Ezekiel 20:21-49 … HOW GOD WILL DEAL WITH HIS PEOPLE NOW AND IN FUTURE.
Q.1. Why did God refuse to hear Judah’s requests and why was He forced to reward their treachery? – (Ezk.20:21-32) =
Q.2. What message did God’s treatment of unbelief in the wilderness send to the people of Ezekiel’s day? – (Ezk.20:33-38, 45-48) =
Q.3. What astounding turn-around did God foretell about the tribes of Israel? – (Ezk.20:39-44) =
21 But the children rebelled against me. They did not walk in my statutes and were not careful to obey my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live; they profaned my Sabbaths.
“Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the wilderness. 22 But I withheld my hand and acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. 23 Moreover, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries, 24 because they had not obeyed my rules, but had rejected my statutes and profaned my Sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their fathers’ idols. 25 Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which they could not have life, 26 and I defiled them through their very gifts in their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the Lord.
27 “Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: In this also your fathers blasphemed me, by dealing treacherously with me. 28 For when I had brought them into the land that I swore to give them, then wherever they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, there they offered their sacrifices and there they presented the provocation of their offering; there they sent up their pleasing aromas, and there they poured out their drink offerings. 29 (I said to them, ‘What is the high place to which you go?’ So its name is called Bamah to this day.)
30 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Will you defile yourselves after the manner of your fathers and go whoring after their detestable things? 31 When you present your gifts and offer up your children in fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. And shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, declares the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you.
32 “What is in your mind shall never happen—the thought, ‘Let us be like the nations, like the tribes of the countries, and worship wood and stone.’
The Lord Will Restore Israel
33 “As I live, declares the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out I will be king over you. 34 I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. 36 As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the Lord God. 37 I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. 38 I will purge out the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me. I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
39 “As for you, O house of Israel, thus says the Lord God: Go serve every one of you his idols, now and hereafter, if you will not listen to me; but my holy name you shall no more profane with your gifts and your idols.
40 “For on my holy mountain, the mountain height of Israel, declares the Lord God, there all the house of Israel, all of them, shall serve me in the land. There I will accept them, and there I will require your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your sacred offerings. 41 As a pleasing aroma I will accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered. And I will manifest my holiness among you in the sight of the nations. 42 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the country that I swore to give to your fathers. 43 And there you shall remember your ways and all your deeds with which you have defiled yourselves, and you shall loathe yourselves for all the evils that you have committed. 44 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name’s sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, declares the Lord God.”
45 And the word of the Lord came to me: 46 “Son of man, set your face toward the southland; preach against the south, and prophesy against the forest land in the Negeb. 47 Say to the forest of the Negeb, Hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree in you and every dry tree. The blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from south to north shall be scorched by it. 48 All flesh shall see that I the Lord have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.” 49 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! They are saying of me, ‘Is he not a maker of parables?’”
Q.1. Why did God refuse to hear Judah’s requests and why was He forced to reward their treachery? – (Ezk.20:21-32) = Ezekiel summarised all Israel’s infidelities against the Lord. He had given them good laws and instructions concerning the Sabbath, so that – if a man observes them, he will live (Ezk.20:21). He had shown them great patience. Yet they continually turned to other gods and profaned the Lord’s name among the nations, though God had warned them that if they did this, He would remove them from the land. They did not altogether forsake God, but added other gods ‘just in case’ – the ultimate insult. (Ezk.20:22-30). For that reason – I also gave them over to statutes and rules that were not good and could not give them life (Ezk.20:25 c.f. Rom.1:21,25, 28; 7:7). God explained that by their actions Israel proved they needed a Saviour for – When you offer your gifts and when you cause your sons to pass through the fire, you are defiling yourselves with all your idols to this day (Num.20:26). He declared … As I live, I will not be inquired of by you (Ezk.20:31). In grace, God would chastise them, and thus not allow them to fall so low as to be like the surrounding nations (Ezk.20:32-33).
Q.2. What message did God’s treatment of unbelief in the wilderness send to the people of Ezekiel’s day? – (Ezk.20:33-38, 45-48) = The people were to recognize that just as God had delivered the Hebrews from bondage in Egypt, He would once more regather the scattered nation, judge and purge them, and bring them into a covenant relationship, just as He is doing today (Ezk.20:33-38). In the meantime, Judah would be removed from the land as surely as Israel had been taken into captivity (Ezk.20:45-48). The people ignored the warning claiming that Ezekiel was speaking in riddles (Ezk.20:49).
Q.3. What astounding turn-around did God foretell about the tribes of Israel? – (Ezk.20:39-44) = Ezekiel foreshadowed an unbelievable event when God will gather all Israel from the nations He has sent them – For on My holy mountain, on the high mountain of Israel,” declares the Lord God, “there the whole house of Israel, all of them, will serve Me in the land; there I will accept them and there I will seek your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your holy things (Ezk.20:40). God will prove Himself holy with the rebellious nation – 42 And you will know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the land which I swore to give to your forefathers. 43 There you will remember your ways and all your deeds with which you have defiled yourselves; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for all the evil things that you have done. 44 Then you will know that I am the Lord when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your evil ways or according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel,” declares the Lord God (Ezk.20:42-44). What a pardoning God we have!