Learning from Ezekiel 28-34
28:1-26 - ‘You were on the holy mount of God... You were blameless in your ways... You sinned... I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God’ (14-16). This is much more than the ‘long time ago’ story of ‘the king of Tyre’ (12). Here, we catch a glimpse of ‘the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms’. We read about ‘war in heaven’. We read about the downfall of ‘Satan’. God’s Word is warning us: ‘Our struggle is not against flesh and blood’. We face a much more poweful ‘enemy’ - ‘Satan’. He ‘disguises himself as an angel of light’. We must not be fooled. He is no ‘angel of light’. He is ‘a roaring lion’. He is ‘prowling about, looking for someone to devour’. We shall overcome him ‘by the blood of the Lamb...’ (Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 12:7-9,11; 2 Corinthians 11:14; 1 Peter 5:8).
29:1-21 - In God’s dealings with Egypt, we see both His wrath - ‘Egypt will become a desolate wasteland’ - and His mercy - ‘At the end of forty years... I will restore the fortunes of Egypt’ (9,13-14). God’s wrath is His response to Egypt’s pride - ‘Because you said, “The Nile is mine; I made it”, therefore I am against you’ (9-10). In His merciful restoration, God places His restraint on Egypt’s pride - ‘It shall be the most lowly of the kingdoms, and will never again exalt itself above the other nations’ (15). We come to God as sinners. We confess our sins, praying, ‘In wrath, remember mercy’. He saves us by ‘His mercy’. His way of salvation - ‘through Jesus Christ our Saviour’ - is a constant rebuke to our pride: ‘This is not your own doing. It is the gift of God’ (Habakkuk 3:2; Titus 3:4-6; Ephesians 2:8).
30:1-26 - ‘The day of the Lord is near... A sword will come against Egypt... The day of Egypt’s doom is sure to come’ (3-4,9). We must not take God lightly. We can’t do what we like and get away with it. We must not ‘trample the Son of God under foot’. We must not ‘treat Christ’s blood as an unholy thing’. We must not ‘insult the Spirit of grace’. We must not forget: ‘It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’. God is speaking to us concerning ‘the Day of the Lord’, the Return of Christ: ‘He who is coming will come...’. He speaks His Word of warning: ‘Those who shrink back are destroyed’. He speaks His Word of promise: ‘Those who believe are saved’ (Hebrews 10:29,31,37-39). ‘When Christ comes, will He find faith...?’. ‘Search my heart, O God...’ (Luke 18:8; Psalm 139:23-24).
31:1-18 - ‘Pharaoh, king of Egypt’ had the appearance of ‘majesty’ - ‘Who can be compared with you in majesty?’ - yet he was ‘brought down’ (2,18). There is one Majesty who will never be brought down - Our Lord Jesus Christ. He is ‘the same yesterday and today and for ever’. He will receive ‘glory for ever and ever’. To Him alone, the Father says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever’ (Hebrews 13:8,21; 1:8). This is real Majesty! ‘Majesty, worship His Majesty. Unto Jesus be glory, honour and praise. Majesty, Kingdom authority, flows from His throne unto His own. His anthem raise. So exalt, lift up on high the Name of Jesus. Magnify, come glorify, Christ Jesus the King. Majesty, worship His Majesty, Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings’ (Mission Praise, 454).
32:1-32 - ‘Pride goes before destruction’ (Proverbs 16:18). ‘Pharaoh, king of Egypt’ was arrogant and ruthless: ‘You are like a lion among the nations;you are like a monster in the seas, thrashing about in your streams, churning the water with your feet and muddying the streams’ (2). Soon, it would be ‘the day of his downfall’: ‘The sword of Babylon will come against you... Pharaoh and all his hordes will be killed by the sword’ (10-11,32). Don’t be like the rich fool - ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry’. He couldn’t have been more wrong! - ‘God said to him, ‘You fool! I will demand your life from you tonight!”’ God is warning us: ‘This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God’ (Luke 12:19-21).
33:1-33 - Ezekiel was to be ‘a watchman for the house of Israel’: ‘whenever you hear a Word from My mouth, you shall give them warning from Me’. He was to ‘warn the wicked to turn from his way’ (7-9). This is the warning of love. God loves us. It is because He loves that He ‘has no pleasure in the death of the wicked’. In His love, He shows us our sin so that we might come to Him with a real confession of sin: ‘Our sins are upon us’. In His love, He creates in us a desire for His salvation: ‘How then can we live?’. In His love, He calls us to return to Him: ‘Turn back from your evil ways’. He loves us. He does not want us to ‘die’: ‘Why will you die?’ (10-11). In love, God shows us our sin - ‘The wages of sin is death’ - and calls us to receive His ‘free gift’ - ‘eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23).
34:1-31 - God speaks to us in love. He says, ‘I Myself will be the Shepherd of My sheep’ (15). We rejoice in His love. We say, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ (Psalm 23:1). Jesus is our Shepherd. He is ‘the good Shepherd’. He laid down His life for us that we might receive the forgiveness of our sins. ‘Christ died for our sins’. He - ‘the Righteous’ - died for us - ‘the unrighteous’ - ‘to bring us to God’ (John 10:11; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 3:18). He is ‘the great Shepherd’. He was ‘raised’ from the dead’. Through His resurrection, we receive eternal life. He says to us, ‘Because I live you will live also’ (Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:4; John 14:19). He is ‘the chief Shepherd’. He will come again with ‘the unfading crown of glory’ for His ‘good and faithful servants’ (1 Peter 5:4; Matthew 25:21).