Ezekiel 5-7

Thursday Evening Bible Study

July 28, 2005


Ezekiel lived at the same time as the prophet Jeremiah, though he would have been a bit younger than Jeremiah. This was the time of the destruction of the nation of Judah and the Babylonian captivity.

While Jeremiah stayed in Jerusalem and ministered to the people there, Ezekiel was one of the captives taken to Babylon. His ministry was with those in captivity in Babylon.

One of Ezekiel’s roles with the Jews would be that of a “watchman”.  The watchman had the job of looking out for enemies coming.  He was to warn of the things ahead.  Ezekiel will now begin to fulfill that role …

Ezekiel 5

:1-17 A Strange Haircut

:1 "And you, son of man, take a sharp sword, take it as a barber's razor, and pass it over your head and your beard; then take scales to weigh and divide the hair.

This probably wasn’t the finest haircut Ezekiel ever had, trimmed with a sword.

The sword is used instead of a razor because of the imagery. In a sense, the nation of Judah will be getting a “trim”, but it will be done with the sword, not a razor.

Shaving the hair was done as a symbol of mourning, humiliation, and repentance.

:2 "You shall burn with fire one-third in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are finished; then you shall take one-third and strike around it with the sword, and one-third you shall scatter in the wind: I will draw out a sword after them.

The hair was going to represent the people of Jerusalem. They were going to be divided into three main groups and would suffer three different fates when the city of Jerusalem was conquered:

1.     Some would be burnt, possibly referring to disease and famine in the city during the siege.

2.     Some would be killed with the sword, killed by the invading armies.

3.     Some would simply be scattered to the wind, probably referring to their captivity.

:3 "You shall also take a small number of them and bind them in the edge of your garment.

These will be the only hairs that survive. They are so small in number that they don’t even count in any of the “thirds”.


You don’t serve alone

This is the “remnant”. God always has a “remnant”.
Elijah was so depressed because he thought that he was the only prophet of God left in the world. God corrected Elijah and told him that He still had seven thousand left.
Problems come when we become isolated and think we’re the only one left who is really serving God. This is how cults get started – promoting the idea that they alone are the one true church.
Those who come to a midweek Bible Study are usually the “cream of the crop”.  You are the servants of the church.  Be careful of slipping into the trap of thinking that you’re the only one left that still serves God …
You’re not the only one left. 

:4 "Then take some of them again and throw them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire. From there a fire will go out into all the house of Israel.

Even with these few that would survive, some of them would also be destroyed.

:5 "Thus says the Lord GOD: 'This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the midst of the nations and the countries all around her.

:6 'She has rebelled against My judgments by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against My statutes more than the countries that are all around her; for they have refused My judgments, and they have not walked in My statutes.'

:7 "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Because you have multiplied disobedience more than the nations that are all around you, have not walked in My statutes nor kept My judgments, nor even done according to the judgments of the nations that are all around you';

:8 "therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Indeed I, even I, am against you and will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations.

These terrible things that were happening to Jerusalem were a result of God’s judgment. The people of Judah could not blame anyone else. They had sinned and had brought the judgment on themselves.

:9 'And I will do among you what I have never done, and the like of which I will never do again, because of all your abominations.

:10 'Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments among you, and all of you who remain I will scatter to all the winds.

Cannibalism. Jeremiah records what took place during the siege:

(Lam 4:10 NKJV) The hands of the compassionate women Have cooked their own children; They became food for them In the destruction of the daughter of my people.

:11 'Therefore, as I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will also diminish you; My eye will not spare, nor will I have any pity.

:12 'One-third of you shall die of the pestilence, and be consumed with famine in your midst; and one-third shall fall by the sword all around you; and I will scatter another third to all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.

:13 'Thus shall My anger be spent, and I will cause My fury to rest upon them, and I will be avenged; and they shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it in My zeal, when I have spent My fury upon them.

:14 'Moreover I will make you a waste and a reproach among the nations that are all around you, in the sight of all who pass by.

