Ezekiel 5 – 8
According to chapter 1, God called Ezekiel on July 31, 593 BC (using our calendar). Jerusalem didn’t fall to Nebuchadnezzar until 586 BC. This means that the first 7 years of Ezekiel’s prophesying in Babylon overlapped the last 7 years of Jeremiah’s prophesying in Jerusalem.
In addition to foretelling Jerusalem’s destruction for her sin, Ezekiel adds another recurring theme – “then they will know that I am the Lord.” This phrase occurs 70 times in the book of Ezekiel, so it must be important. Ezekiel 6: 9b-10 is an example, “They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done and for all their detestable practices. And they will know that I am the Lord; I did not threaten in vain to bring this calamity on them.”
7:3-4 says, “The end is now upon you and I will unleash my anger against you. I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices. I will not look on you with pity or spare you; I will surely repay you for your conduct and the detestable practices among you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
And God pointed out through Ezekiel that He wouldn’t listen to their prayers, because of their sin. We see an example of this in 8:18, “Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.”
As we read this, we may think, “They were sure idiots for not turning back to God.” But I wonder what truths might apply to us today?
Some of their sins were: idolatry, greed, arrogance, and lack of mercy – and these infuriated God. If we were compared with the ancient Israelites, how would we as a nation measure up? How would I as an individual measure up?
You may want to ask yourself a few questions:
Is God more important to me than anything and everything else? (If the answer is no, that sounds like idolatry). And to make sure we understand what it means to put God first, is He obvious in every area of life – including areas as diverse as finances, conversation, entertainment, and charity?
Am I merciful? If you answer yes, how are you demonstrating that? For example, how are you helping resolve the racial tensions that seem to be tearing our nation apart right now? How are you helping those less fortunate than yourself?
Am I greedy? If the answer is no, where and how are you giving your time and money to God’s work – and to others?
If I’m honest, I see that I may not be much more righteous than the ancient Israelites. And we as a nation don’t measure up well at all.
Romans 15:4 reminds us, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”
If these things were written to teach us, will we learn? What will it take for us to know that God is the Lord? Will we humble ourselves, confess our sins, repent, and turn to God wholeheartedly?
2 Corinthians 6:2 reminds us, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
Hebrews 3:15 says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”
What will you do?
Today’s Bible reading passage can be read or listened to here Ezekiel 5-8
Tomorrow’s passage will be Ezekiel 9-12 as we continue on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan