2340.) Proverbs 17

April 20, 2018

“Bread and Water” by Steve Lyon-Bowes

Proverbs 17 (The Message)

A Whack on the Head of a Fool

1 A meal of bread and water in contented peace
is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

“Ponder every thought that may disturb contentment. If you have fewer comforts than you used to have, or fewer comforts than other people have, or fewer comforts than you desire, do you not still have more than you deserve?”

–Charles Bridges

2 A wise servant takes charge of an unruly child
and is honored as one of the family.

3 As silver in a crucible and gold in a pan,
so our lives are assayed by God.

4 Evil people relish malicious conversation;
the ears of liars itch for dirty gossip.

5 Whoever mocks poor people insults their Creator;
gloating over misfortune is a punishable crime.

Really! Remember the finale episode of Seinfeld?!

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6 Old people are distinguished by grandchildren;
children take pride in their parents.

Our newest grandchild! Hunter Logan McGuire. April 9, 2018. 9 lbs and 15 oz!

7 We don’t expect eloquence from fools,
nor do we expect lies from our leaders.

8 Receiving a gift is like getting a rare gemstone;
any way you look at it, you see beauty refracted.

9 Overlook an offense and bond a friendship;
fasten on to a slight and—good-bye, friend!

A friend taught me how to have a happy life. It really is so simple. “Choose NOT to be offended.” I will confess that some people give me many opportunities to practice this habit! Yet I will vouch for its usefulness. “Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another . . . “

10 A quiet rebuke to a person of good sense
does more than a whack on the head of a fool.

11 Criminals out looking for nothing but trouble
won’t have to wait long—they’ll meet it coming and going!

12 Better to meet a grizzly robbed of her cubs
than a fool hellbent on folly.

13 Those who return evil for good
will meet their own evil returning.

“To render good for evil is divine, good for good is human, evil for evil is brutish, evil for good is devilish.”

–John Trapp

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14 The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam,
so stop it before it bursts.

15 Whitewashing bad people and throwing mud on good people
are equally abhorrent to God.

16 What’s this? Fools out shopping for wisdom!
They wouldn’t recognize it if they saw it!

 17 Friends love through all kinds of weather,
   and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.

“Let it be applied. Then two startling questions will arise. First, a question as to whether I am really a friend to anyone; and second, a question as to how many real friends I have.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

“We must look to our Lord for the best example in this matter. We see the Son of God taking on our nature so that he might be our friend and brother (Hebrews 2:14). The mystery of this friendship is beyond our imagination.”

–Charles Bridges

18 It’s stupid to try to get something for nothing,
or run up huge bills you can never pay.

19 The person who courts sin marries trouble;
build a wall, invite a burglar.

20 A bad motive can’t achieve a good end;
double-talk brings you double trouble.

21 Having a fool for a child is misery;
it’s no fun being the parent of a dolt.

 22 A cheerful disposition is good for your health;
   gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

23 The wicked take bribes under the table;
they show nothing but contempt for justice.

24 The perceptive find wisdom in their own front yard;
fools look for it everywhere but right here.

25 A surly, stupid child is sheer pain to a father,
a bitter pill for a mother to swallow.

26 It’s wrong to penalize good behavior,
or make good citizens pay for the crimes of others.

27 The one who knows much says little;
an understanding person remains calm.

28 Even dunces who keep quiet are thought to be wise;
as long as they keep their mouths shut, they’re smart.

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

–Abraham Lincoln

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Music:

Verse 17 talks about the value of friendship. Let’s say THANKS today to all of our wonderful friends! Make a few phone calls, write a few emails!  HERE  is Elaine Paige and Dionne Warwick and “Thank You for Being a Friend.”

_________________________

The Message (MSG)   Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
Images courtesy of:
Lyon-Bowes.    http://www.paintingsilove.com/image/show/178473/bread-and-water
Seinfeld.   https://www.vix.com/es/btg/series/59188/9-interesantes-datos-sobre-el-polemico-final-de-seinfeld
True friendship dog and cat.    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/693976623800070649/?autologin=true
leaky dam.   http://www.bayviewbaptist.org/clientimages/21617/leaking_dam_op_800x1066.jpg
A friend loves at all times.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/friend_daisy.jpg
By their fruits.   http://cerebralfaith.blogspot.com/2015/08/does-jesus-fruit-tree-illustration_1.html
Laughter is the best medicine.   http://www.phlbi.org/blog/2017/08/laughter-best-medicine/
Abraham Lincoln.   http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/last.jpg
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2339.) Ezekiel 24

April 19, 2018

Ezekiel 24   (ESV)

The Parable of the Boiling Cauldron, or, The Siege of Jerusalem

In the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me:

As God commanded, Ezekiel carefully recorded the day of this prophecy. This was a nation-changing and life-changing date, long remembered. To relate this to the 21st century United States events, it was an iconic date like 9-11. This exact date is also recorded in 2 Kings 25:1. Jeremiah 39:1, and Jeremiah 52:4.  The day was important because it was the start of what God had long promised – the final siege, conquest, and destruction of Jerusalem.

