Laying in the Bed of their Making

Posted: September 1, 2016 in Ezekiel, Uncategorized

Ezekiel 22, “Laying in the Bed of their Making”

“You made your bed – now lie in it!”  How many of us have heard that said to us, or perhaps have even said it to our own children?  Although we sometimes say it in frustration, at its heart is a message of personal responsibility.  There are consequences for our choices, and although we might not like those consequences, they are what they are.  If we want different results, we need to have different actions.  It’s no good whining about responses to the choices that we ourselves made. (Be it a celebrity bellyaching about a public backlash to some political comments, or kids complaining about punishments received from parents or teachers.)  If we acted a certain way, we need to expect a certain response.  We made our bed; now it’s time to lie in it.

There’s a theological corollary to this idea in sowing & reaping.  If we sow to the lusts of the flesh, we’re going to reap of the lusts of the flesh.  If we engage in ongoing sin, we’re going to experience the results of ongoing sin.  Part of those results might just be the firm discipline of the hand of God.  After all, through faith in Jesus Christ we are God’s children, and the Heavenly Father who loves us is not going to let us continue in a path of destruction.  At some point He is going to intervene, and (1) allow us to experience the natural consequences of our sin, or (2) bring in some form of special discipline Himself.

It’s this idea that God made known to Israel again & again through prophets like Ezekiel.  The common thought of their day (as it is in ours) was that if they belonged to God, then God was obligated to bless them.  They did their part through ritual, so God would do His part in protection & power.  Not so!  (1) God is not anyone’s butler, acting on command, or able to be manipulated by our actions.  (2) That misses the entire point of being in a relationship with God.  If God truly is our God, then we need to expect our God to act when His people are being unfaithful to Him.  His intervention is proof of our relationship.  After all, if God didn’t care about us, He’d allow us to go our own way & perish.  No – God loves us, and thus He acts.  Ancient Israel / Judah / Jerusalem had long acted in rebellion against God, and they needed to know without a doubt not only that they had sinned, but that it was God Himself that gave them over to the consequences of their sin.  They needed to see the hand of God at work in order that they would later give glory to God.  And thus God repeatedly spoke to them through the prophets.

As for context, God was in the process of giving another series of messages to Ezekiel about Israel, and Jerusalem specifically.  God knew of their rebellions, and listed off their sins.  He had told them what to do through His commandments, yet they refused.  Thus God would send a fire – a sword of judgment to them in the form of Babylon.  His judgment would be fierce, but unquestionably deserved.  Not that all hope was lost – God held out a future promise for them of regathering & restoration, but this particular judgment was certain.

The final message given in Ch. 21 was actually not for Israel at all, but for the Ammonites.  Whereas Israel looked forward to a Messianic kingdom, Ammon did not.  God’s judgment upon them would be final, and historically, it was.  The kingdom of Ammon was destroyed, lost from history.

Now God once again turns His attention to Israel, reiterating the fact that her judgments were deserved.  Simply because they had a historic tie to God did not give them free reign to do whatever they wanted.  They had devolved into a debased people, although God had called them to holiness.  The judgment they would experience was the result of what they had done to themselves.  They had made their bed…now it was time to lie in it.

Ezekiel 22

  • Message #1: The land is defiled (1-16)

1 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Now, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Yes, show her all her abominations!

  • Many times, God had laid out the legal case against His nation – now He calls upon Ezekiel to judge it.  Not that Ezekiel would actually dispense judgment against the land (that was something that belonged solely to God) – but that the prophet would serve as an impartial observer, confirming the judgment of God.  No one would be able to claim that God had been unfair with His people – how He chose to respond to them was absolutely just & righteous.
  • Notice the dual request to judge & dual description of defilement.  This is poetic emphasis.  The city was “bloody” & full of “abominations” – every single aspect of it would be exposed, laid bare before the people.  Thus again, they would know that their judgment was right.
    • The one thing that people will not be able to do when standing before God at His great white throne is to claim that His judgment is unfair.  There, all the books will be laid open, and people will see their sin (their bloody abominations) for what it is.  There is no doubt wailing & gnashing of teeth in hell (as Jesus so often described), but there are no accusations of injustice.  The justice of God is plainly known.

