Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 8 months ago

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

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ezekiel 14:12-23

Ezekiel chapter fourteen. Will be reading the last half of this chapter, Ezekiel 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 land sends against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, know, a Daniel and job were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord if I cause wild beasts to pass through the land and they ravage it and it be made desolate so that no one may pass through 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 land and say let a sword pass through the land, and if I cut off from it man and beast, 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 be delivered. Or if I send a pestilence into the land and pour out my wrath upon it with blood, to cut off from it man and beast, even if Noah, Daniel and job were in it as I live, declares the Lord God, they would neither do. They would deliver, neither son nor daughter. They would deliver but their own lives, for their by their righteousness. For thus says the Lord God. How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my for disastrous acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild beasts and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast. But behold, some survivors will be left in it, sons and daughters who will be brought out. 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 see their ways and their deeds, and you shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, declares the Lord God. He may be seated. If there...

...was a passage in scripture, it was fought all fire and brimstone. This is certainly one of them. I can imagine Ezekiel almost yelling this passage, the rhetoric is so powerful, the parallelisms as he moves from one to two, to three to four different curses upon the land. If I would do this to the land and no one would 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. And after he gets to all the end, after he gets to the end, he declares, how much more will these things fall upon Jerusalem? This whole chapter, and more that we will see, is very much a word of judgment. It is a word of the Lord against a faithless people, a people who have broken the Covenant, who have broken the things that they have promised to do, the obedience that they have promised to give. As the Lord expresses this and impresses 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 Man went, a land sends against me by acting faithlessly, I will stretch out my hand against it. And then the first of these four things, break its supply of bread and famine. This hypothetical land is not necessarily Israel because, as we see in verse twenty one when he says how much more in Jerusalem, right, his point is not to talk about Jerusalem here, but just he's saying, imagine a land which is done so terribly that as I send these that I'm sending these judgments on them. And he lists for in this hypothetical land judged for its grievous sins. The first one is famine leading to death. We spoke about that a little bit this morning and in light of some things that we're going on in the in the in Corinth, cutting off the food supply, people not being able to eat, animals not being able to eat, leading to death. The next curse after famine leading to death, is wild beasts leading to death. Right we one of the advantages is of living in a city is be protection from wild beast. We have strong houses the the wilderness. We go in camp and play in the Wilderness. But for most of human history the wilderness is a dangerous place. It's a place you don't want to go and if you go there you don't spend much time. And if you do...

...go there, you you protect yourself, you take weapons, you're on guard, you stand watch, because it's a dangerous place. Here. The Lord is talking about it land, a people, a quote, civilized place which is now being that's going to say wild eyes, but that's not a word. It's being made wild as these beasts come in and ravage and destroy. It's no longer a safe place. It's returning on its returning to this wild state. Famine leading to death, wild beasts leading to death, sword leading to death, the ideas of armies and warriors and people coming in to put the citizens to death, and then finally, plague leading to death, disease passing and spreading, causing one and another and another to die. We've seen places where the Lord has put these judgments on people. I'm ways in which the Lord comes with either famine or wild beasts or sword or plague. We think of ways in the scriptures that are documented of him taking places which have so grievously sinned against basic, basic laws that he executes his judge. And you think about the whole world in the time of Noah Im. You think about Sodom and Gomorah, you think about other examples and times, Egypt included, when God sets his people three free by executing these judgments upon them. And so this hypothetical country is set up. 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, Noah, Daniel and Joe, even if these three men in it the place, this city, would not be saved because of their righteousness, their riotousness, would not be enough to save anyone else, not even their own children. In this we are beginning to learn that God, when he judges, he judges fairly. He doesn't want to put to death. He doesn't want to put to death those who have done well, those who have have obeyed, those who have followed him and done as he has asked. He doesn't even want to put them death if there is, if there is some chance in which a mediator could stand in and protect and safe. Jeremiah says a similar thing in his in his book he talks about the judgment coming upon Jerusalem and Moses and Samuel not even being able to intercede for the people. Remember, there was a time when Moses did God, after the Ten Commandments and the making of the Golden Calf, God was going to destroy his...

