Day 19: Ezekiel 11:1-25
Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the gate of the house of the Lord that faces east. There at the entrance of the gate were twenty-five men, and I saw among them Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, leaders of the people. The Lord said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who are plotting evil and giving wicked advice in this city. They say, ‘Haven’t our houses been recently rebuilt? This city is a pot, and we are the meat in it.’ Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, son of man.”
Then the Spirit of the Lord came on me, and he told me to say: “This is what the Lord says: That is what you are saying, you leaders in Israel, but I know what is going through your mind. You have killed many people in this city and filled its streets with the dead.
“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: The bodies you have thrown there are the meat and this city is the pot, but I will drive you out of it. You fear the sword, and the sword is what I will bring against you, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will drive you out of the city and deliver you into the hands of foreigners and inflict punishment on you. You will fall by the sword, and I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord. This city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be the meat in it; I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. And you will know that I am the Lord, for you have not followed my decrees or kept my laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you.”
Now as I was prophesying, Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. Then I fell face down and cried out in a loud voice, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! Will you completely destroy the remnant of Israel?” The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, the people of Jerusalem have said of your fellow exiles and all the other Israelites, ‘They are far away from the Lord; this land was given to us as our possession.’
“Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’
“Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’
“They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
Then the cherubim, with the wheels beside them, spread their wings, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. The glory of the Lord went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it. The Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the exiles in Babylonia in the vision given by the Spirit of God. Then the vision I had seen went up from me, and I told the exiles everything the Lord had shown me.
The people of God have been unfaithful. God has continually pleaded with them to be faithful and warned what will happen if they disobey, but they refuse to listen. Now Babylon is threatening to attack them, but they think they are safe in Jerusalem. They tell Ezekiel that they are protected like meat is protected in a covered cauldron. God’s response is that they are not protected like they think and that they are about to be exiled.
God asked his people from the very beginning to be faithful to him and to be a light to the other nations around them, but they rejected him again and again. Instead of influencing the nations around them, they “conformed to the standards of the nations around them.”
This is a convicting message for us, for we too have been called to be a light to the culture around us. Will we choose to stand for righteousness, or will we conform to the standards of our culture? As a community, are we being obedient to God? Are we being faithful to our calling, or like Israel do we feel like we are protected and safe and so we have become lax in our complacency? If Israel suffered the consequences of their disobedience what does that mean for us?
As you consider this passage today, ask God to show you how you have conformed to the standards of our culture and where some change might be necessary.
Justin Lewis | Facilities Director/Young Adult Pastor