3 Then say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “The city sheds blood in her own midst, that her time may come; and she makes idols within herself to defile herself. 4 You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed, and have defiled yourself with the idols which you have made. You have caused your days to draw near, and have come to the end of your years; therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all countries. 5 Those near and those far from you will mock you as infamous and full of tumult.

  • Whose fault was this?  Jerusalem’s.  The city was fully defiled by her own hand. “you have shed…you have made…”  She made her own idols, shed blood, and more.  Their judgment was to come by the hand of God, but their suffering was one of their own making.
    • How often have we heard people cry out, “Why God?  Why me?”  (Perhaps we’ve even done it ourselves!)  There are times that our suffering is simply part of living in a fallen world.  The book of Job basically chronicles Job’s suffering & his repeated question to God asking why he went through what he did.  Although his friends tried to put the blame upon him, Job had done nothing wrong & God vindicated him in the end.  That said, there are some times that the suffering we experience is our fault.  There are some instances in which we experience the consequences of our own sin, and there are some in which God actively places His hand of discipline upon us.  Either way, God cannot be blamed.  When we sin, the question isn’t so much why God lets us suffer the way He does – but why He doesn’t let us suffer more.  After all, the wages of sin is death.  If we got what we deserved, we would drop dead at the very first sin.  It is the mercy of God that allows us to live & actually experience His discipline.  His discipline might be the very thing that leads us to repentance.
  • In regards to Jerusalem, because the city acted against God, God acted against the city.  He promised to bring it into public reproach & humiliation.  Generations earlier, the nation of Israel served as an example to the Gentiles of what it was to be a people protected by the Lord God of the Universe.  He had brought them out of slavery with a mighty hand & had destroyed the Egyptian army through the miracle of the Red Sea.  As a result, the nations trembled at Israel’s approach.  But now, Israel would be a reproach.  Once more, they would serve as an example – this time, of a nation judged by God.  Their sin & judgment would be known to all, and they would endure much mockery.
    • Sin always finds us out – and the public humiliation can be severe.  The best way to avoid it is not to engage in the sin in the first place.

6 “Look, the princes of Israel: each one has used his power to shed blood in you. 7 In you they have made light of father and mother; in your midst they have oppressed the stranger; in you they have mistreated the fatherless and the widow. 8 You have despised My holy things and profaned My Sabbaths.

  • Israel’s rulers were individually guilty.  They led the way for the rest of the nation.  They oppressed others, and became downright violent.
  • Overall, God describes the defilement of the heart.  People dishonored their parents – they despised true religion – they despised God Himself.  By profaning that which was set apart to the Lord (both in the form of temple instruments & the Sabbath day), they were in essence profaning God.  They did not value what belonged to Him, which demonstrated that they did not value God in their hearts.
  • It wasn’t only the state of their hearts, but also the state of their hands.  Vs. 9…

9 In you are men who slander to cause bloodshed; in you are those who eat on the mountains; in your midst they commit lewdness. 10 In you men uncover their fathers’ nakedness; in you they violate women who are set apart during their impurity. 11 One commits abomination with his neighbor’s wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; and another in you violates his sister, his father’s daughter. 12 In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take usury and increase; you have made profit from your neighbors by extortion, and have forgotten Me,” says the Lord GOD.

