Ezekiel 14-16

Thursday Evening Bible Study

September 15, 2005

Ezekiel 14

:1-11 Unrepentant elders and prophets

:1 Now some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me.

These were the leaders of the nation coming to sit before Ezekiel.  They want to know what’s going to happen to the nation and to Jerusalem.

:2 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

:3 "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?

Ezekiel had seen a vision of the leaders in Jerusalem worshipping idols in the Temple of God.  These leaders in Babylon had their own idols, but they were in their hearts.

:4 "Therefore speak to them, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the LORD will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols,

:5 "that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols."'

:6 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.

:7 "For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I the LORD will answer him by Myself.


Take care of first things first

It sounds to me as if God is saying that the person who wants to hear a word from a prophet isn’t going to hear a word from a prophet because God has already been speaking to their heart about their idolatry.
If you don’t take care of the idolatry first, you aren’t going to hear anything further from God.
Your communication with God is cut off.

(Psa 66:18 NKJV)  If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.

You can’t separate obedience and godly living from hearing from God correctly.  You can’t claim to be a follower of God and live a life like a heathen.
(Mat 7:15-23 NKJV)  "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. {16} "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? {17} "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. {18} "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. {19} "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. {20} "Therefore by their fruits you will know them. {21} "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. {22} "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' {23} "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

:8 "I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.

:9 "And if the prophet is induced to speak anything, I the LORD have induced that prophet, and I will stretch out My hand against him and destroy him from among My people Israel.

Anybody claiming to be a prophet speaking for God is only a false prophet.

:10 "And they shall bear their iniquity; the punishment of the prophet shall be the same as the punishment of the one who inquired,

(Ezek 14:7-10 NLT)  I, the LORD, will punish all those, both Israelites and foreigners, who reject me and set up idols in their hearts so they fall into sin, and who then come to a prophet asking for my advice. {8} I will turn against such people and make a terrible example of them, destroying them. Then you will know that I am the LORD. {9} And if a prophet is deceived and gives a message anyway, it is because I, the LORD, have deceived that prophet. I will stand against such prophets and cut them off from the community of Israel. {10} False prophets and hypocrites--evil people who claim to want my advice--will all be punished for their sins.

God might deceive a false prophet to speak deception, but both prophet and hearer would be held guilty

:11 "that the house of Israel may no longer stray from Me, nor be profaned anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be My people and I may be their God," says the Lord GOD.'"

The judgment that God would bring was in order have the nation come back to Him.

:12- Noah, Daniel, and Job aren’t enough

:12 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying:

:13 "Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it.

persistent unfaithfulness

I wonder about our nation, I wonder about California.

Our state assembly recently passed a bill legalizing gay marriage.
Yesterday a California judge ruled that three school districts in Northern California are to stop having the children say the Pledge of Allegiance because it contains the words “under God”.
God be merciful to us.

:14 "Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness," says the Lord GOD.

Noah – the man with the ark, the only righteous man and his family who survived the judgment of the Great Flood.

Daniel – a contemporary of Ezekiel.  I wonder if people considered themselves above judgment because of Daniel’s presence.

Job – an ancient man.  We often think of Job in light of his troubles, be he was first of all a man of righteousness.

(Job 1:8 NKJV)  Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?"

Even though we live righteous lives, that doesn’t mean that God is exempt from judging America.

:15-20 (summarize)

God repeats much of the same thing – even the prayers of these three righteous men can’t stop the judgment that was coming.

:21 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?

For Jerusalem it would be even worse, because even though Daniel might be praying for Jerusalem, they wouldn’t have Noah and Job interceding for them.  And they would still face their judgment.

I think we can’t help but think of what has happened to the city of New Orleans – this picture of judgment on Jerusalem would seem very similar to what has happened to New Orleans.  I know we’re kind of hesitant to say that the hurricane was a judgment from God, but what if it was?  Have we as a nation humbled ourselves?

:22 "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.

:23 "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.

Often we think of the “remnant” as being the last remaining good people.  But here it’s wicked people who will live past the judgment in Jerusalem, and when they show up in Babylon, the exiles in Babylon will see just how wicked things have been in Jerusalem.

(Ezek 14:22 NLT)  Yet there will be survivors, and they will come here to join you as exiles in Babylon. You will see with your own eyes how wicked they are, and then you will feel better about what I have done to Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 15 – The Fruitless Vine

:1 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

:2 "Son of man, how is the wood of the vine better than any other wood, the vine branch which is among the trees of the forest?

:3 "Is wood taken from it to make any object? Or can men make a peg from it to hang any vessel on?

(the answer is “no”)

:4 "Instead, it is thrown into the fire for fuel; the fire devours both ends of it, and its middle is burned. Is it useful for any work?

:5 "Indeed, when it was whole, no object could be made from it. How much less will it be useful for any work when the fire has devoured it, and it is burned?

:6 "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so I will give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem;

:7 'and I will set My face against them. They will go out from one fire, but another fire shall devour them. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I set My face against them.

:8 'Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have persisted in unfaithfulness,' says the Lord GOD."

The inhabitants of Jerusalem are as useless as burnt wood of the vine.


The value is the fruit

By itself, the wood from a grape vine is not better than anything.  Wood from a grape vine is worthless for building – all you can do is burn it.
The only value a vine gives is from the fruit it produces.
(Mark 11:12-14 NKJV)  Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. {13} And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. {14} In response Jesus said to it, "Let no one eat fruit from you ever again." And His disciples heard it.
When we studied this passage, we talked about what Jesus was doing.  He was out looking for fruit, and because the tree didn’t have the fruit it should, Jesus cursed it and it withered up.  Yet this was all to give attention to the fact that Jesus was looking for more than fruit on a fig tree, He was looking for fruit in the nation of Israel.
In Ezekiel’s day, the vine didn’t have any fruit, and the wood was good for nothing else other than being destroyed.
In Jesus’ day, fig tree had no fruit either and it withered up.
Bearing fruit:
(John 15:1-8 NKJV)  "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. {2} "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. {3} "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. {4} "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. {5} "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. {6} "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. {7} "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. {8} "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

God’s great desire is that we produce “fruit”.  What is the fruit that a Christian produces?

Don’t stress about “bearing fruit”.  I would often read these verses and worry that I was not bearing enough fruit.

The concept of bearing fruit for a vine branch is not a difficult one. 

The branch doesn’t worry about bearing fruit, it just does it.

All it needs to do is to stay connected to the vine.  As long as we stay connected to Jesus, we will produce fruit.

Ezekiel 16

:1-14 God’s gracious love for Jerusalem

:1 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

:2 "Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations,

:3 "and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem: "Your birth and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.

Morally speaking, the spiritual genealogy of these backslidden people of Jerusalem came from the Canaanites – the Amorites and the Hittites.  The city itself traced its roots back to the Canaanites.

These were the people that God had told Israel to destroy when they came into the Promised Land.

Yet instead of destroying them, they ended up being in their spiritual family.

:4 "As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths.

Rubbing skin with salt was supposed to make it firm and clean.  But Jerusalem’s spiritual birth had none of these normal, loving things done.

:5 "No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born.

Nobody cared for these people.  Infanticide was common in the ancient world.  Unwanted or deformed babies would be thrown out and left to die in the open fields.

:6 "And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, 'Live!' Yes, I said to you in your blood, 'Live!'

:7 "I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare.

:8 "When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine," says the Lord GOD.

spread My wing – most translations have “spread my skirt”, something representative of marriage (Ruth 3:9).

The child had grown up and now becomes the bride of the Lord.

This could be a picture of when David made Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

:9 "Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil.

:10 "I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk.

:11 "I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck.

:12 "And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.

:13 "Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty.

:14 "Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you," says the Lord GOD.

This could be a picture of the height of Jerusalem’s beauty under the reigns of King David and Solomon.  A true “rags to riches” story.

It’s also a picture of God’s great grace that He has shown towards us


God’s transforming grace

He loved us while we were yet sinners.
He loved us so much that He gave His Son for us.
(Eph 2:1-13 NKJV)  And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, {2} in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, {3} among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. {4} But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, {5} even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), {6} and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, {7} that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. {8} For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, {9} not of works, lest anyone should boast. {10} For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. {11} Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh; who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands; {12} that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. {13} But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

We are a changed people.  And it wasn’t anything we did, it was what God did.

It seems that so often we are told about what we need to do for the Lord, when in reality we ought to first think about all that God has done for us.
We don’t want to serve the Lord out of guilt or pressure.
We should serve the Lord out of love, out of gratitude for all that He’s done for us.
God has “good works” for us to do, but it’s only after we realize what He’s done for us that we are able to do them.
The Bible says:
(2 Cor 9:7 NKJV)  So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

We often think of this in terms of financial giving – but what about giving of our time, our serving the Lord?

