Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 589 · 2 months ago

The Day of Death (Ezekiel 24)

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Ezekiel 24

... as well, I'm indeed you open to ups the gates of righteousness and allow us to enter in. You give us the strength to enter in, you give us hearts that desire to enter in in. This, of course, is a marvelous thing, because, apart from you and your light in our lives, we would remain in the cages and slavery of our own sin, we would remain hiding from you in the light, clinging to the death they that we deserved. But you have softened our hearts and have allowed us to see, even sometimes through great trials and difficulties, you have opened our minds to know the truth of your love, of your strength, that you might become our song and salvation. And so we asked that you would continue to do that work in us this evening, perfecting and strengthening us, until the day of the return of the Lord Jesus. We ask now that you would help us to give attention to your word, and we pray this in Jesus name. And if you're made able to remain standing, please do. And let's turn to Ezechiel twenty four, in the ninth year, in the Tenth Month, on the Tenth Day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me. Son Of man, write down the name of this day, this very day, the King of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem, this very day, and utter a parable to the rebellious house, and say to them, thus says the Lord God, set on the pot, set it on, pour in water. Also, put in it the pieces of meat, all the good pieces, the thigh and the shoulder. Fill it with choice bones. Take the choicest one of the flock. Pile the logs under it, boil it well, seethe. Also its bones in it. Therefore, thus says the Lord God, woe to the bloody city, to the plot whose corrosion is in it and whose corrosion has not gone out of it. Take out of it, peace after peace, without making any choice, for the blood she has shed in is in her midst. She put it on the bare rock. She did not pour it out on the ground to cover it with dust. To rouse my wrath, to take vengeance,...

I have set on the bare rock the blood she has shed, that it may not be covered. Therefore, thus, as the Lord God, woe to the bloody city. I also will make the pile great heap on the logs, kindle the fire, boil the meat well, mix in the spices and let the bones be burned up. Then set it emptied on upon the coals that it may become hot and it's copper may burn, that it's unclean uncleanness may be melted in it, it's corosion consumed. She has wearied herself with toil. It's abundant corrosion does not go out of it into the fire with its corrosion, on account of Your Unclean, lewdness, because I would have cleansed you and you were not cleansed from your uncleanness. You shall not be cleansed anymore till I have satisfied my fury upon you. I am the Lord, I have spoken. It shall come to pass. I will do it. I will not go back, I will not spare, I will not relent. According to your ways and your deeds, you will be judged, declares the Lord God. The word of the Lord came to me. Son Of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke. Yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down, sigh, but not allowed. Make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban and put on your shoes. Put your shoes on your feet. Do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men. But I so. I spoke to the people in the morning. Or sorry, so I spoke to the people in the morning and at evening my wife died, and on the next morning I did as I was commanded. And the people said to me, will you not tell us what these things mean for us, that you are acting thus? Then I said to them the word of the Lord came to me. Say to the House of Israel, thus says the Lord, God behold, I will profane, I will profane my sanctuary. The pride of your power, the delight of your eyes and the yearning of your soul, and your sons and your daughters, whom you left behind, shall fall by the sword, and you shall do as I have done. You shall not cover your lips nor eat the bread of men. Your Turbans shall be on your heads and your shoes on your feet. You shall not mourn or weep, but you shall rot away in your iniquities and grown to one another. Thus shall Iseek, you'll be a sign to you. Be To you a sign according to all that he has done, you shall do when this comes, then you will know that I am the Lord God. As for you, son of Man, surely on the day when I take from them their stronghold, their...

...joy and glory, the delight of their eyes and their soul's desire, and also their sons and daughters, on that day, a fugitive will come to you to report to you the news. On that day, your mouth will be open to the fugitive and you shall speak and be no longer mute. So you will be assigned to them and they will know that I am the Lord. May God bless his word to us. He may be seated. So as we come to is echial twenty four, we come to that moment, that event in history, that is equel has been talking about for some time. Indeed, the Lord has been talking about through other prophets for quite a long time, even as far back as the golden calves being made at the foot of Mount Sinai, or the people coming into the land, and during Joshua and in the time of the judges, there has been a constant competition between their in in their hearts for God and the Gods of this world. And God has proven over and over and over again that he alone is the one true God, be he alone is the living God, that he alone is the one who must be obeyed, must be worshiped and served above all others. And yet, despite his constant patience, despite his many reminders, despite the prophets and the examples and the heroes and the victories, the amazing provisions and the miraculous events, despite the warnings and the discipline, all again, over again and again and again, the people have not listened, they have not softened their hearts, they have not turned to the Lord. And so, as he has promised on, their iniquity has stacked up and now he will judge, as he has promised he will do. This judgment upon Jerusalem is described in a parable and the first part of the chapter, and I'd like to just explain it to you in case you miss some of the that the specifics here. The Lord says to Ezekiel that Jerusalem is like a pot, a pot with corrosion in it. I'm Jerusalem is the city that is not pure. It has a problem, and what God is going to do to fix the pot and and to judge those in the city. Is he he calls the pot to be set and the people to be put in the pot. God is pure rifying them in his judgment. The waters...

...in the pot signify these waters of judgment, and this is what he says in it. In like for is in verse six. Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose corrosion is in it and whose corrosion has not gone out of it. Take out of it peace after peace, without make any any choice. This likely refers to the fact that Jerusalem, the people of Jerusalem, were taken out of the city bit by bit. Remember that Ezekiel is at this moment in Babylon. He's not in Jerusalem. He's seeing these things, he's hearing these things about what's happening in this far away place, because of course the Lord sees all and the Lord knows all. He tells this to Ezekiel among the exiles. There they are, some of those who have already been removed. But God is going to continue to boil, boil the bones and the meat of the stew. He's going to judge his people until the problem is gone, even so far as the burn bones may be burned up. This likely speaks to a long and difficult trial. I don't think I've ever boiled anything long enough for the bones to be boiled up. Usually right if you have a you know, leftover Turkey carcass or something like that, you know you put it and you boil things away. But the image here is that God will keep going and going and going until even of the bones undergone, and then even when the bones are gone, he will take the empty pot and put it on the fire until the the corrosion in the uncleanness is melted away, the corrosion is consumed, as we have seen in this book. And we must always remember the Lord is right in all of this. We've sung many songs and seeing passages of scripture, just this evening, about the goodness of the Lord, the the everlasting and steadfast love of the Lord, his his strength and perfecting on power and people's lives, on the ways that he continues to save us over and over and over again. Israel, though, has not listened, refused to listen. It's described in many places here. It's described in verse twelve. As she is wearied herself with Toil, the toil of sin. She's so she's sinned so much, so hard, so long, that she's even tired from it. It's so sticky to the city, so sticky to this pot, that it requires this ex this exceeding amount of judgment to fix this problem. Sin Has...

...gone so deep into the city, so deep into the people, into this pot itself, that it it takes a lot of work to fix the problem. God has offered chances for forgiveness, he's offered opportunities to be cleansed. He says in verse thirteen, I would have cleansed you, and you were not cleansed from your uncleanness, uncleanness. Why were they not cleans because they did not repent, they did not turn, they did not listen. Despite his warnings, despite his pleadings, despite the examples and the prophets and encouragements of all kinds. You will know, he says that I am the Lord, God will not be mocked, and we must meditate on this. We must our world and our hearts. The Devil himself would have us to be constantly distracted from this fact, constantly busy about other things, thinking that other things are more important, that God is someone who can be ignored or not not paid attention to. That we can pretty much do what I want, what he what we want, that he won't mind. He does mind, he does care. He is good, after all, and a good God cares about good things. He wants us to know this, he wants us to remember it, and he promises, and Jesus promises and speaks to this off and that there will come a day, at the day of his return, when all the world will be judged like this and, worse all the world, every single human heart that has ever lived will be judged, and that should be a fearful thing. If it's not, you're not hearing the word of the Lord and you are being exactly like this rebellious house that says another day, another time, not a big deal. But God is serious. Verse Fourteen, he says I am the Lord, he is the great king, he will not relent. He has spoken. It shall come to pass. And we all know authorities in our lives, bosses, parents, governors, rulers of various kinds, who promise that they will do something and then not really be able to do it, not really have the power to do it, not have the will to do it, and not have the resources to do it. You know, talk is cheap, talk is never...

