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FRAMEWORKS: Ezekiel

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FRAMEWORKS: Ezekiel 14: Divided-heart Prophet-Seekers condemned

 

[Preliminary Comment : This chapter is a warning to those who might approach a prophet ‘for a nice word' while they still harbour idolatrous thoughts – don't!]

 

 

Part 1: v.1-11 Idolaters who might go to a prophet

 

v.1,2 When some of the elders meet with Ezekiel God gives him His word

 

v.1  Some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat down in front of me.

v.2  Then the word of the Lord came to me:

 

[Notes: It would appear that the elders who came to Ezekiel were those residing in Babylon. It is unlikely they would have come from Israel itself. This thus becomes a specific word for the leadership in exile.]

 

 

v.3 The Lord points out their failures

 

v.3  ‘Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling-blocks before their faces. Should I let them enquire of me at all?

 

[Notes: The Lord sees the heart [see also 1 Sam 16:7] and sees that their divided hearts – perhaps considering some of the local idols of Babylon – act as stumbling blocks to real faith in these elders before Ezekiel. Should He even listen to them?]

 

 

v.4,5 The Lord says He will meet them with the truth

 

v.4  Therefore speak to them and tell them, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: when any of the Israelites set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling-block before their faces and then go to a prophet, I the Lord will answer them myself in keeping with their great idolatry.

v.5  I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols.”

 

[Notes: The Lord won't give then any nice prophecy, He will confront their idolatry.]

 

 

v.6-8 The Lord reiterates this

 

v.6  ‘Therefore say to the people of Israel, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!

v.7 ‘“When any of the Israelites or any foreigner residing in Israel separate themselves from me and set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling-block before their faces and then go to a prophet to enquire of me, I the Lord will answer them myself.

v.8  I will set my face against them and make them an example and a byword. I will remove them from my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

 

[Notes: If they come seeking a word, He has one for them – repent! It's the same for any idol worshipper – repent or He will remove them!]

 

 

v.9-11 The Lord will hold such (false) prophet accountable

 

v.9  ‘“And if the prophet is enticed to utter a prophecy, I the Lord have enticed that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel.

v.10 They will bear their guilt – the prophet will be as guilty as the one who consults him.

v.11 Then the people of Israel will no longer stray from me, nor will they defile themselves any more with all their sins. They will be my people, and I will be their God, declares the Sovereign Lord.”'

 

[Notes: If the prophet goes astray and is tempted to bring them anything else, he will be severely accountable to the Lord. The Lord will always work to purge all idolatry from His people.]

 

 

Part 2: v.12-23: Jerusalem's judgment inescapable

 

v.12-14 Example 1: Judgment of famine inescapable without repentance [implied]

 

v.12  The word of the Lord came to me:

v.13 ‘Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its people and their animals,

v.14  even if these three men – Noah, Daniel and Job – were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord.

    

  

v.15,16 Example 2: Judgment of wild beasts inescapable without repentance [implied]

 

v.15  ‘Or if I send wild beasts through that country and they leave it childless and it becomes desolate so that no one can pass through it because of the beasts,

v.16  as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, even if these three men were in it, they could not save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved, but the land would be desolate.

   

   

v.17,18 Example 3: Judgment of the sword inescapable without repentance [implied]

 

v.17  ‘Or if I bring a sword against that country and say, “Let the sword pass throughout the land,” and I kill its people and their animals,

v.18  as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, even if these three men were in it, they could not save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved.

   

  

v.19,20 Example 4: Judgment of plague inescapable without repentance [implied]

 

v.19  ‘Or if I send a plague into that land and pour out my wrath on it through bloodshed, killing its people and their animals,

v.20  as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they could save neither son nor daughter. They would save only themselves by their righteousness.

   

   

v.21-23 Warning of all four judgments on Jerusalem

 

v.21  ‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: how much worse will it be when I send against Jerusalem my four dreadful judgments – sword and famine and wild beasts and plague – to kill its men and their animals!

v.22  Yet there will be some survivors – sons and daughters who will be brought out of it. They will come to you, and when you see their conduct and their actions, you will be consoled regarding the disaster I have brought on Jerusalem – every disaster I have brought on it.

v.23  You will be consoled when you see their conduct and their actions, for you will know that I have done nothing in it without cause, declares the Sovereign Lord.'

 

[Notes: The second part provides four general examples of forms of judgment on sin that God can bring, but none of them can be averted except by repentance. Thus when the Lord is declaring He is bringing all four judgments on Jerusalem, He is looking for, and expects, repentance before He holds back. In the absence of that, the declared judgments are inevitable.]

 

[Concluding Note: The two parts of the chapter are complementary. The first part holds up the elders who might appear spiritual in Israel, by going to a prophet for a nice word. The short answer is don't! The second part confronts the lies that false prophets might bring by holding up a major spiritual principle: God judges or disciplines sin in a variety of ways and where it is national, the judgment impacts the nation. This judgment is only ever averted by repentance. The ongoing implication is that where the false prophets brought comforting and reassuring words while their listeners continued with their idolatry, those words would not stave off the judgment that WAS coming.]

    

    

Continue to Chapter 15