  • Defilement of the hands.  God describes their violence, lewdness, bribery, and more.  They were impure in every way imaginable, to the point of committing incest, rape, and all other kinds of sexual perversion.  Keep in mind that this was the city of God.  This is where He chose to place His temple – where the ark of the covenant rested – and (until recently in the oracles shown to Ezekiel) where His glory remained.  Yet the acts of Israel were completely the opposite of what should have been the people of God.  They acted like they didn’t know God at all, and that was the problem.
  • The bottom line issue: they forgot God.  Seems to be emphatic in the Hebrew: “Me, you have forgotten, utters Adonai YHWH.”  It’s not that they weren’t around the things of God.  After all, the temple was the centerpiece of the city itself.  It’s not that they didn’t have the Scriptures & word of God.  The Jews were those who received the text, and they were receiving more at the time through the prophets.  But despite all these things, they acted as if God did not exist.  They forgot Him entirely.
    • Even today, this is the basic problem.  When is it that we give into sin & temptation?  When we forget God.  Keep in mind, we don’t have to be absent-minded to forget; forgetfulness is sometimes a purposeful choice.  When we choose to ignore the clear warnings given us by the Holy Spirit, we are choosing to forget God.  When we close our eyes to the commands of Scripture that we’ve otherwise clearly seen, we are choosing to put God out of our minds – to forget Him.  And that’s exactly when we get into trouble.  Even before we’ve engaged in the “actual sin,” we cross the line when we make the choice to forget God.
    • Be careful not to forget the Lord!  There is a reason that Moses commanded the ancient Hebrews to put the commandment of the Shema on the doorposts of their houses & to bind them as frontlets between their eyes & bind it on their hands (Dt. 6:8-9).  He wanted it to be so obviously in front of them that it would be physically impossible to forget the command to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and strength.  That’s the same mindset we ought to have.  We need to keep Jesus at the forefront of our day, rather than in the background.  We need to have our eyes fixed upon Him, His goodness, and His gospel promise – so that we purposefully remember Him.  Consciously remembering Jesus will go so much further in our fight against sin than legalism.  We remember our God, our Jesus; not our rules.  Remembering Jesus will guard us from the dangers of forgetting Him.
  • Of course ancient Israel forgot God, and because of their sin as they did, God declared their fierce judgment.  Vs. 13…

13 “Behold, therefore, I beat My fists at the dishonest profit which you have made, and at the bloodshed which has been in your midst. 14 Can your heart endure, or can your hands remain strong, in the days when I shall deal with you? I, the LORD, have spoken, and will do it.

  • God is rightly appalled at them.  Beating His fists (or as some translations say, clapping / smiting His hands), God is shown as visibly upset with Israel.  Their sin had made Him shake with anger, and thus He would rise up against them.  That ought to be a sobering thought!  They had forgotten Him in the past, but they would not be able to ignore Him in the future.  Was it possible they could stand against Him?  Absolutely not.  When Almighty God moves, the earth itself trembles!
    • Can anyone stand against God?  Not in the slightest.  So many atheists today take such an arrogant stance when they claim that “if” there is a God in heaven, then they will make Him answer their questions before they receive His judgment.  Their delusion is their downfall.  When God acts, none can stand.  How exactly does anyone demand anything of the infinitely powerful God?  It is doubtful that those receiving the judgment of God will find themselves able to utter a single word in His presence, much less demand anything of Him.  God is truly terrible in His power (using the classical sense of the word).  He is awesome in His glory.  He is the Creator God, and when He moves, all the world will know.
  • In addition, what God says, goes.  His judgment is firm & final.  As He declared, what He spoke, He would do.  What would it include?  Vs. 15…

15 I will scatter you among the nations, disperse you throughout the countries, and remove your filthiness completely from you. 16 You shall defile yourself in the sight of the nations; then you shall know that I am the LORD.” ’ ”

  • Promise of dispersion.  Although the southern kingdom of Judah had remained for quite some time after the northern kingdom of Israel was absorbed by the Assyrians, their supernatural protection from the encroaching empires would not last.  By the time of Ezekiel’s prophecies, God had already allowed Jerusalem to be conquered by Babylon & many of the people were already scattered away from the Promised Land.  One final scattering was yet to come, and the people would truly be dispersed “throughout the countries.
    • Question: would they be regathered?  Yes – and God has affirmed His merciful promise of doing so several other times to Ezekiel (and more affirmations of this was yet to come).  But for 70 years, they would certainly be scattered with God being true to His word.  (Even when they regathered, it was a portion of the nation – but that’s another topic altogether.)
  • Promise of purging.  NKJV says “remove your filthiness,” but it is more of the idea of purging / destroying uncleanness.  More of this purging will be described in the next message starting in vs. 17.
  • Promise of defilement, or rather, self-defilement.  Question: how is this reconciled with vs. 15?  After all, on one hand, God promises to remove their filthiness, but on the other hand, He promises that the Israelites would be defiled.  Answer: it goes back to the idea of the land.  By removing the Israelites from the Promised Land, the land itself would be cleansed even as the people endured the purging of the judgment of God.  But while the Jews were abroad, they would be defiled in that they would dwell outside of the Promised Land, necessarily living among Gentiles.  They would struggle to maintain kosher diets & living arrangements, and they would simply struggle in general.  The Gentile nations around them would view them as defiled, cast out by God – all part of the public reproach God promised them.
  • In the end, they would know without a doubt it was their own fault – but at the same time, they would recognize the hand of God in it all.  When these things came to pass, and they saw their consequences for what they were, they would know God had followed through on His promises.
  • Message #2: The land is dross (17-22)

17 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 18 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to Me; they are all bronze, tin, iron, and lead, in the midst of a furnace; they have become dross from silver.

