Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 1 month ago

The Inadequacy of Three Holy Men (Ez 14:12-23)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ezekiel 14:12-23

Zekiel chapter fourteen we'll be reading the last half of thischapter who Eke fourteen verse twelve through the end of the chapter. Let's give our attention to God's word, and the word of the Lord came to me, son of man, when a lamb sins against meby acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break itssupply of bread and send famine upon it and cut off from it man and beast. Evenif these three men know a Daniel and job were in it, they would deliver, buttheir own lives by their righteousness declares the Lord. If I cause wild beasts to pass throughthe land and they ravage it and it be made desolate so that no one may passthrough because of the beasts. Even if these three men were in it. As I live,declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters,they alone would be delivered, but the land would be desolate. Or if I bring a sword upon that landand say let a sword pass through the land and if I cut off from it man andbeast, though these three men were in it. As I live, declares the Lord God,they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they alone would bedelivered or if I send a pestilence into the land and pour out my wrathupon it with blood to cut off from it man and beast, even if Noah, Daniel andjob were in it. As I live, declares the Lord God they would neither they woulddeliver neither son nor daughter they would deliver, but their own lives fortheir by their righteousness. For thus says the Lord God. How muchmore would I send upon Jerusalem? My four disastrous acts of Judgment Sword,famine, wild beasts and pestilence to cut off from it man and beast, butbehold some survivors will be left in it. Sons and daughters will be broughtout behold when they come out to you and you see their ways and their deeds.You will be consoled for the disaster that I have brought upon. Jerusalem,for all that I have brought upon it, they will console you when you seetheir ways and their deeds, and you shall know that I have not done withoutcause all that I have done in. It declares the Lord God he may be seen. If there was a passagein scripture, it was fat all fire and...

Brimstone. This is certainly one ofthem. I can imagine a Zekiel almost yelling. This passage. The rhetoric isso powerful, the parallelisms, as he moves from one to two to three to fourdifferent curses upon the land. If I would do this to the land and no onewould survive not even in this case, as I live, declares the Lord God would anyone survive, except these three men and this one and this one and this one andafter he gets to all the end after he gets to the end, he declares how much more will thesethings fall upon? Jerusalem, this whole chapter and more that we will see is very mucha word of judgment. It is a word of the Lord against a faithless people, apeople who have broken the Covenant, who have broken the things that theyhave promised to do, the obedience that they have promised to give. As the Lord expresses this andimpresses in our heart, he does begin by talking about a hypothetical country.This is the first thing that will consider this hypothetical country we read in verse. Thirteen son of manwent on a land sins against me by acting faithlessly. I will stretch out my hand against itand then the first of these four things break its supply of bread and famine. This hypothetical land is notnecessarily Israel because, as we see in verse, Twenty One when he says howmuch more in Jerusalem right his point is not to talk about Jerusalem here,but just he's saying, imaginal land, which has done so terribly that, as Isend these, that I'm sending these judgments on them and he lists for in this hypotheticalland judged for its grievous sins. The first one is famined leading todeath. We spoke about that a little bit this morning and in light of somethings that were going on in the in the in Corinth, cutting off the food supply people not being able to eat animalsnot being able to eat a leading to death. The next curse after famine leading todeath is wild beasts leading to death right on we. One of the advantages is of livingin a city is the protection from wild beasts. We have strong houses, theWilderness, we go and camp and play in the Wilderness, but for most of humanhistory the wilderness is a dangerous place. It's a place, you don't want togo and if you go there, you don't spend...

...much time, and if you do go there, youyou protect yourself. You take weapons you're on guard. You stand watchbecause it's a dangerous place here. The Lord is talking about a land, apeople, a quote civilized place, which is nowbeing I was going to say wild eyes, butthat's not a word. It's being made wild as these beasts come in and ravage anddestroy it's no longer a safe place. It's returning on its returning to thiswild state famine leading to death, while beastsleading to death sword, leading to death, the ideas of armies and warriorsand people coming in, to put the citizens to death and then finally,plague leading to death disease on passing and spreading, causing one andanother and another to die. We've seen places where the Lord hasput these judgments on people on ways in which the Lord comes with eitherfamine or wild beasts or sword or plague. We think of ways in the scriptures thatare documented of him taking places which have so grievously sinned againstbasic basic laws that he executes his judgment. You think about the whole world in thetime of Noah. You think about Sodom and Gomorah. You think about other examplesand times Egypt included when God sets his people three free by executingthese judgments upon them, and so this hypothetical country is setup and in each of these cases God says. If, if I cause these things to happen,then he says even if these three men were in it and he lists three men NoahDaniel and Joe, even if these three men in it the place this city would not besaved because of their righteousness. Their righteousness would not be enoughto save anyone else, not even their own children. In this we are beginning to learn thatGod, when he judges he judges fairly, hedoesn't want to put to death. He doesn't want to put to death those whohave done well, those who have have obeyed those who have followed him anddone as he has asked. He doesn't even want to put them death if there is, ifthere is some chance in which a mediator could stand in and protect andSave Jeremiah says a similar thing in his in his book. He talks about thejudgment coming upon Jerusalem and Moses and Samuel not even being able tointercede for the people. Remember there was a time when Mosesdid God. After the ten commandments and...