:15 'So it shall be a reproach, a taunt, a lesson, and an astonishment to the nations that are all around you, when I execute judgments among you in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I, the LORD, have spoken.

:16 'When I send against them the terrible arrows of famine which shall be for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, I will increase the famine upon you and cut off your supply of bread.

:17 'So I will send against you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I, the LORD, have spoken.'"

Ezekiel 6 To the Mountains of Israel

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

:2 "Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them,

against – there are going to be some hard things said here.

mountains – this could be a reference to the “high places”

The “high place” was a place of worship.  The ancients thought that if they were higher in altitude, they would be closer to heaven.  We like to have retreats up in the mountains.

Before Israel arrived in the Promised Land coming from Egypt, the land had been filled with pagan places of worship on the hills.  Sometimes a high place would include a temple.  Sometimes just an altar.  God told Israel to destroy the high places (Nu. 33:52), but they didn’t.  They let them stay.

Not all high places were dedicated to pagan gods.  Some were considered places of worship for Yahweh (like Gibeon, 1Ki. 6).  Yet God only wanted one place of worship (Deut. 12), Jerusalem.

Even though two kings, Hezekiah and Josiah, had worked to remove the high places, by the time of the Babylonian invasion, the high places were back and thriving.

(Jer 3:6-10 NKJV) The LORD said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: "Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. {7} "And I said, after she had done all these things, 'Return to Me.' But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. {8} "Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. {9} "So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. {10} "And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense," says the LORD.

:3 "and say, 'O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD!' Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, to the hills, to the ravines, and to the valleys: "Indeed I, even I, will bring a sword against you, and I will destroy your high places.

:4 "Then your altars shall be desolate, your incense altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain men before your idols.

:5 "And I will lay the corpses of the children of Israel before their idols, and I will scatter your bones all around your altars.

This was a way of desecrating an altar, putting it “out of business”.

:6 "In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate, so that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, your idols may be broken and made to cease, your incense altars may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.

:7 "The slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the LORD.

the LORD – God’s name, Yahweh.  They will know who God is.

This phrase, “you shall know that I am the LORD” appears 63 times in the book of Ezekiel.

God’s judgment has a purpose.  It wakes us up and brings us to our senses.

It was interesting after September 11, 2001 to see all the new faces coming to church.  The problem is that for many it was a short-lived revival.

:8 "Yet I will leave a remnant, so that you may have some who escape the sword among the nations, when you are scattered through the countries.

God always leaves a remnant.

:9 "Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols; they will loathe themselves for the evils which they committed in all their abominations.


God’s heart

I am part of an e-mail chat-thing with other Calvary Senior Pastors.  Recently there was a discussion about the subject, “Is God ever disappointed in us?”
Do you think this passage has an answer to that question?
God’s heart is broken when His people go astray.

Hosea – a picture of the people’s idolatry.

:10 "And they shall know that I am the LORD; I have not said in vain that I would bring this calamity upon them."


