Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ezekiel 13-15: Condemnation

LINK: Ezekiel 13-15 

BACKGROUND

Ezekiel 13 

This is the third message regarding the certainty of the coming judgment. In this chapter, God condemns the false prophets and prophetesses who were proclaiming peace when Jeremiah was prophesying destruction. They gave the people a false sense of security. They were bending the truth in order to be popular. Their lies were compared to "whitewashed flimsy walls." 

The people had been warned to listen to the prophets whom God had raised up (Deuteronomy 18:18), but there were serious consequences for false prophets (Deuteronomy 13:1-5, 18:15-22). 

Again, note the number of times God says, "That you may know that I am the Lord." 

Ezekiel 14 

This is the third message regarding the certainty of the coming judgment. In this chapter, God condemns idolatry. When the elders came to meet Jeremiah while confined to his house (3:24), Ezekiel condemned them for worshiping idols in their hearts and daring to come to him for advice. 

Ezekiel refers to three great men of God who were known for their devotion to God and for their wisdom: Noah, Daniel, and Job (Genesis 6:8, 9; Daniel 2:47, 48; Job 1:1), pointing out that these men could only save themselves and their personal righteousness could not save others.

Daniel was still alive during Ezekiel's time but had been taken into captivity eight years before Ezekiel was taken captive. At the time Ezekiel prophesied, Daniel had a high government position in Babylon. 

Some scholars believe the Daniel referred to by Ezekiel is a mythical Dan'el from Ugaritic texts. He was a righteous ruler and judge who could not protect his sons from the wrath of the goddess Anat. But why would Ezekiel use an idolatrous myth to condemn idolatry? Also, there is no evidence that this story was known to the Jews. So, most scholars favor the view that it is the Daniel in the Bible. 

Ezekiel 15 

This short chapter contains the first of three parables of judgment for Judah in Ezekiel 15-17. This parable is about a useless vine that became more useless after being burned. The people of Jerusalem were useless to God because of their idolatry, and so they would be destroyed and their city burned. Isaiah also compared Israel to a vineyard in Isaiah 5:1-8. 

REFLECTION 

It is so easy to condemn the Israelites for worshiping idols, but we all have idols in our hearts. Some of our idols might be reputation, acceptance, popularity, wealth, sensual pleasure or even wanting our kids to behave or be popular. A good definition of an idol is someone or something, other than God, we set as the object of our heart's devotion. 

APPLICATION

What are your idols? I have recommended the article below, and I will recommend it again. If you have not read it yet, I heartily encourage you to do so: 

The Progression of an Idol

PRAYER

Lord, may we set our heart to make You the only object of our devotion. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. 
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