, the Maker of heaven and earth.
- God feels the same way today as He did in the past and does similar things to show mankind that He alone is LORD, controller of the universe and all things in it.
- His commandments bring life.
- John 10:10 The thief comes for nothing but to steal, to kill, and to destroy: I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
27 Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel, and say to them, The Lord God says this; Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed me, in that they have committed a trespass against me. 28 For when I had brought them to the land that I lifted up my hand to give it to them, then they saw every high hill, and all the thick trees, and there they offered their sacrifices, and there they presented the provocation of their offering: there also they made their soothing aroma, and poured out there their drink offerings. 29 Then I said to them, What is the high place where you go? And the name of it is called Bamah to this day.
- God confronted their idolatry.
- Bamah means high place. The people went to the high places, groves in the hills and mountains to worship instead of God’s temple.
- They offered sacrifices to false gods and then to the Lord.
30 Therefore say to the house of Israel, The Lord God says this; Are you polluted the same way as your fathers? And do you whore after their abominations? 31 When you offer your gifts, when you make your sons to pass through the fire you pollute yourselves with all your idols, even to this day: and shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, says the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you.
- 1Corinthians 10:20 But I say, that the things that the nations sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I do not want you to have fellowship with devils.
- Psalm 106:37 Yes, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters to devils.
He pleads with us to do right
32 What comes into your mind will not come about, that you say, We will be like the nations, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone. 33 As I live, says the Lord GOD, definitely, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you: 34 And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there I will plead with you face to face. 36 Like I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, says the Lord GOD. 37 And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: 38 And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and those that transgress against me: I will bring them out of the country where they sojourn, and they will not enter into the land of Israel: and you will know that I am the LORD. 39 As for you, O house of Israel, the Lord God says this: Everyone, if you will not listen to me, go serve his idols! But you will not continue to profane my holy name with your gifts and your idols.
- God rejected these people because they rejected Him.
- He will not force us to do what is right.
- A time is coming when God’s people will worship Him rightly.
40 For in my holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, says the Lord GOD, there, all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, will serve me: there I will accept them, and there I will seek your heave offerings, and the first fruits of your oblations, with all your holy things. 41 I will accept you with your sweet savor of rest, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the nations. 42 And you will know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country that I lifted up my hand to give to your fathers. 43 And there you will remember your ways, and all your doings in which you have been defiled; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that you have committed. 44 And you will know that I am the LORD, when I have dealt with you for my name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel, says the Lord GOD.
- When we obey and trust God it is sweet rest to Him.
- When we sin it causes work for Him to bring us out of our sin.
- Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.
45 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 46 Son of man, set your face toward the south, and drop your word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field; 47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; The Lord GOD says this; Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it will devour every green tree in you, and every dry tree: the blazing flame will not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north will be burned in it. 48 And all flesh will see that I, the LORD, have kindled it: it will not be quenched. 49 Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! They say of me, Is he not just speaking parables?
- God was pronouncing judgment for their idolatries.
- Ezekiel didn’t think the people would listen.
- Today people say the same thing about scripture. ‘It isn’t for us now.’ And ‘Its just old stories.’
- Don’t be deceived. God means and does what He says. It is for now. He gives time to return to Him.
God is against evil because it leads to eternal death
1 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, speak against the sanctuaries and prophesy against the land of Israel; 3 And say to the land of Israel, The Lord says this; Behold, I am against you, and will draw my sword of its sheath, and will cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked. 4 Because I will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked, therefore my sword will go out of its sheath against all flesh from the south to the north: 5 That all flesh may know that I, the LORD, have drawn my sword from its sheath: it will not return anymore.
- When you read of God’s judgments against people and nations in the scriptures, picture Him on the throne of the universe, sovereign over all.
- Also picture His Son and the price He paid to save us from our sins.
- The judgments of God recorded in scripture are warnings to turn us back to God.
6 Groan, son of man, with the breaking of your heart; and groan with bitterness before their eyes. 7 And it will be, when they say to you, Why do you groan? That you will answer, Because of the news that is coming, every heart will melt, all hands will be feeble, every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water: behold, it comes, and will be brought to pass, says the Lord GOD.
- This is communication from the Maker of the universe! The Lord of all.
8 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 9 Son of man, prophesy, and say, The Lord says this; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened and polished: 10 It is sharpened to make a slaughter; it is polished to flash like lightning: should we then rejoice? You are despising the rod of My Son as if it were every tree. 11 And he has given it to be polished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is polished, to give it into the hand of the slayer. 12 Cry and wail, son of man: for it will be on my people, it will be on all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword will be on my people: therefore strike your thigh. 13 Because it is a test, and what if the sword despises even the rod? It will be no more, says the Lord GOD.
- Ezekiel 18:23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
14 You therefore, son of man, prophesy, and strike your hands together, and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it is the sword of the great men that are slain, which enters into their private chambers. 15 I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: Ah! it is made like lightning, it is wrapped up for the slaughter. 16 Go one way or the other, either to the right hand, or to the left, wherever your face is set. 17 I also will strike my hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I, the LORD, have said it.
- John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
- John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
18 The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, 19 Also, you, son of man, appoint two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both will come out of one land: and you choose a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city. 20 Appoint a way, that the sword may come to Rabbath of the Ammonites, and to Judah into fortified Jerusalem. 21 For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he shakes arrows/knives, he consults with household idols, he looks in the liver. 22 At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering rams against the gates, to cast a ramp, and to build a fort. 23 And it will be to them as a false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths: but he will call to remembrance the iniquity: that they may be taken.
- The sword of the king of Babylon comes against two places (verse 18), Judah and Ammon.
- Numbers 32:23 you may be sure that your sin will find you out.
- Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
God overturns the wicked plans of man; He will send the One whose right it is to rule
24 Therefore the Lord GOD says this; Because you have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your doings your sins appear; because, I say, that you have come to remembrance, you will be taken with the hand. 25 And you, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, when iniquity will have an end. 26 The Lord God says this; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this will not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. 27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it will be no more, until he comes whose right it is; and I will give it to him.
- Why doesn’t God do something about the mess this world is in?
- These judgments show that God is doing something about the problems.
- Job suffered unjustly, but most people and nations have sins and secrets that deserve the suffering that comes to us.
- God is holy and loving. He gives much opportunity to correct ourselves and return to Him and His infinite blessing.
- Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which will not pass away, and his kingdom that which will not be destroyed.
28 And you, son of man, prophesy and say, The Lord God says this concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; even say, The sword, the sword is drawn: it is polished for the slaughter to consume like lightning: 29 While they see a false vision for you, while they divine lies to you, to place you on the necks of the wicked that are slain, whose day is come, when their iniquity will have an end. 30 Will I cause it to return into its sheath? I will judge you in the place where you were created, in the land of your nativity. 31 And I will pour out my indignation on you, I will blow against you in the fire of my wrath, and deliver you into the hand of brutal men, skilled in destruction. 32 You will be fuel for the fire; your blood will be in the midst of the land; you will no longer be remembered: for I the LORD have spoken it.
SUMMARY: Ezekiel 20-21
- God refused to answer those blatantly unfaithful to Him
- God’s statutes bring life
- He pleads with us to do right
- God is against evil because it leads to eternal death
- God overturns the wicked plans of man
- He will send the One whose right it is to rule