Disciplining children

God is the perfect Father.  He knows how to discipline His kids.
When God promises a spanking, He gives a spanking.
Sometimes parents are continually threatening their kids with punishment, but they never come through.  Sooner or later your kids are going to catch on and realize that you aren’t going to punish them.  A parent might try to yell louder and louder, but it isn’t going to work.
Business Memos to my Child
Copyright 2001 W. Bruce Cameron
Though I have instructed them that it is not funny, my children like to joke that when I first went to work in the auto industry, “General Motors was still a Colonel.”  I’ve long since departed that corporation’s employ over a dispute involving my need to make enough money to buy food, but the other day I discovered I was still storing several boxes of company memos from that era, my favorite being one that ended, “If you did not receive this memo, please notify the sender via inter-office reply.”  Leafing through the sacks of three-part forms, I began to wonder what it would be like if my family used this cryptic method of communication to talk to each other, instead of the usual shouts and threats.  A typical exchange with my thirteen-year-old son might go like this:
To:  Son
From:  Dad
Subject:  Driveway
Upon recent inspection, it was determined that the driveway is completely obstructed with a material identified as snow.  You are directed to remove said snow from said driveway immediately.  Please acknowledge via inter-office reply.
To:  Dad
From:  Son
Subject:  Driveway Reply
You talking to me?
To:  Son
From:  Your rapidly losing patience father
Subject:  You bet
Yes, I am addressing you.  Please turn off the television and immediately proceed to shovel snow until the driveway is cleared.
To:  Dad
From:  Wrongly accused son
Subject:  Correction
It is not television it is PlayStation.
To:  Son
From:  Judge, jury, and executioner
Subject:  Quit Stalling 
Whatever.  Turn it off and get to work.
To:  Dad
From:  Son
Subject:  Totally unfair and stupid
It is unfair for me to have to shovel the snow because yesterday I had to take the trash out to the curb which isn't my job.
To:  Son
From:  The man who pays the rent around here
Subject:  Quit messing around and get to work
Son, yesterday it was I who put the trash out, not you.
To:  Dad
From:  Son
Subject:  So what?
Yeah, but you TOLD me to put the trash out, and that's not my job.
To:  Department of Irrelevance
From:  Dad
Subject:  Stand up, put on your boots, and walk out that door
I want you out there shoveling NOW.
To:  The big jerk
From:  I always get picked on
Subject:  Makes no sense
It makes no sense to shovel the snow.  If we leave it alone, it's just going to melt anyway.
To:  Mr. Spring Is Just Around the Corner
From:  I'm looking at a calendar and no it isn't
Subject:  This is not open to debate
I need to go to the store.  You must shovel the snow in order for me to do so.
To:  Mr. Scared of a Little Snow
From:  Son
Subject:  Yeah, to buy (ROOT) BEER
You have four-wheel drive.  I can't believe you're being such a wimp, Dad.
To:  Do you want a spanking?
From:  I also need potato chips
Subject:  It doesn't matter why I am going to the store
Son, stop stalling and get out there or you will be sorry.
To:  Why don't you pick on someone your own size if you can find someone that FAT
From:  I can't wait until I grow up and move out
Subject:  Besides
Besides, the snow was put there by God.  Who am I to defy the will of God?
To:  The boy who will be shoveling snow in one minute or you'll wind up grounded with no television
From:  The department of even more creative punishments if you're not careful
Subject:  Appeal denied
In the absence of a written memo from God, I am the person who decides whether the snow stays in the driveway.  Who are you to defy the will of me?
To:  Dad
From:  Son
Subject:  Okay, I'll do it
Okay, I'll do it.  But first I need to eat lunch.
To:  The one who is going to be even more hungry if he's not careful
From:  The man who BUYS lunch
Subject:  You're right
You're right; by the time you get to it, the snow WILL be melted.
Balance – don’t threaten your kids unnecessarily.  But when you do warn them of a punishment, be prepared to follow through.

:11 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Pound your fists and stamp your feet, and say, 'Alas, for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! For they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.

pound your fists – other translations, “smite”, “clap”.  The idea is an expression of derision.  Ezekiel is to demonstrate God’s frustration with His people.

:12 'He who is far off shall die by the pestilence, he who is near shall fall by the sword, and he who remains and is besieged shall die by the famine. Thus will I spend My fury upon them.

Three groups of people experiencing judgment.

Those that are “near” and apparently outside the city are killed in the war.

Those that are in the city will die of famine.

Even those living far away will die – by pestilence, disease.

You can’t escape…
Be careful about running from your problems – they will usually find you in some form or another. If you switch jobs simply because you don’t like a certain person, perhaps a boss, that may not always be the answer. You’ll probably find the same boss at the new location, just with a different face. Sometimes it’s better to stay put, face the problems and learn from it.

:13 'Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when their slain are among their idols all around their altars, on every high hill, on all the mountaintops, under every green tree, and under every thick oak, wherever they offered sweet incense to all their idols.

Dead people laying among the things that brought them judgment.

:14 'So I will stretch out My hand against them and make the land desolate, yes, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblah, in all their dwelling places. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.'" ' "

wilderness – the desert area south of Jerusalem.

Diblah – apparently there are some manuscripts where the word here is “Riblah”. The words are VERY similar in the Hebrew, the only difference is a little bit of a “tail” on the first letter. This would make more sense for a couple of reasons. First, there isn’t any known city in Judah named “Diblah”. Second, “Riblah” is a city far to the north. This would make the phrase carry the idea of “from the farthest south to the farthest north”, that the entire country would be desolate.


To the mountains

Even though we would probably look at this chapter as being directed towards the people who worshipped at the “high places”, it’s interesting to see that Scripture often speaks of inanimate parts of God’s creation as if they are alive.
(Psa 98:7-9 NKJV) Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell in it; {8} Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the hills be joyful together before the LORD, {9} For He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world, And the peoples with equity.

(Luke 19:37-40 NKJV) Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, {38} saying: " 'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!' Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" {39} And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." {40} But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out."

(Rom 8:18-22 NLT) Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later. {19} For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. {20} Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God's curse. {21} All creation anticipates the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. {22} For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

It sounds as if all of creation has been suffering because of man’s sin in the garden of Eden.
Creation is looking forward to the day when Jesus will set things right.

Later, Ezekiel (Eze. 36) will again have a word for the mountains of Israel, but it will be a prophecy of encouragement and blessing, and not judgment.

Ezekiel 7

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

:2 "And you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD to the land of Israel: 'An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land.

four corners – the Babylonian invasion would cover the entire nation.

:3 Now the end has come upon you, And I will send My anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations.

:4 My eye will not spare you, Nor will I have pity; But I will repay your ways, And your abominations will be in your midst; Then you shall know that I am the LORD!'

Billy Graham has said, “If God doesn’t judge the United States of America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah”.

Does our nation deserve judgment? What are the things that we deserve judgment for?

Abortion, pornography, removing “God” from our society, the things we like to watch on TV, tolerating homosexuality as a lifestyle instead of condemning as a sin, creation versus evolution, removing absolute moral standards,

:5 "Thus says the Lord GOD: 'A disaster, a singular disaster; Behold, it has come!

The phrases in Hebrew are short, abrupt phrases.  They come across like a messenger that has run from one town to the next, speaking breathlessly, about the warning of the impending doom.

:6 An end has come, The end has come; It has dawned for you; Behold, it has come!

:7 Doom has come to you, you who dwell in the land; The time has come, A day of trouble is near, And not of rejoicing in the mountains.

:8 Now upon you I will soon pour out My fury, And spend My anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations.

:9 'My eye will not spare, Nor will I have pity; I will repay you according to your ways, And your abominations will be in your midst. Then you shall know that I am the LORD who strikes.

:10 'Behold, the day! Behold, it has come! Doom has gone out; The rod has blossomed, Pride has budded.

the rod – perhaps a reference to Babylon, God would use Babylon as a “rod” to discipline the nation.

:11 Violence has risen up into a rod of wickedness; None of them shall remain, None of their multitude, None of them; Nor shall there be wailing for them.

:12 The time has come, The day draws near. 'Let not the buyer rejoice, Nor the seller mourn, For wrath is on their whole multitude.

Ryrie: “Because the Exile is imminent, a purchaser of property need not rejoice over getting a bargain, nor the seller be sad at having to sell.”

In other words, the Babylonian invasion is not going to be good for property values!

:13 For the seller shall not return to what has been sold, Though he may still be alive; For the vision concerns the whole multitude, And it shall not turn back; No one will strengthen himself Who lives in iniquity.

:14 'They have blown the trumpet and made everyone ready, But no one goes to battle; For My wrath is on all their multitude.

:15 The sword is outside, And the pestilence and famine within. Whoever is in the field Will die by the sword; And whoever is in the city, Famine and pestilence will devour him.

:16 'Those who survive will escape and be on the mountains Like doves of the valleys, All of them mourning, Each for his iniquity.