...the making of the Golden Calf, God was going to destroy his people and Moses intercededon their behalf, and God stayed his hand. But here he says that, even if thesethree men were in this place in this hypothetical city, Noah Genesis, sixnine says a righteous man blameless among the people of his time, jove aman offered as an example to Satan of righteousness of Daniel, a man livingin in Babylon, along with his along with his friends there, who held to theword of the Lord and even very difficult circumstances, even onesinvolving and risking his own life, these three men, even if they werethere, this city would not be spared. Why? Because it is so unrighteous because they have strayed Sofar, theyhave disobeyed so much. This is the hypothetical country that is equil through the word of theLord coming to him m speaks of, and then he speaks of a real place and he comes to verse Twenty One, andhe says for thus says the Lord God, how much more when I send upon Jerusalem myfor disastrous acts of judgment, not one but all four sword: Famine, wildbeasts and pestilence to cut off from it man and beast: How much more will it be when he saysthese dreadful judgments? And why will it be worse? You have to ask that's thequestion right if this these this hypothetical country is so awful, whyis Jerusalem the city where God has promised to place his name and dwellwhy there? Why is it so much worse? One implication is because even therighteousness of these three men are not there, because the situation iseven worse other than it was in this hypothetical place that he mentions asbad as it is in this example. It's even worse. He says in Jerusalem. We might add that, unlike the kingdomsof this world, God special kingdom, the Kingdom of Israel was on a specialcovenant with him, a covenant which had been undeclared at Sinai, a covenantwhich was re instituted before they went into Canaan, where they took uponthemselves the blood and they took an oath and they swore allegiance andobedience to God. They said we will do this and if wedon't make all of these curses that are listed here, come upon us...

...in chapter fourteen here in this lasthalf we see God's way of expressing how farIsrael has fallen. The murder rate so high the idolatryrate so high that it's over much like in the days of Noah whenthings had gotten so bad that God said enough enough. This is what was coming for Jerusalem. This is how far they hadfallen, not the end of the chapter. There isthis, as if things weren't dark enough, this dark and sad twist in a way a twist that vindicates God and remindsus of what he is emphasizing here, not only Israel's unrighteousness, buthis righteousness is judge and it comes to us in this way verse. Twenty two we read, but beholdsome survivors will be left in it. This initially gives us a sort of sense ofhope right right, because initially we heard about how, if even these threemen, no one would be left with them, and now he says, but some survivorswill be left. Let me pause here and just remind you of something I wantedto say at the beginning, which is a side bar. Remember that I Egel is not inJerusalem. He is already an exile. Remember at the beginning of ChapterFourteen, these elders, an exile, come to him and other profits and seek thisword. So they are hearing about things that are about to happen in Jerusalem,they're, hearing about these things that will come and what he's saying issome survivors from this event will come. They will come out of Jerusalem to youhere in exile, so that's the the historical situationthat he's talking about here and then listen to what he says now back on ourmain track. He says, and you will see their ways you will see their deeds. You will be consoled for the disasterthat I have brought on Jerusalem and for all that I have brought upon it sothey're going to come out of Jerusalem. These people will come out of Jerusalem,the exiles will see them, the exiles will see them and they will haveconsolation in the righteous judgment of God. They love consolation in thedisaster that has come upon it when they see the deeds and the acts ofthese people verse twenty three. They will console you when you see theirways and see their deeds, and you shall know that I have not done without causeall that I have done in it. In other words, he's not saying you will seethem and you will see. Look I rite yous few. I have spared. In other words yousaying you will see them and you will go well. Of course, he destroyedJerusalem, these few people that are left out ofit, they're horrible, terrible people.

