Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 5-8
Today’s Reflection: Ezekiel 6:11-14
11) Thus says the Lord GOD: “Clap your hands and stamp your foot and say, Alas, because of all the evil abominations of the house of Israel, for they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. 12) He who is far off shall die of pestilence, and he who is near shall fall by the sword, and he who is left and is preserved shall die of famine. Thus I will spend my fury upon them. 13) And you shall know that I am the LORD, when their slain lie among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the mountaintops, under every green tree, and under every leafy oak, wherever they offered pleasing aroma to all their idols. 14) And I will stretch out my hand against them and make the land desolate and waste, in all their dwelling places, from the wilderness to Riblah. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”
The prophet Ezekiel was a priest who became part of the Jewish exiles taken into captivity by Babylon. His ministry explained that the cause of Israel and Judah’s destruction was their own sin—in particular repeating the idolatrous sins of the pagan nations surrounding them and breaking their covenant with God.
In response God allowed other nations to attack, defeat, oppress and enslave Israel and Judah and, as Ezekiel prophesied, God would ultimately destroy the centre of Jewish life: the city of Jerusalem, Zion itself.
God also tells us He has a purpose in bringing this destruction against His people: so they would know that He is the Lord.
The history of the Jews told them they were important, special, chosen by God. It chronicled miraculous provision, protection and power from God on their behalf. It said the salvation of the world would come through their ancestry. This was meant to make them grateful to God, humbled by His confidence in them, faithful to follow the examples of Abraham and Moses, and devoted to their mission to the world. And for some Jews, like Ezekiel, it did just this.
But for many of the Jews, it made them arrogant, self-centred, sure in their own righteousness, comfortable in their wealth and power. Many felt they could do whatever they pleased and disregard things like justice, mercy to the poor and complete faithfulness to God.
They acknowledged God, but didn’t behave as if He was their Lord.
So God allowed destruction to come upon them. All of the things they saw as their defense, the signs of their righteousness, the presence of God among them—their wealth, their walled cities, and eventually their temple—were taken away from them. And the reason why was so they could know that they were not the god’s of themselves, but that God was the Lord.
Either we will see God is Lord as we see His power, provision and protection in our lives and accept His transforming presence into our hearths. Or we will see God is Lord when He brings His judgment against us. The choice is yours. Choose wisely.