KNOWING GOD IN HIS GLORY
Getting Ready For Judgment
Jerry A Collins
P Why should we fear the judgment of God?
P Is Godís delay of judgment a denial of it?
P How should Godís judgment motivate us?
When you meet a person who begins to understand his depravity, seek or fear God, you know that God is at work in him. For those who do not, the Bible says only no one is good, no one understands, no one seeks God, none fear God (Romans 3:10-18). People do not naturally fear God. People do not want to fear God because of their commitment to their own autonomy and they do not want to have to give an account for their behavior. If you understand that there are eternal consequences for earthly, temporal behavior, even for those secure in Christ, you will fear. Gods grace does not eliminate accountability to Him. For the nation of Israel, God had made it abundantly clear that they should fear Him as their God. Not only because God commanded it but because fear inspires obedience. God commanded Israel You shall not fear other gods, nor bow down yourselves to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them. But the LORD who brot you up from the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm, Him shall you fear and to Him you shall bow down yourselves and to Him you shall sacrifice (2 Kings 17:35-36). The one thing God required, His people failed to apply. As a result, all they had left to fear now was Godís impending judgment. Ezekiel is commissioned by God to deliver the news.
1. IT IS USELESS TO ATTEMPT AVOIDING GODS JUDGMENT OF OUR SIN† 12:1-16
We begin a series of 17 explanations of judgment thru signs, messages and parables which take us up to chp 24 and the 17th explanation, the death of Ezekiels wife. In this chp we have the first 2 signs of judgment being (1) the sign of Ezekiels baggage and (2) the sign of trembling. These signs are promising and pronouncing impending judgment† prompted by the willful rebellion of Godís people. Five times in this chapter God describes His people as a rebellious house (2,3,9, 25). If you liken Godís law to a fence, when the righteous broke it they freely admitted that they were wrong, as David did. When the unrighteous broke it they wanted to argue with God over the validity of the fence saying something like it was a bad command, an unreasonable expectation or you should have allowed us to modify it in lite of our current circumstances like Saul did. The difference is that one is disobedient while the other is rebellious. Because all of us are sinners we find ourselves frequently having to confess our wrongs but that is different from ignoring Gods commands or refusing to recognize their authority over our lives. the only remedy for rebellion is repentance. Israels blindness and deafness then indicates her willful disobedience and unbelief. God says they cannot avoid His judgment because of this sin and he delivers this message by the sign of the baggage and the hole in the wall.
THE BAGGAGE AND HOLE† 1-16† Here he packs his belongings and acts out going into exile first in the daytime and then again in the evening while the exiles look on (2-4). Then while the exiles continue to watch he is to pretend he was being taken captive by digging a hole in the wall taking his belongings out thru it on his shoulder and cover his face so he could not see the land (5-7). Arousing the peoples curiosity they are more interested in what is wrong with Ezekiel rather than what is wrong with us. God delivers a message of judgment to them thru Ezekiel (8-11). Now having their attention God says this sign concerns Zedekiah, present king of Israel, and the rest of the people still in Jerusalem. As I have done, so it will be done to them, they will go into exile, into captivity vs 11. The ones at ease in Jerusalem would soon be exiles with only small sacks of possessions to carry with them (12-16). The whole picture is of the inevitability of their exile because of their rebellion. All of this was dramatically fulfilled in 586 after Zedekiahs futile attempt to escape and forced to watch the enemy kill his sons, his eyes were blinded and he was captive in a foreign land in jail until he died and all his army destroyed (2 Kings 25). Jesus speaks of judgment more than† any other Bible writer. He came to proclaim the good news of Godís forgiveness but punctuated it with insight into Gods judgment. In order for Godís truth to be absolute there must be accountability for our transgressing His truth. Without judgment there cannot be accountability and without accountability, oppression, injustice, rebellion reign. The Bible makes clear that the unbeliever as well as the believer cannot avoid being judged according to works.
2. DELAY OF GODS JUDGMENT MAY ENCOURAGE YOU TO BELIEVE THERE IS NONE 17-26
Ezekiel is commanded by God to eat his meals in fear and trembling warning the people as he does of their inevitable captivity 17-20. This action represented the terror they would experience. It was fear of the enemy that would grip the people as they watched Gods judgment decimate their land. They should have feared God. That fear would have prevented their judgment they brot upon themselves. Ezekiel gives 2 messages to these people to bust their optimism that no judgment was coming. Because Ezekiel in Babylon & Jeremiah in Judah had been prophesying for many months with no conquest occurring, the people were growing skeptical even encouraged by false prophets 21-24. They made the prophets out to be doomsayers, contradicting their messages and events seemed to be on their side with their false vision and flattering divinations. Have you noticed how todays visions are generally flattering like you will be healed, your sins do not matter God forgives all, everybody going to be Ok when they die! God makes it clear that his word of judgment will be fulfilled 25. And it was performed in your days happening in 6 years time. Even those who believed Ezekiels message were saying that the judgment was not imminent 26-28. Like those who say the coming of Christ is after the world gets better or until the whole world hears the gospel or its not to be taken literally or pan-millenialist where everything will pan out in the end but God says whatever word I speak will be performed declares the Lord. His delay must not be interpreted as denial but only a sign of mercy not uncertainty! (1) Gods grace does not eliminate accountability. God will render to every man according to his deeds Romans 2:6 (2) Fearing God is a righteous and mature decision we can cultivate. If we are afraid of God, we fear His spiritual & physical laws, we have nothing else to fear. (3) You cannot run fast enough to stay ahead of sin or foresee or anticipate the consequences of disobedience (Solomon) (4) God gave you your days on earth to prepare for an eternity with Him. What you build appreciably influences the quality of your eternity with Him.