...cheat with God. He's the one, after all, who speaks things into existence. He is the one who speaks this word to Israel and through through Ezekiel, he's the one who is creating these signs, he's the one who's doing all of these things, and this is the word of judgment that comes to them in the second part of Ezekiel Twenty Four. Another sign happens, and you remember that Ezekiel has been to them a sign. This is expressed in Verse Twenty Four. Thus shall Ezekiel be to you a sign. God has used the prophet and his own life to show to them certain things, to be a picture of certain things, and it's not just a picture that you draw our talk about, but these are actual things that happen in his luck, excuse me, in his life, that the Lord then uses. And here the Lord uses this tragic thing, the death of his own wife that he delights in, that he loves. He says, son of Man. This is verse sixteen. I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke, in a moment. And then he tells him that his reaction is to not mourn. This is what he's going to require of you. Can you even imagine receiving this command, not only to have the your wife, taken away from you, like like job's children and other things were taken away from him, but then to say to job or something like that, and I don't want you to mourn, do not mourn, and he gives a very, very specific things about that. Don't cover your mouth, don't take your hat off, your turban, don't even don't take the shoes off your feet. These are other signs of mourning. Right to bear one's head, to take off the shoes, to put on sackcloth and ashes these. Keep your clothes on, keep everything as they are, go about your business. Sigh, he says in verse Seventeen. But not allowed. Make no mourning for the dead. Our emotions are difficult to control, but this is one of those really hard places that remind us that sometimes God tells us to control them, even when it's really, really hard...

...and will be. And Ezekiel, in his obedience, did exist exactly this, so that at the death of his wife, no reaction on the part of Isekiel. Or sorry, he says in verse eighteen. He tells this to the people. In the morning, his wife dies in the evening, just as the Lord has said. Remember, the Lord is powerful, he speaks and he does as he wills. He does not react. And then on the next morning the people verse Nineteen Come to me, came to him and said, what's going on? You're not mourning, you're not sad that your wife has just died and you're not reacting. Why is this? And then he tells them it's not out of hardness in his heart, but it is the word of the Lord that says that when he takes the delight of their eyes, namely the temple in particular, in the city in general, when he lays siege on the city and brings it all to an end like thorns in the fire, when he does this, that they also will not mourn, that they will not mourn, and they will not mourn because they don't care, but because something inwardly is really wrong. And I'm not exactly sure how to describe it, but in verse twenty three is described this way. You shall rod away in your iniquities and grown to one another. Now we do know that there was groaning. That happen we have a whole book called lamentations about this event and the morning and the the the crying out that happened at that time. But these people in Babylon, something about this event and part of God's judgment on the city that's farther away and also on the people that have already been taken out of the pot and are now in Babylon. Something about his judgment is going to Pon that, come upon them in such a way that when they hear this news, it's going to just rock them away from the inside that they just sort of go about their own business and they're just hurting. And thus, Ezekiel shall be assigned to you. As for you, this is verse Twenty Five, son of man, surely on the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy and glory, the delight of their eyes and their souls desire and their sons and their daughters, on that day a fugitive will come and report to you the news. So this day, right when when Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, comes into Jerusalem lay sees on the city, someone's going to get out and run and on that day they are going to receive the news that what Ezekiel has...

...said, they will have testimony from another person that it's happened right. So God is going to confirm the word of his prophet with yet another sign of his providence and his work. On that day, then your mouth will be opened to the fugitive and you shall speak in no longer be mute. You will be assigned to them and they will know that I am the Lord. So in these signs and his ekiels actions, in the work of the the destruction of the city, God is showing over and over to the people that remain in Babylon that he is the Lord. So what lessons do we take from this, beyond the things we've already considered? One of them is this just because God is not judging you in the fullness of his wrath, it doesn't mean he's not dealing with you. Sometimes we think that we're getting away with X, or Y or Z because God's not striking us with lightning or destroying our house or whatever it is that he might do, and we think, well, God must not see or God must not care, but that's not true. Yes, there was a judgment that was coming for the city and yes, there's a judgment that is going to come for all the world at the end of time, but that doesn't mean God is absent until then. And how do we see that in this passage? We hear it in his pleadings. We hear it in the past accounts of opportunities for forgiveness. We hear it in the rebellion of the people. We also hear it and see it in the way that he's working with them right now. Right now they're in Bab one, their city is being destroyed, their sons and their daughters are being destroyed. All of these terrible things are happening and God is still speaking to them. He's still talking to them, he's still calling them in many ways to repentance. I you will know that I am the Lord. And in the way that all of this happens, from the prophecies to the work of Ezekiel, to the death of his wife, to the fugitive coming, all of these things, they are reminding us that God sees everything, God knows everything and he is powerful over everything. You're right. Remember a chapter or so back there was this prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar was going to come to Jerusalem and face this choice. Would you go to one place or would he go to another, the other being Jerusalem? These things, they seem...