Some people might be able to escape death by fleeing to the mountains. A dove that lives in the valley can escape by flying to the mountains. But as they are escaping, they would be mourning over their sins.

:17 Every hand will be feeble, And every knee will be as weak as water.

:18 They will also be girded with sackcloth; Horror will cover them; Shame will be on every face, Baldness on all their heads.

sackcloth … baldness – signs of mourning and repentance.

:19 'They will throw their silver into the streets, And their gold will be like refuse; Their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them In the day of the wrath of the LORD; They will not satisfy their souls, Nor fill their stomachs, Because it became their stumbling block of iniquity.

Food would be more valuable and more scarce than gold and silver.


Money troubles

Money can’t save you
It is often the thing that gets you into trouble.

:20 'As for the beauty of his ornaments, He set it in majesty; But they made from it The images of their abominations; Their detestable things; Therefore I have made it Like refuse to them.

the beauty of his ornaments – referring to the Temple.

God made the Temple a place of majesty. Man perverted it with his idolatry.

We’ll see an illustration of this when we get to the next chapter where Ezekiel has a vision of what is happening back in the Temple in Jerusalem. He will see perverted things happening in the Temple.

Our bodies are also a temple.

God has given our bodies a sense of majesty. Yet sometimes we can pervert the beauty of what God has given us.

:21 I will give it as plunder Into the hands of strangers, And to the wicked of the earth as spoil; And they shall defile it.

The Temple will be sacked.

:22 I will turn My face from them, And they will defile My secret place; For robbers shall enter it and defile it.

:23 'Make a chain, For the land is filled with crimes of blood, And the city is full of violence.

make a chain – to take the people away in captivity

:24 Therefore I will bring the worst of the Gentiles, And they will possess their houses; I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease, And their holy places shall be defiled.

worst of the Gentiles – referring to Babylon. It would be like saying that the United States was going to be conquered by Al Qaeda or by the North Koreans. Shudder. Which reminds me of a story …


Have you ever heard about how the fighting Muslim is supposedly promised to be rewarded with seventy virgins when he enters paradise???

After getting nailed by a Daisy Cutter, Osama made his way to the pearly gates. There, he is greeted by George Washington. “How dare you attack the nation I helped conceive!” yells Mr. Washington, slapping Osama in the face. Patrick Henry comes up from behind. “You wanted to end the Americans’ liberty, so they gave you death!” Henry punches Osama on the nose. James Madison comes up next and says, “This is why I allowed the Federal government to provide for the common defense!” He delivers a kick to Osama’s knee. Osama is subjected to similar beatings from John Randolph, James Monroe, and 65 other people sharing the same love for liberty and America. As he writhes on the ground, Thomas Jefferson picks him up and hurls him back toward the gate where he is to be judged. As Osama awaits his journey to his final very hot destination, he screams, “This is not what I was promised!” An angel replies, “I told you there would be 70 Virginians waiting for you. What did you think I said?”

Okay … actually, the victors in battle aren’t always the ones who are “right”. Sometimes God allows judgment to fall, using an unrighteous nation to judge a righteous one.

:25 Destruction comes; They will seek peace, but there shall be none.

:26 Disaster will come upon disaster, And rumor will be upon rumor. Then they will seek a vision from a prophet; But the law will perish from the priest, And counsel from the elders.

:27 'The king will mourn, The prince will be clothed with desolation, And the hands of the common people will tremble. I will do to them according to their way, And according to what they deserve I will judge them; Then they shall know that I am the LORD!'"


God’s judgment

Is God finished bringing judgment? Is this something He no longer does?
No, God will one more time judge the world.

This is one of the purposes of the time we know as the Great Tribulation.

We, like Ezekiel have the awesome opportunity to be “watchmen”.
We have the tremendous privilege of not only warning people of the judgment to come, but to show them the way of escaping God’s judgment on their sins.
(John 3:16-17 NKJV) "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. {17} "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
(John 5:24 NKJV) "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.