  • Israel had been God’s own special people.  Now He saw them as “dross” – the pollutants – the stuff to be cast off.  Because silver & gold are mined from the earth, there’s a lot of rock, dirt, and other impurities that come along with the ore.  God had wanted a pure people – a people totally devoted to Him.  What He got was the rock & dirt.  He got all of the unwanted mineral that clouded the silver rather than the pure precious metal itself.  Thus it needed to be dealt with.
  • The interesting thing about dross is that it’s not truly seen until the metal is liquid. [PPT]  The fire must first be applied, superheating the material until the dross starts to pull away from the silver or gold that is present.  It’s not that the impurities aren’t already there – they are; they just aren’t nearly as apparent until the fire comes.  A similar idea seems to be true here.  With the nation, the impurities were already there in abundance – but the people were blind to them.  They were so caught up in their sin that they didn’t see what they were doing was wrong.  But when God’s fiery judgment came, their sin would become crystal clear!  In comparison with the holy fire of God, their sin would be truly seen for what it was: dross to be cast off.
    • Isn’t that so often the case with us as well?  The impurities are there, but it’s not until we come face-to-face with the consequences of our flesh (i.e. the discipline of God) that we see our actions for the sin that it is.  A little flirting or porn is truly sexual immorality.  A few lies are truly destructive, etc.  What might otherwise seem normal is shown to be entirely sinful when we start to compare our actions with the standard of God’s holiness.
    • But when God deals with us – when He purifies & cleanses us through Christ – how beautiful we become!  The dross of our sin is burnt off, and the clarity of God’s holiness shines through.  Praise God for Jesus!  In light of our sin, the sacrifice & forgiveness of Jesus is something to be treasured!

19 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because you have all become dross, therefore behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20 As men gather silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin into the midst of a furnace, to blow fire on it, to melt it; so I will gather you in My anger and in My fury, and I will leave you there and melt you. 21 Yes, I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and you shall be melted in its midst. 22 As silver is melted in the midst of a furnace, so shall you be melted in its midst; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have poured out My fury on you.’ ”

  • Just as dross is collected, so would be the ancient Jews – gathered together, not for comfort, but for wrath.  One day there would be a regathering out of the mercies & grace of God, but for now, this gathering would be one of judgment.  As the remaining Jews in the land took refuge in the city of Jerusalem, they would ultimately find no refuge within the walls.  The armies of Babylon would come, set up a terrible siege, and as the people starved, they would experience the fire of God’s wrath.
  • The description itself is terrible: melted down with the overwhelming fire of God’s judgment.  Reminiscent of the end of Ch 20 – Ezekiel 20:47b, "…Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree and every dry tree in you; the blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be scorched by it."  Everything would be consumed by the holy fire of God’s wrath – and the heat would be so intense that the figurative impurities would not merely be skimmed off, but physically burnt away.
    • How holy is our God?  We cannot fathom the extent.  He could not be any holier, if He tried.  Thus how sinful is our sin?  Again – we cannot fathom the extent.
  • The result?  The people of Jerusalem would know God had poured out His fury upon them.  There would be no mistaking it.  The things they experienced would come by the hand of Babylon, but Babylon was not capable of the extent of their suffering.  This was God, and none other.
  • Message #3: The land is dangerously dry (23-31)

23 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 24 “Son of man, say to her: ‘You are a land that is not cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation.’

  • Description of a dirty land – dry & impure.  For Israel, rain was a physical sign of God’s blessing.  In fact, it was specifically part of their covenant with God, as God’s response to the obedience of the nation (Dt 28:12).  But the opposite was true as well.  When the rain was turned to dust, it was because Israel had violated their covenant, and this was their just reward (Dt. 28:24).  Rain was a blessing because it would water the crops, refresh the land, and generally cleanse it.  The point here was that Israel did not deserve that blessing from God.  They deserved the drought & all of the impurities that came with it, for they were already impure.
  • What was the result?  Dangerous false religion.  Vs. 25…

25 The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. 26 Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27 Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain.