God is looking for cheerful givers.

If your giving has lost it’s cheerfulness, perhaps you ought to stop giving and take some time receiving – receiving grace, mercy, and love from the Lord.

:15-30 Falling away

:15 "But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it.

Jerusalem’s harlotry consisted of turning to idols and in making these alliances with foreign countries instead of trusting in the Lord.

:16 "You took some of your garments and adorned multicolored high places for yourself, and played the harlot on them. Such things should not happen, nor be.

:17 "You have also taken your beautiful jewelry from My gold and My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images and played the harlot with them.

:18 "You took your embroidered garments and covered them, and you set My oil and My incense before them.

:19 "Also My food which I gave you; the pastry of fine flour, oil, and honey which I fed you; you set it before them as sweet incense; and so it was," says the Lord GOD.

Taking the things that we only have because of what God has done for us, and abusing them, misusing them.

:20 "Moreover you took your sons and your daughters, whom you bore to Me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your acts of harlotry a small matter,

Children were sacrificed to the god Molech. (Jer. 7:30-32; 19:4-5; 32:35)

:21 "that you have slain My children and offered them up to them by causing them to pass through the fire?

:22 "And in all your abominations and acts of harlotry you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, struggling in your blood.

We forget what we were like before we knew the Lord, before we had received so much from Him.

:23 "Then it was so, after all your wickedness; 'Woe, woe to you!' says the Lord GOD;

:24 "that you also built for yourself a shrine, and made a high place for yourself in every street.

:25 "You built your high places at the head of every road, and made your beauty to be abhorred. You offered yourself to everyone who passed by, and multiplied your acts of harlotry.

:26 "You also committed harlotry with the Egyptians, your very fleshly neighbors, and increased your acts of harlotry to provoke Me to anger.

Taking the Egyptian gods and making alliances with Egypt.

:27 "Behold, therefore, I stretched out My hand against you, diminished your allotment, and gave you up to the will of those who hate you, the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your lewd behavior.

:28 "You also played the harlot with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable; indeed you played the harlot with them and still were not satisfied.

:29 "Moreover you multiplied your acts of harlotry as far as the land of the trader, Chaldea; and even then you were not satisfied.

:30 "How degenerate is your heart!" says the Lord GOD, "seeing you do all these things, the deeds of a brazen harlot.

:31-34 Jerusalem’s adultery

:31 "You erected your shrine at the head of every road, and built your high place in every street. Yet you were not like a harlot, because you scorned payment.

:32 "You are an adulterous wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband.


Spiritual Adultery

When we fall away from the Lord and begin to look to other things for help instead of to God, it’s like committing spiritual adultery.
Adultery is a strange sin.  The one who is committing it is only thinking of their own self.  They don’t see the pain involved.  Sexual temptation on TV or in the movies is appealing, we find it intriguing.

But the other spouse is the one who is devastated.  You don’t often see a TV show focusing on the intense pain caused by the one who was betrayed.

If I have adulterous thoughts about another woman, it’s a temptation, it’s appealing, it’s tantalizing.  But if I imagine what it would be like if my wife committed adultery, I’m devastated.

When we fall away from the Lord, we are the ones thinking only of our own selves.  We are having a “good time”.  But for God, He is the one who is injured, the one who is hurt over our unfaithfulness.

:33 "Men make payment to all harlots, but you made your payments to all your lovers, and hired them to come to you from all around for your harlotry.

:34 "You are the opposite of other women in your harlotry, because no one solicited you to be a harlot. In that you gave payment but no payment was given you, therefore you are the opposite."

The average harlot gets paid for what she does.  But Jerusalem paid her lovers to commit harlotry with her.

:35-43 Judgment

:35 'Now then, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD!

:36 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Because your filthiness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotry with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children which you gave to them,

:37 "surely, therefore, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved, and all those you hated; I will gather them from all around against you and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness.

God will bring judgment on Jerusalem.  Her “lovers” will be the ones who will bring judgment.

:38 "And I will judge you as women who break wedlock or shed blood are judged; I will bring blood upon you in fury and jealousy.

:39 "I will also give you into their hand, and they shall throw down your shrines and break down your high places. They shall also strip you of your clothes, take your beautiful jewelry, and leave you naked and bare.

:40 "They shall also bring up an assembly against you, and they shall stone you with stones and thrust you through with their swords.