These people will come out and you willsee their deeds and you will see your act and you will say I can understandwhy. God has done what he's done, even in his salvation of these fewpeople, Tho, we will see, God will use that salvation is a way to prove hisrighteous acts. That's how bad things are. God is not saving a few because oftheir righteousness, he's saving a few because of their unrighteousness, notto save them, but to prove to the world in a way on how far Israel had fallen.It's an amazing thing, and it's just and it and it tells us,and it reminds us how deep our sin goes and how much we need- God not just tobe just but are justifier one who who works in US some way somehow to make usas those who would not come under this judgment to make us as those who were innocentto make us people who would not have to fear the righteous wrath of God when we think about the penalties whichcome upon the people, the perfection of his righteous or we come to think aboutthe perfection of God's righteousness in the judgment of God. One of thethings that we come to see is that God does not act in a willy nilly fashion,he's not like the gods of mythology and the gods of idolatry which do this anddo that and it's all capricious and who really knows and half the time they'reacting and sin themselves. Our God is not like that when he comes and the exexercises his justice, he does it perfectly and honestly, this should bea consolation to anyone. Who's ever seen a situation of injustice and youknow been torn apart in their heart. You can think of examples in your ownlife and around the world where we say this thing is terrible. Why is nobody doing anything about this?How can something? How can this continue to happen? Who will make this?Stop? God promises to make it stop? We see that here in Israel, we see itin Noah and he promises that these things are the the rumblings. Thebeginning is the foreshadowing of that great final day when everything and forall time will be accomplished before the judgment, throne, the judgment seedof God, there is coming a time in a day whenJesus returns, when all will be made right and every unfair thing, everyunjust thing, every oppressed person, all of it, the hid and stuff theobvious stuff. It will all be made known, and God will say no more enoughis enough...

...not just for his people here in thistime and place before the whole world and for all time, if your heart's ever been broken, ifyou're hat unfairness and injustice, if your heart is ever ached at will laningto see things set right, know that the Lord will set it right. He tells usthat he does this right here and he promises to do the exactly this at thevery end. These same pictures of his wrath thatare pictured here or also pictured in revelation, is coming the end of time, but there's another a thing that thispoints us to, and that is our salvation, because not only do we see God'sperfect righteousness and judgment poured out in the end of time or inthese for shadowing ways here before the end of time, but we also see God'srighteous judgment poured out on his very own son. Now. Jesus, of course,did none of these things and, if general, but Daniel Anoa riteous Jesuswas infinitely more righteous blameless in every single way, perfectin every single way, not just before men, but before God as well. When Jesus suffered the penalty ofGod's wrath, he didn't suffer it because he owed it or because hedeserved it in some way. He took it as a replacement as a substitute for the sins of you and me when we look at a passage like this orwhen we sing of passages like this and the psalms, and even as we long in someways for the righteous judgment of God that all things will be set right. Wealso ought to think of the cross so that we might not be terrified ofthe judgment to come and know that all judgment has already come for us. Thisrighteous wrath of o God has been poured out on his son on the son of God and he died. He was nailed to a cross, a cursedcross. He was mocked by men and he died. The son of God died, and he did that sothat we would not have to so that when we put our faith in him asour substitute as our mediator, we would go through this judgment, but notpersonally. We would go through this judgment, butthrough him and in him that way we can come out on the other side through himand in him in a resurrection from the dead, we can become like a city rising out ofthe ashes, a temple a holy place, set apart to God in a way that no one couldever imagine a city, a city of the living God that was once destroyed withfamine and pestilence and sword and death on a cross...

...and now rising rising to new and permanent life and as acting as our substitute in thisway, Jesus not only takes upon the drittjudgment of God. Not only does he take upon the the God's execution of hisrighteousness, but he also gives to us his ownrighteousness. He becomes like a job, a Noah, a Daniel except so much better,because he doesn't just save himself. He saves everyone who comes to himthrough faith. He saves not tens or twenties or hundreds or thousands,but millions upon millions of souls and gather this gathers them in to that great heavenly city, thatKingdom of God. When we hear passages like this- and wehear this strong note of judgment, we ought to be warned in our sins. Weought to know that if we do not stand in Jesus Christ, we will stand in thisvery situation. We will stand under the righteous and just judgment of God tothe praise of his glory that he does not link it Sim, but in Jesus Christ and threw hissubstitutionary work on the cross. We can have a different perspective aswell. We can stand before God and sing andrejoice for Thanksgiving in our hearts that we are those who have been savedand we are those who are brought out of judgment not as those who are examplesof exactly why the whole thing was destroyed, but as examples of the newwork that has become begun as Peter puts a new and living stonesout, of which this a temple to a Holy Temple of God will be built when we think of ourselves as peoplethat have come out. I think of yourselves as C as Pete as Paul Talksabout in Colossians as those who have been rescued out of a dominion ofdarkness and brought into the Kingdom of the son of God, and as we consider these things aboutourselves and our work and God's work in the world. Let us fear God and rejoice in God. Letus bow before him and and fill our hearts with his praise and sing of ourrescue of our salvation and of his amazing grace.

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