...random, they seem by chance, but they're not. Nebuchadnezzar's power, Nebuchadnezzar's strength. All of this is happening because of what God is doing. This tragedy in is eekiel's life, the the the death of of this woman. All of this is in the Lord's hands and being used for the Lord's purposes. This puts some poignancy on hymns like we sang earlier. This is for seventy six yeah, when peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll whatever my lot. Thou hast taught me to say it is well, it is well with my soul. Though Satan should buffet, though trial should come, let this blessed Assurance Control that Christ has regarded my helpless estate and has shed his own blood for my soul. One of the amazing things we see here is the obedience of Ze Ezekiel. I can hardly imagine how difficult that would be to have the Lord take your wife and tell you not to mourn as a sign for a people you might be despising, people who are rebellious, people who are not listening, people who were recently removed from Jerusalem itself for all their idolatry and all of these things. That's a trial. How does Ezekiel remain steadfast? How does he not say, Lord, I'm done being a prophet and pull a Jonah, say I'm I'm out. It doesn't say it's not the focus of the chapter, but I think Ezekiel knows what all the Lord's people know, what we sang in that song and what we heard in psalm eighteen. Let me turn back to there and read that to you, verse eighteen, and Psalm One. Eighteen says the Lord has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death. There are hard things we face in this life, but we hold fast to the goodness of the Lord in Remember, in this whole situation, it is not the Lord who is acting unjustly, it is the people. They are the ones who have the obligation to obey and refuse to obey. They are the ones who have the chance to repent and refuse to repent. And yet Ezekiel seems to be doing all the right things. Is Echuel is...

...being obedient. We don't have any sense that his wife was doing anything wrong either, and this reminds us of a second thing I was very important to understand. Sometimes in life, those who trust in the Lord and believe in the Lord, are calling upon the Lord and live for him, will experience, outwardly, what seemed like the very same things that those who do not trust him or follow him experience. Great heartaches, death, loss, shame, dishonor and all kinds of other things. But what's the difference? What's the difference? Even though these experiences, take death, for example, the death of a loved one, what's the difference? Well, in the heart of the rebellious one, the heart of the one who refuses to turn, the refuses to repent, those tragedies are just foretastes of greater and eternal punishment, the boiling that will go and go and go until all is consumed or eternally. But for the one who loves the Lord, what is the Lord Promise? He promises that the those trials and those temptation, not temptations, those trials and those difficulties, those things that we face, are being used to purify us, not to consume US completely, but to take away the draws, to remove the sins that are deep, deep, deep down. And I think Ezekiel understands that, as all the saints of the Lord Do, that we depend on him and we trust him for his goodness and for His grace, that even when we are called to great acts of obedience, things that are seem impossibly difficult, we obey, not because we think that we will somehow be able to earn God's favor through our obedience, but we know that he's strengthening us, he's working in US and he will keep us again. Psalm one hundred and eighteen. The Lord has disciplined severely, but he has not given me over to death, and, of course, eternal death is ultimately what's at play here. When the Lord is working in our lives, when we feel hardship, when we feel discipline, we must look to him and to him alone, and lean on him and trust him. When the Lord is rooting out these things in our lives, let's pay attention to them and look to them and trust him that they are not plunging us...