...people and Moses interceded on their behalf and God stayed his hand. But here he says that even if these three men were in this place, in this hypothetical city, Noah, genesis six nine, says, a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, job, a man offered as an example to Satan of righteousness. I'm Daniel, a man living in in Babylon, along with his along with his friends there, who held to the word of the Lord, and even very difficult circumstances, even ones involving and risking his own life, these three men, even if they were there this city, would not be spared. Why? Because it is so unrighteous, because they have strayed so far, they have disobeyed so much. This is the hypothetical country that Ezechuel, through the word of the Lord coming to him, speaks of. And then he speaks of a real play lace and he comes to verse Twenty One and he says, for thus says the Lord God, how much more when I send upon Jerusalem my for disastrous acts of judgment, not one but all, for Sword, famine, wild beasts and pestilence, to cut off from it, man and beast. How much more will it be when he says these dreadful judgments? And why will it be worse? You have to ask. That's a question. Right. If this these this hypothetical country, is so awful, why is Jerusalem, this city where God has promised to place his name and dwell, why there? Why is it so much worse? One implication is because even the righteousness of these three men are not there, because the the situation is even worse than it was in this hypothetical place that he mentions. As bad as it is in this example, it's even worse, he says, in Jerusalem. We might add that, unlike the kingdoms of this world, God's special kingdom, the Kingdom of Israel, was an a special covenant with him, a covenant which had been, I'm declared at Sinai, a covenant which was reinstituted before they went into Canaan, where they took upon themselves the the blood, and they took an oath and they swore allegiance and obedience to go odd. They said, we will do this and if we don't, make all these curses that are listed here come upon us in chapter fourteen. Here, in this last half,...

...we see God's way of expressing how far Israel has fallen. The murder rate so high, the idolatry rate so high, that it's over, much like in the days of Noah, when things had gotten so bad that God said enough enough. This is what was coming for Jerusalem. This is how far they had fallen. Not The end of the chapter, there's this, as if things weren't dark enough, this dark and sad twist, in a way, a twist that vindicates God and reminds us of what he is emphasizing here. Not only Israel's unrighteousness, but his righteousness. Is Judge, and it comes to us in this way. Verse Twenty Two, we read, but behold, some survivors will be left in it. This initially gives us a sort of sense of hope. Right, right, because initially we heard about how, if even these three men, no one would be left with them, and now he says, but some survivors will be let me pause here and just remind you of something I wanted to say at the beginning, which is so sidebar. Remember that Ezekiel is not in Jerusalem. He is already in exile. Remember, at the beginning of Chapter Fourteen, these elders and exile come to him and other prophets and seek this word. 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 is some survivors from this event will come. They will come out of Jerusalem to you here in exile. So that's the historical situation that he's talking about here. And then what? Listen to what he says. Now back on our main track, he says, and you will see their ways, you will see their deeds, you will be consoled for the disaster that I have brought on Jerusalem and for all that I have brought upon it. So here's they'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 have consolation in the righteous judgment of God. They will have consolation in the disaster that has come upon it when they see the deeds and the acts of these people verse twenty three. They will console you when you see their ways and see their deeds and you shall know that I have not done without cause, all that I have done UN in it. In other words, he's not saying you will see them and you will see, look, a righteous few I have spared. In other words, he's saying you will see them and you will go well, of course he destroy Jerusalem. These few people that are left out of it. They're horrible, terrible people. These people will come out and you will...

