Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ezekiel 32 - More Bad News for Pharaoh

LINK: Ezekiel 32

BACKGROUND

This sixth prophecy against Egypt was given on March 3, 585 B.C. The captives had received news of Jerusalem's fall just two months earlier (33:21). The fall of Egypt was imminent so Ezekiel took up a lament for Pharaoh (Hophra) King of Egypt. Ezekiel had already done laments for Judah (Ezekiel 19), Tyre (26:17-18; 27), and the king of Tyre (28:12-19).

Pharaoh is compared to a sea monster (crocodile) that would be caught in a net and put upon the land where he would die. Ezekiel brings up imagery similar to the ninth plague on Egypt where darkness would cover the land (32:7-8; Exodus 10:21-29). The image of the waters being calm (32:14) muddied by man and beast (32:2, 13) refers to the devastation of Pharaoh's army so that he can no longer "muddy the waters" through international intrigue.

The last of the seven prophecies against Egypt came on March 17, 585 B.C. Egypt and her people would be destroyed. She would be forced to go down in death with "the uncircumcised" (32:19, 21, 24-30, 32) which typically describes a death of shame and defeat (28:10; 31:18). Egypt was mighty, but it would be humbled like all the rest. This section is more poetical and not meant to be a doctrinal treatise on the afterlife, but it does point out that a person cannot change their destiny after death.

Ezekiel mentions several nations in 32:24-27. We have already discussed Assyria and Edom in previous chapters. Elam was a nation of warriors east of Assyria. They were conquered by Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 49:34-39) but regained power and became part of the Persian Empire. Meshech and Tubal were in the eastern region of Asia Minor in present day eastern and central Turkey. They were described as allies of Gog in Ezekiel 38-39. They carried on a long battle with the Assyrians for control of the land south of the Black Sea. The princes of the north were probably princes of the Phoenician city-states who held great maritime power. Along with Egypt, these were all included in the evil nations who would be judged because they fought against God's chosen people.

Whew! This concludes messages of judgment on the seven nations surrounding Judah. The rest of Ezekiel (chapters 33-48) looks ahead to days of comfort and restoration for the Babylonian captives. 

I don't know about you, but I am so happy to be done with this judgment section! I cannot wait to get to the valley of dry bones that comes alive!!!! Stay tuned!

REFLECTION (written in 2009)

While this chapter is not a doctrinal treatise on the afterlife, it does tell us that death is inevitable for all of us. Saturday, my church lost a wonderful family man to melanoma, and our whole congregation mourns. Yet, we know He is with Jesus. For some, this is not true.
Death is the great leveler; and as John Donne reminded us, when the funeral bell tolls, “it tolls for thee.” There are no “kings and commoners” in the land of the dead, and we can’t enter that land in peace and safety without faith in Jesus Christ. “ ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:55–57, nkjv). 
(Wiersbe, W. W. [2000]. Be Reverent [143]) 
Read the whole meditation by John Donne HERE.

APPLICATION

Perhaps you can pray for those in your life who do not place their faith in Jesus Christ. Thank God that death has no sting in your life because of Jesus!

PRAYER

Lord, thank You for the gift of eternity with You through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thank You that we can enjoy peace and life in the Kingdom now because Jesus has made a way for us. We pray for those who do not know that Jesus is the straight path to Your Kingdom. Help us to be sensitive to Your Spirit and boldly share with them, and we ask that You would open their minds and their hearts to hear and receive the Good News. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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