Ezekiel 19:1-14 & Ezekiel 20:1-20 … HOW GOD RESPONDED TO THE DECLINE OF HIS PEOPLE.
Q.1. Why did God lament over the destruction and removal of Israel from the land? – (Ezk.19:1-14) =
Q.2. What made God refuse to respond to the inquiries of the elders of His covenant people? – (Ezk.20:1-20) =
A Lament for the Princes of Israel
19 And you, take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, 2 and say:
What was your mother? A lioness!
Among lions she crouched;
in the midst of young lions
she reared her cubs.
3 And she brought up one of her cubs;
he became a young lion,
and he learned to catch prey;
he devoured men.
4 The nations heard about him;
he was caught in their pit,
and they brought him with hooks
to the land of Egypt.
5 When she saw that she waited in vain,
that her hope was lost,
she took another of her cubs
and made him a young lion.
6 He prowled among the lions;
he became a young lion,
and he learned to catch prey;
he devoured men,
7 and seized[a] their widows.
He laid waste their cities,
and the land was appalled and all who were in it
at the sound of his roaring.
8 Then the nations set against him
from provinces on every side;
they spread their net over him;
he was taken in their pit.
9 With hooks they put him in a cage[b]
and brought him to the king of Babylon;
they brought him into custody,
that his voice should no more be heard
on the mountains of Israel.
10 Your mother was like a vine in a vineyard[c]
planted by the water,
fruitful and full of branches
by reason of abundant water.
11 Its strong stems became
it towered aloft
among the thick boughs;[d]
it was seen in its height
with the mass of its branches.
12 But the vine was plucked up in fury,
cast down to the ground;
the east wind dried up its fruit;
they were stripped off and withered.
As for its strong stem,
fire consumed it.
13 Now it is planted in the wilderness,
in a dry and thirsty land.
14 And fire has gone out from the stem of its shoots,
has consumed its fruit,
so that there remains in it no strong stem,
no scepter for ruling.
This is a lamentation and has become a lamentation.
Israel’s Continuing Rebellion
20 In the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord, and sat before me. 2 And the word of the Lord came to me: 3 “Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God, Is it to inquire of me that you come? As I live, declares the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you. 4 Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? Let them know the abominations of their fathers, 5 and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: On the day when I chose Israel, I swore[e] to the offspring of the house of Jacob, making myself known to them in the land of Egypt; I swore to them, saying, I am the Lord your God. 6 On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands. 7 And I said to them, ‘Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.’ 8 But they rebelled against me and were not willing to listen to me. None of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.
“Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. 9 But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt. 10 So I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live. 12 Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. 13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They did not walk in my statutes but rejected my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live; and my Sabbaths they greatly profaned.
“Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them in the wilderness, to make a full end of them. 14 But I 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. 15 Moreover, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land that I had given them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands, 16 because they rejected my rules and did not walk in my statutes, and profaned my Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols. 17 Nevertheless, my eye spared them, and I did not destroy them or make a full end of them in the wilderness.
18 “And I said to their children in the wilderness, ‘Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor keep their rules, nor defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and be careful to obey my rules, 20 and keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.’
Q.1. Why did God lament over the destruction and removal of Israel from the land? – (Ezk.19:1-14) = This is Ezekiel’s lament, picturing Judah’s fate. He pictured Judah as a captured lioness losing two cubs – they brought him to the king of Babylon; they brought him in hunting nets so that his voice would be heard no more on the mountains of Israel (Ezk.19:9 c.f. Ezk.19:1-9). He also described the demise of a vine – planted by the waters; it was fruitful and full of branches because of abundant waters. It had strong branches fit for scepters of rulers … but it was plucked up in fury … (Ezk.19:1-12). The destruction of God’s people broke His heart – … This cry has become a lamentation (Ezk.19:14).
Q.2. What made God refuse to respond to the inquiries of the elders of His covenant people? – (Ezk.20:1-20) = The visit by the elders to Ezekiel asking him ‘to inquire of the Lord’ was an insult, because they had repeatedly rejected the Lord’s warnings (Ezk.20:1). God had told Ezekiel – Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel and say to them, `Thus says the Lord God’, Do you come to inquire of Me? As I live, declares the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you (Ezk.20:3). God had chosen Israel, revealed Himself to them, located them in the best of lands, given them life-giving rules, and had spared them time and again – but they had repeatedly rebelled (Ezk.20:5-13). He poured His grace on them and – I acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, before whose sight I had brought them out … My eye spared them rather than destroying them … (Ezk.20:14 & 17). He continually appealed to the nation saying – I am the Lord your God; Walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and observe them (Ezk.20:19). Each succeeding generation acted treacherously until there was no remedy (Ezk.20:27-32).
(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)
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