...into death, but delivering us from them. That is the Lord disciplines us. He disciplines us because he loves US and he will, as the PSALMA says in Verse Nineteen of Psalm One hundred and eighteen, open to me the gates of righteousness that I may enter them and give thanks to the Lord. That's what's going to happen to is Ekiel. That's what's going to happen to all who trust and follow him. The Lord is doing his work in US through trial, through difficulties, but he will bring us through to the other side where the past will seem like nothing, the hardships will seem like nothing compared to the weight of glory that we receive from God. And that happens because of God's grace, this work that he does in our lives, where he helps us to know that he is the Lord and he teaches us. He teaches us that even through the cross, and I'll finish with this, Zekiel bore the signs of God's own work in his body. Yes, in his life. Yes, you know who else did that? Our Savior, our savior in his own life, in his own body, the son of God that came in this world and died for sins. According to the scriptures. If you think of Ezekiel's obedience was hard. Can you imagine Christ, not at one moment but at every moment and his life, being tempted and tried by Satan, the rebelliousness of Israel and all the world, even of me, of you, coming at him full force, and then, ultimately and finally, the wrath of God, in a way that is infinitely more what is than what is described here in his Ekiel twenty four, coming upon him on the cross? Why? One to be assigned to us that God deals with Sins and God forgives sins, as his cousin John said. Here is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, but he's not only a sign, he is also the effective and the powerful word of God who actually brings these things to pass. He is God, this one who judged Jerusalem here judged his own son, not for his own sins,...

...of which he had none, but for our sins and the sins of everyone who would put their faith in him. The Justice of God that is pictured here in his Ecyel twenty four is pictured and poured out to an even greater degree in the Cross of Christ and that's why, when we consider God's all seeing power, when we consider his perfect righteousness, we can consider the things that he's doing in our lives and the way he knows us and how far he knows our sins go down, our lusts, our pride, are impatience, all the hidden things, the doubts, the creeping addictions, all of that. He knows all of that and then, instead of destroying us for all of that, he gives us his son and says, believe on him and you will be saved. That's why the PSALMIST and Psalm one eighteen is running into the sanctu where of God, singing and shouting and praising God's name. That's why we come and we worship and we center our lives around the worship of God. To say, not what my hands have done, but what you have done. You've saved me, you've loved me, you've given me peace, and now I know that whatever trial happens in my life, no matter how hard it is, no matter what obedience you call me to, I can follow you because you will not lead me to death, because you've already endured death for me, that I might not die but might live and praise you forever. The Cross of Christ reveals to us the Justice of God, as is Ekil twenty four does, but it also displays for us the grace of God and gives us a hope of salvation. So my encouragement and exhortation to you, straight from the word of God and the lips of the Lord, is to trust him, believe him, cling to him, so that you might not have to be judged for your sins, but might have them forgiven and washed and cleansed for the glory of his name and the good of your soul forever. Let's pray, Lord. We thank you that before the Great Day of Judgment, this final day, the return of Christ, before before that comes, you have you have disput your judgment on displet display in the world, in our own lives and in the past as...

...an easy Gal twenty four, you have opened us and showed to us the rebellious nature of our hearts, the deceitfulness of sin and how clinging to the externals of religion or the hopes of idols, how these are nothing, no protection, no salvation for us, and that only the forgiveness of our sins can bring us into a place safe enough to no longer be terrified by you, but to be embraced by you and held by you and loved by you, so that we might not shake in terror or mourn or rot away inside, but through the confession of our mouths at through the confession of our sin, by turning and repentance and faith to the Lord Jesus, instead of wasting away in our mourning, we would instead feel the strength of your will and express it in our singing, that we would say, with the Psalmist, that you have become our salvation and that we would hear ourselves and brothers and sisters like us singing those glad songs of salvation, looking to the Cross of Christ and saying, the right hand of the Lord has done valiantly, the right hand of the Lord Exalts. Indeed, we shall not die and we shall live and we shall recount your mighty deeds and know that you are the Lord, because you have known us and loved us even before the foundation of the world and saved us through the great struggle and trial of the Cross of Christ, that we might live in him forever, having our sins forgiven a perfectly in his name. Lord, we thank you for his blood and we thank you for his sacrifice, and we ask that you would help us to cling to him always and always live a life of repentance, trusting in your strength and in your grace. Your scriptures say that you are the author and the perfector of our salvation, and so, Lord, we ask that you would help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and throw aside every weight of sin that clings so closely. We pray this in Jesus thing. Amen.

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