...see their deeds and you will see your acts and you will say, I can understand why God has done what he's done. Even in his salvation of these few people, we will see God will use that salvation as a way to prove his righteous acts. That's how bad things are. God is not saving a few because of their righteousness. He's saving a few because of their unrighteousness, not to 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 end and it tells us and it reminds us how deep our sin goes and how much we need God not just to be just but are justifier, one who who works in US some way, somehow to make us, as those who would not come under this judgment, to make us as those who were innocent, to make us people who would not have to fear the righteous wrath of God. When we think about the penalties which come upon the people, the perfection of his righteous or we come to think about the perfection of God's righteousness in the judgment of God, one of the things 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 and do that and it's all capricious and who really knows, and half the time they're acting in sin themselves. Our God is not like that. When he comes and he excess exercises his justice, he does it perfectly and honestly. This should be a consolation to anyone who's ever seen a situation of injustice and, you know, been torn apart in their heart. You can think of examples in your own life and the 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 it and Noah, and he promises that these things are the the rumblings, the beginning is the foreshadowing of that great final day when everything and for all time will be accomplished before the judgment throne, the judgment seed of God. There is coming a time and a day when Jesus returns, when all will be made right and every unfair thing, every unjust thing, every oppressed person, all of it, the hid and stuff, the obvious stuff, it will all be made known and God will say no more, enough is enough,...

...not just for his people here in this time and place, before the whole world and for all time. If your heart's ever been broken, if you are hot at unfairness and injustice, if your heart is ever ached at will on and to see things set right, know that the Lord will set it right. He tells us that he does this right here and he promises to do the exactly this at the very end. These same pictures of his wrath that are pictured here are also pictured in revelation. is coming the end of time. But there's another why thing that this points us to, and that is our salvation, because not only do we see God's perfect righteousness and judgment poured out in the end of time or in these foreshadowing ways here before the end of time, but we also see God's righteous judgment poured out on his very own son. Now, Jesus, of course, did none of these things. And if gentle but damn anual and Noah were righteous, Jesus was infinitely more righteous, blameless in every single way, perfect in every single way, not just before men but before God as well. When Jesus suffered the penalty of God's wrath, he didn't suffer it because he would owed it or because he deserved 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, or when we sing of passages like this in the psalms and even as we long in some ways for the righteous judgment of God that all things will be set right, we also ought to think of the cross, so that we might not be terrified of the judgment to come and know that all judgment has already come for us. This righteous wrath of God has been poured out on his son, on the son of God, and he died. He was nailed to a cross, a cursed cross, he was mocked by men and he died. The son of God died, and he did that so that we would not have to so that, when we put our faith in him as our substitute, as our mediator, we would go through this judgment, but not personally. We would go through this judgment but through him and in him. That way we can come out on the other side, through him and in him, in a resurrection from the dead. We can become like a city rising out of the ashes, a temple, a holy place set apart to God in a way that no one could ever imagine, a city, a city of the Living God, that was once destroyed with famine 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 this way, Jesus not only takes upon the drighteous and just judgment of God, not only does he take upon the God's execution of his righteousness, but he also gives to us his own righteousness. 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 him through faith. He saves not tens, we're s, or hundreds or thousands, but millions upon millions of souls and gather the gathers them in to that great heavenly city, that Kingdom of God. When we hear passages like this and we hear this strong note of judgment, we ought to be warned in our ends. We ought to know that if we do not stand in Jesus Christ, we will stand in this very situation. We will stand under the righteous and just judgment of God, to the praise of his glory that he does not wink its Sim but in Jesus Christ and through his substitutionary work on the cross, we can have a different perspective as well. We can stand before God and singing and rejoice with Thanksgiving in our hearts that we are those who have been saved and we are those who are brought out of judgment, not as those who are examples of exactly why the whole thing was destroyed, but his examples of the new work that has become begun, as Peter puts it, new and living stones out of which this temple, to the Holy Temple of God, will be built. When we think of ourselves as people that have come out. Think of yourselves as called as Pete, as Paul Talks about in Colossians, as those who have been rescued out of a dominion of darkness and brought into the Kingdom of the son of God. And as we consider these things about ourselves and our work and God's work in the world, let us fear God and rejoice in God. Let us bow before him and and fill our hearts with his praise and sing of our rescue, of our salvation and of his amazing grace.

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