Published on
December 28, 2023

Ezekiel 14

"For here is what Adonai Elohim says: ‘Even if I inflict My four dreadful judgments on Jerusalem – sword, famine, wild animals and plagues..."

Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Read Time
4 minutes
Ezekiel 14
“For thus says the Lord God: “How much more it shall be when I send My four severe judgments on Jerusalem—the sword and famine and wild beasts and pestilence—to cut off man and beast from it? Yet behold, there shall be left in it a remnant who will be brought out, both sons and daughters; surely they will come out to you, and you will see their ways and their doings. Then you will be comforted concerning the disaster that I have brought upon Jerusalem, all that I have brought upon it. And they will comfort you, when you see their ways and their doings; and you shall know that I have done nothing without cause that I have done in it,” says the Lord God.” Ezekiel 14:21-23 (NKJV)

Once again, Ezekiel receives a visit from some of the exiled elders in Babylon. We might assume that these elders would be in better shape than their counterparts in war-torn Jerusalem, but that would be a false assumption. They, too, worshipped their idols, even though it was in secret, “in their hearts.” No doubt, living in Babylon brought its own sources of temptation to idolatry. One thing is sure: Idolatry cannot be hidden from God. He sees into our hearts and reads us like the proverbial “open book.”

Idolatry is a covenant violation, and as such, it is cursed. Idolaters are guilty of separating themselves from God, the opposite of what it meant to be “covenanted.” Since the idolaters had cut themselves off from God (all the while attempting to have the “best of both worlds” by hiding their idolatry), God cut his covenant with them. He literally released them from the covenant to fend for themselves, now with God’s face against them.

What if a true prophet is enticed into accepting a bribe that the idolater offers? He, too, is cut off. The lure of money could entice even true prophets. Many Christian workers’ usefulness has been curtailed by the love of the “idol’s bribe.” No wonder Paul addressed Timothy:

“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV)

God purifies believers so that His true people might emerge bearing the covenant relationship of fellowship with Him: “They will be My people, and I will be their God.” Undoubtedly, this whole process must have deeply hurt Ezekiel personally because God concludes today’s chapter with a Word of encouragement - there will be a Remnant!

Even if Ezekiel’s listeners were initially skeptical about the fairness of God’s actions toward Judah, when the second wave of exiles came among them, they would see that God's punishments had been right for the prevailing ungodliness of these people. They would be consoled regarding the disaster, and they would testify to the rightness of God’s actions. Will the same be said of us whenever God is finished “sifting” America? More importantly, will Americans say that the Lord was right in allowing our country to suffer to expose our idolatry?

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