  • Danger of false prophets.  How bad is false teaching/prophecy in the eyes of God?  It is “like a roaring lion tearing the prey” – which is, interestingly enough, basically the same description Peter gives of the devil’s attacks on Christians today (1 Pt 5:8).  What false prophets (and the likely corollary today, false teachers) do is downright satanic.  People die from false teaching…literally.  In Ezekiel’s day, false prophets kept people from the truth of God & they died at the hands of the Babylonians.  Today, false teachers keep people from the truth of the gospel & they die in their sins, believing in a false god or false Jesus.  The lying teachers lead people astray, teaching them to trust themselves, that they can be their own gods, and their lies make many miss out on the gospel of salvation.  False prophets of Ezekiel’s day stole “treasure & precious things” – false teachers of today bilk people out of their life-savings.  It’s despicable & dangerous, and God points it out for what it is.
  • Danger of defiled priests.  Whether these priests were merely ignorant of God’s commandments, or they chose to ignore the word of God, the result was the same.  Like the false prophets, they led people astray.  They themselves did not distinguish holiness from wickedness, so how could they teach others to do so?  The priests of God had a responsibility to know and act according to God’s word, and they neglected to do so, defiling themselves in the process.  Many supposed pastors (at least in name/title) do the same thing.  They throw around the word of God while on the platform without having the slightest clue as to what it says.  They do not dedicate themselves to the study of the Scripture, and cannot distinguish between the truth of God & the lies of the world.  And again, God sees it & condemns it.
  • Danger of evil princes.  The civic leaders of Jerusalem were just as bad as the religious ones.  They sought to oppress others & were described by God as “wolves tearing the prey.”  They looked out for themselves alone, and were dangers to God’s sheep, rather than acting as protectors of them.  And again, much the same could be said of today’s political leaders.  We do not live in the nation of Israel, but we do have a leadership class consumed with power & self-advancement.
  • Those are the major categories of people, but God’s not done detailing their dangerous sin.  Vs. 28…

28 Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD had not spoken. 29 The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.

  • The prophets had lied & tried to cover up the truth.  God had told the people many times in the past what the results & consequences of their sin would be.  But the false prophets didn’t want to hear that message, so they changed it.  They lied & made up “false visions” and other supposed prophecies that they believed the people wanted to hear.  As God pointed out in Ch. 13, they used “untampered mortar” – or whitewash – to cover over the sins that God truly condemned.  They made it look good in the eyes of the people without doing/saying anything to truly fix the problem.
    • What was true of the false prophets of Jerusalem is true of the end-times today.  Paul warned of the day in which people would heap up teachers for themselves that would merely tickle their itching ears, rather than desire sound doctrine. (2 Tim 4:3)  No doubt that time has surely come.
  • In the end, the general populace was no better, with people committing all kinds of evil themselves – much of which was stated earlier in Ch. 22 in the 1st message.  Just as their leaders oppressed them, they oppressed others.  They mistreated the poor, and engaged in their own sin.  Much blame could be placed at the feet of the civic & religious leadership, but the people were not innocent of sin.  They likewise deserved the full, unfettered judgment of God.
  • The whole picture is of a city devoid of godliness.  It was a city intended to be devoted to God & His right worship – but not a person could be found there who actually did so.  In fact, that is God’s next complaint against them.  Vs. 30…