:41 "They shall burn your houses with fire, and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women; and I will make you cease playing the harlot, and you shall no longer hire lovers.

:42 "So I will lay to rest My fury toward you, and My jealousy shall depart from you. I will be quiet, and be angry no more.

:43 "Because you did not remember the days of your youth, but agitated Me with all these things, surely I will also recompense your deeds on your own head," says the Lord GOD. "And you shall not commit lewdness in addition to all your abominations.

Remember the days of your youth

Remember the great grace of God on your life.

:44-59 Sisters with Samaria and Sodom

:44 "Indeed everyone who quotes proverbs will use this proverb against you: 'Like mother, like daughter!'

We say, “Like father, like son”.   Sometimes we like it when people say our kids look like us …


Dear God,
I want to be just like my daddy when I get big, but not with so much hair all over.

 But I hate it when my kids act exactly like me – like the bad things that I do …

Remember when your parents used to say to you:

“When you grow up and have children of your own, I hope that they are JUST LIKE YOU!” It worked.

:45 "You are your mother's daughter, loathing husband and children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and children; your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite.

:46 "Your elder sister is Samaria, who dwells with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister, who dwells to the south of you, is Sodom and her daughters.

Samaria – the capital of the northern kingdom, conquered and taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 722 BC.

Sodom – that wicked city destroyed by God with fire and brimstone

:47 "You did not walk in their ways nor act according to their abominations; but, as if that were too little, you became more corrupt than they in all your ways.

:48 "As I live," says the Lord GOD, "neither your sister Sodom nor her daughters have done as you and your daughters have done.

:49 "Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

:50 "And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.

We think of the sins of Sodom as being homosexuality.  Here’s God’s list:


Too much to eat

Too much free time

Not caring for the poor

Committed abomination (perhaps speaking of the homosexuality)

:51 "Samaria did not commit half of your sins; but you have multiplied your abominations more than they, and have justified your sisters by all the abominations which you have done.

Jerusalem made Samaria look good compared to her own sins.

:52 "You who judged your sisters, bear your own shame also, because the sins which you committed were more abominable than theirs; they are more righteous than you. Yes, be disgraced also, and bear your own shame, because you justified your sisters.

:53 "When I bring back their captives, the captives of Sodom and her daughters, and the captives of Samaria and her daughters, then I will also bring back the captives of your captivity among them,

The ultimate restoration of Sodom, Samaria, and all of Israel will happen when Jesus returns and sets up His kingdom on earth (the Millennium)

:54 "that you may bear your own shame and be disgraced by all that you did when you comforted them.

:55 "When your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, return to their former state, and Samaria and her daughters return to their former state, then you and your daughters will return to your former state.

:56 "For your sister Sodom was not a byword in your mouth in the days of your pride,

:57 "before your wickedness was uncovered. It was like the time of the reproach of the daughters of Syria and all those around her, and of the daughters of the Philistines, who despise you everywhere.

(Ezek 16:56-57 NLT)  In your proud days you held Sodom in contempt. {57} But now your greater wickedness has been exposed to all the world, and you are the one who is scorned--by Edom and all her neighbors and by Philistia.

:58 "You have paid for your lewdness and your abominations," says the LORD.

:59 'For thus says the Lord GOD: "I will deal with you as you have done, who despised the oath by breaking the covenant.

:60-63 An everlasting covenant

:60 "Nevertheless I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.

Even though Jerusalem would go through a time of judgment, God had not given up on her.

(2 Tim 2:13 NKJV)  If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

:61 "Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed, when you receive your older and your younger sisters; for I will give them to you for daughters, but not because of My covenant with you.

Sodom and Samaria would no longer be considered “sisters” but “daughters” of Jerusalem during the Millennium.  Jerusalem will rule over all the nations.

:62 "And I will establish My covenant with you. Then you shall know that I am the LORD,

:63 "that you may remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth anymore because of your shame, when I provide you an atonement for all you have done," says the Lord GOD.'"

(Ezek 16:63 NLT)  You will remember your sins and cover your mouth in silence and shame when I forgive you of all that you have done, says the Sovereign LORD."

I wonder if some of that shame Jerusalem will feel will come on that day they see Jesus:

(Zec 12:10 NKJV)  "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

I think this is what happens to when we become born again.  We are forgiven, we understand the “atonement” God has made for us through Jesus Christ.

We are “ashamed” of our past life.  We never want to go there again.