KNOWING GOD IN HIS GLORY
Losing What You Hold Most Dear
Jerry A Collins
P How do we become so corrupted that we deserve† judgment?
P Is God just when He judges His peopleís sins?
P Why is Godís judgment upon sin so final and complete?
Here is what I was told by this young man. He was leaving that night to drive a number of hours so that he could make a court hearing he was scheduled for the next morning. He had received a ticket the week before for 80mph but he claimed his speedometer was on cruise control at 73 and his passenger confirmed that meaning his speedometer was 7 miles per hour off. While the officer checked his drivers license it was then discovered that he had an outstanding warrant for an unpaid ticket over two months old. So he was handcuffed, taken to jail and bailed out by family several hours later. He claimed to have tried to pay the ticket on time and even had a receipt showing payment but the day he and his stepfather paid the computers were down and it was not duly recorded. He was going to use that receipt as evidence at that hearing. He explained that he has had bad luck like this before including the time he was late for a 1am curfew from a swimming party, hopped into his car to get home and while driving was taking his swim suit off to change into his clothes. A policeman observed him swerving and believing a drunk driver pulled him over. He told this story to the policeman while holding his suit over himself. When asked for his drivers license he informed the policeman that he was undressed and if he reached for his wallet in the back pocket of his jeans in the backseat he would expose himself. When the policeman reiterated his request he promptly reached back for the wallet and he was ticketed for indecent exposure. Now either he really has this kind of unfortunate luck or this young man just keeps pushing the limits never learning from previous judgment and changing his ways!
The nation of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem had never learned either. This chapter climaxes all of the prophecies from 4-24 with the actual final judgment. It has been nearly ten years since Ezekiel has been in captivity and prophesying about his countries doom. The opening incident in this chapter happens the very day that the siege of Jerusalem by Babylon began, January 15, 588BC. This is collaborated by 2 Kings 25:1 & Jeremiah 39:1; 52:4. The people had been warned again and again
P Isaiah† 1:2-4† 740BC
P Micah 3:1-4† 735BC
P Zephaniah 3:1-4† 630BC
P Jeremiah 3:6-10† 627BC
P Habakkuk 3:16† 600BC
P Ezekiel 24:1-2† 597BC
Al of these heartaches and hardships experienced by Jerusalem had been predicted about 900n yrs earlier by Moses. In Deut 28 God had warned of these fearful consequences of disobedience and God is faithfully carrying them out. So from 588 to 586 the army of Babylon ground away at the defenses of Jerusalem. This inevitable destruction is pictured by one final parable and a sign.
1. THE TIME COMES WHEN GOD PUNISHES WICKEDNESS 1-14
The city is described a an encrusted pot boiling with choice cuts of meat in it.† The pot is Jerusalem. The pieces of flesh the inhabitants of the city. The fire and burning is the siege. The rust and scum her sinful corruption and corrosion. The emptiness of the pot vs 6 & 11 is universal dispersion of the people. The melting vs 11 is the city swept away destroyed by fire left in rubble. Since no cleansing by repentance, then there will be by judgment. Jeremiah tells us that within the city the ever-tightening siege began unraveling the fabric of society. Starving mothers ate their own children. Idolatry flourished as people cried out to any and every god for deliverance. Paranoia gripped the people until they were willing to kill Gods prophet as a traitor to them. Some 16-18 mos later the walls were breached, stripped of valuables, leaders rounded up and assassinated, they burned the temple, the palace, all major buildings, tore down the walls† and† left a smoldering ruin. Trampled in the dust her people now under harsh hand of a cruel taskmaster. God completely and finally judged sin this way when His Son became the sacrificial lamb for the sin of the world. Isaiah tells us he was despised, forsaken, stricken, smitten of God, afflicted, pierced, crushed, chastened, scourged, oppressed, cut off But the Lord was pleased to crush him putting Him to grief. God always judges sin that way. 1 Cor 3 says that a future judgment day for believers includes each mans work will become evident for the day will show it because it will be revealed with fire and the fire itself will test the quality of each mans work. Today we listen to Godís Word and properly apply it. That is how believers can be prepared for judgment. What is your attitude toward Godís Word? If its like that of Jerusalem your day of reckoning will be very painful.
2. THIS JUDGMENT WILL SHOCK AND FORCE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF LORD
The sign of the death of Ezekiels wife is the last and worst of the judgment explanations by signs from Ezekiels point of view. It seems that Ezekiel was asked here to do more than Abraham because unlike Isaac his wife was never restored to him! The question here is how would we know to follow God in such a case like Abes sacrifice of Isaac or Ezekiels acceptance of wifes death. In other words when do you violate regular earthly wisdom to follow God? Following wisdom, the skill for living life, can violate the will of God. So God requires exceptions to the best wisdom for living life. That exception is the revelation of God and for us thats the NT rightly understood and properly applied. Ezekiel said my wife the delite of my eyes is dead vs 18. And thats a sign to you, the exiles, that the delite of your eyes, your city, your temple, your sons & daughters who were left behind in Jerusalem are going to die God says in vs 24. The news will devastate them, effect everyone of them, noone left to console another, the magnitude rendering grief inadequate, the tragedy awesome enough making grief seem insignificant. The catastrophe so shocking forcing from their lips that it is Godís doing v23.
1. Corruption happens one decision at a time.
2. Corrosion sets in when cavalier with Godís Word.
3. Condemnation follows when unresponsive to Godís warnings.
4. Curing this inevitable judgment only happens with repentance.