30 So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.

  • God not only wanted a worshipper, but He wanted an intercessor!  He wanted someone to truly help the city by pleading for its people.  The prophets, priests, princes, and people had sinned & sinned a lot – where was someone who would sacrifice on their behalf?  Where was someone who might fall to their knees before God and beg Him for mercy?  When the Hebrews sinned at the base of Mount Sinai by building a golden calf of worship, God was ready to destroy them until Moses spoke up in intercession.  Moses would have rather himself been blotted out of God’s book than to have Israel destroyed (Exo 32:32).  When God revealed to Abraham that He was on His way to destroy Sodom, Abraham pleaded with God on behalf of the sinners, knowing that the Judge of all the earth would do what is right (Gen 18:25).  These were intercessors – these were men willing to make a wall & stand in the gap on the behalf of others who surely did not deserve it.  Where were the Abrahams & Moseses now?  Where were the intercessors?
  • None was found.  Question: “What about Jeremiah – or Ezekiel himself?  Surely they were righteous men who pleaded for Israel!”  Ezekiel didn’t count because he wasn’t actually in the city at the time.  God was searching for someone in Jerusalem who would “stand in the gap” on behalf of the people.  As for Jeremiah, he had been forbidden by God to pray for his people (Jer 11:14).  There’s no doubt he grieved over their sin & punishment (re: the entire book of Lamentations!) – but in the process of Jeremiah’s actual ministry, God restricted him from praying for Jerusalem.  God had decreed their punishment, and His prophet was supposed to speak forth God’s judgment to the people; not plead to God on their behalf.  That said, it’s not like Jeremiah was the only person in Jerusalem who knew how to pray.  Jeremiah was restricted by God due to Jeremiah’s role; no one else had any such restriction.  Anyone else could have sought the Lord in prayer…yet no one did.  Not a single person outside of the true prophetic ministry either (1) cared enough for his/her neighbors to pray for them, or (2) feared God enough to seek Him in prayer in the first place.  How sad!  The writing for Jerusalem’s destruction was on the wall (figuratively speaking), and yet not a single person in the city of God chose to plead to God in prayer.  Not a single intercessor could be found.
    • I wonder if we have intercessors today?  Do Christians (1) care enough about our neighbors to plead to God on their behalf, asking for their salvation?  Or (2) fear God enough in reverent worship to trust that God would actually do something if we but prayed?  We are happy to pray for our meals & for our day – we are quick to pray God’s blessing upon ourselves, even trust Him for healings – but how often do we stand in the gap for those who are lost?  How often do we stand in the gap on behalf of the Church which so often (it seems) loses its way?  How often do we plead with all our beings for those who are lost & headed for hell?  We pass them every day on the highway or in the grocery store & think nothing of them…and that’s the problem.  They need someone to think of them, and to pray on their behalf.  They don’t know what it is they face – they have no idea how lost they are (or they’ve blinded themselves to it)…but we do.  We who know ought to act.  We need to pray for them – to plead for them & with them that they might turn to God, and that God might bring them to faith in Christ.
  • We have an Intercessor!  In fact, we have two.  The Bible specifically tells us that two out of three members of the Trinity stand in the gap for us as Christians.  (1) The Spirit, who prays for us. Romans 8:26, "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."  (2) The Lord Jesus, who stands pleading for us to God.  1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus," No one intercedes for us better than He!  Should we pray for one another?  Undoubtedly – but we have a wonderful Intercessor in God!  He is our ultimate Advocate!

31 Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord GOD.

  • With no intercessor, all that was left for Israel was the full wrath of God.  They had none to stand in the gap of their behalf, thus the “fire of [God’s] wrath” would consume them.  This was their own fault, due to their own deeds.  Their repeated sin against God had led them to this point, and His wrath was all they had left to face.

Conclusion:
Without Jesus as our Mediator – without the Spirit praying for us – what else would we have to face either?  We also would be consumed with the fire of God’s wrath!  Our sin is defiling – it’s dross – it’s dangerous – it leads us to a place of utter destruction.  And we should be destroyed!  The only thing that prevents this is the Person who has stood in the gap for us: the Lord Jesus Christ.  He intervened in the way that only He can, not only staving off the anger of God for a time, but fully satisfying the anger of God for all time.  Through His work of intercession, we are forever saved!

From Ezekiel’s prophecies, for a time, Israel got what it deserved.  Thankfully, it didn’t remain that way as there was (and is) still a promise of grace for Israel.  We await the day they will eventually come to faith in Christ, and we can finally rejoice with them as co-heirs in the kingdom.  But at the time, they rightly fell under God’s judgment.  They had made their bed, and it was time to lie down in it.

Do we get what we deserve?  No.  Praise God, no we do not!  Even when we experience the discipline of God, we don’t truly get all that we deserve – just a taste of the consequences of our sin.  God mercifully shields us from so much more.  But we dare not take His mercies for granted.  May we stay humble – may we keep our eyes ever on Jesus, never forgetting Him – may we remain broken hearted for the lost, praying that they may know the same mercy & love that we have received.

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