“Son of man, write down the name of this day, this very day. The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. And utter a parable to the rebellious house and say to them, Thus says the Lord God:

“Set on the pot, set it on;
    pour in water also;
put in it the pieces of meat,
    all the good pieces, the thigh and the shoulder;
    fill it with choice bones.
Take the choicest one of the flock;
    pile the logs under it;
boil it well;
    seethe also its bones in it.

From the description, Jerusalem would be a remarkable feast for Nebuchadnezzar and his armies. “The cook does not appear to be fixing an ordinary dinner; rather, an extraordinarily sumptuous meal is implied by the emphasis on the quality and quantity of meat being prepared.”

–Daniel I. Block

“Therefore thus says the Lord God: Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose corrosion is in it, and whose corrosion has not gone out of it! Take out of it piece after piece, without making any choice. For the blood she has shed is in her midst; she put it on the bare rock; she did not pour it out on the ground to cover it with dust. To rouse my wrath, to take vengeance, I have set on the bare rock the blood she has shed, that it may not be covered. Therefore thus says the Lord God: Woe to the bloody city!

Jerusalem was a bloody city in at least two ways. First, it was the city where much innocent blood had been shed, often under the cover of authority . Second, it was the city where much blood would be shed under Nebuchadnezzar’s attack.

 I also will make the pile great. 10 Heap on the logs, kindle the fire, boil the meat well, mix in the spices, and let the bones be burned up. 11 Then set it empty upon the coals, that it may become hot, and its copper may burn, that its uncleanness may be melted in it, its corrosion consumed. 12 She has wearied herself with toil; its abundant corrosion does not go out of it. Into the fire with its corrosion!13 On account of your unclean lewdness, because I would have cleansed you and you were not cleansed from your uncleanness, you shall not be cleansed anymore till I have satisfied my fury upon you.

Through many generations God sent His prophets to His people. They had the institutions of the temple, sacrifice, the feasts, and the priesthood. All of these should have been cleansing, purifying agents upon His people – yet they were not. Therefore God would not cleanse them any more; in His fury He would judge them.

14 I am the Lord. I have spoken; it shall come to pass; I will do it. I will not go back; I will not spare; I will not relent; according to your ways and your deeds you will be judged, declares the Lord God.”

The repetition leaves no doubt that God will do as He has said.

Ezekiel’s Wife Dies

15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke; yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down. 17 Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your shoes on your feet; do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men.”

“He was not forbidden to sorrow, for even our Lord wept at the grave of Lazarus. He was only prohibited from a loud manifestation of it, which was in contrast to the usual loud wailing on such occasions. The general truth may be found in Jeremiah 16:5, where it is shown that all personal sorrow will be eclipsed in the hour of universal calamity.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded.

This was a great loss to Ezekiel, one that many have suffered. The title the desire of your eyes (verse 15) points to a dear and loving relationship. Throughout the book Ezekiel is presented to us as a man of deep feeling and emotion who often mourned and wept over the fate of Jerusalem and Judah. He certainly was deeply affected by this sudden loss of a dear companion and spouse.

Remarkably, Ezekiel obeyed God. However overwhelming the feeling may have been to mourn and weep, Ezekiel was determined to honor God by obeying Him despite his feelings and the quite understandable circumstances.

–David Guzik

19 And the people said to me, “Will you not tell us what these things mean for us, that you are acting thus?” 20 Then I said to them, “The word of the Lord came to me: 21 ‘Say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the pride of your power, the delight of your eyes, and the yearning of your soul, and your sons and your daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword.22 And you shall do as I have done; you shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men. 23 Your turbans shall be on your heads and your shoes on your feet; you shall not mourn or weep, but you shall rot away in your iniquities and groan to one another. 24 Thus shall Ezekiel be to you a sign; according to all that he has done you shall do. When this comes, then you will know that I am the Lord God.’

As a husband finds a proper source of joy, confidence, and security in his relationship with his wife, so Israel had an improper source of confidence and security in the temple (your arrogant boast). As Ezekiel’s wife suddenly died, so the sanctuary would suddenly and soon perish.

Both in exile and in the land, in Ezekiel’s day the people of Israel had an irrational and dangerous confidence in the mere existence of the temple. They thought, “This is God’s house. It is dear to Him and to us. He will never allow it to be conquered.” God shattered this mistaken confidence.

The beginning of Ezekiel 24 marked the start of Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem. The day would soon and inevitably come when the temple and all else they held dear would be conquered and destroyed.

–David Guzik

25 “As for you, son of man, surely on the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy and glory, the delight of their eyes and their soul’s desire, and also their sons and daughters, 26 on that day a fugitive will come to you to report to you the news. 27 On that day your mouth will be opened to the fugitive, and you shall speak and be no longer mute. So you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the Lord.”

“That day will be marked by two significant events: Yahweh will pull the rug out from under the people by removing the ground of all their hopes, and he will vindicate his prophet by confirming his sign value for the nation.”

–Daniel I. Block

This concludes the first section (chapters 1-24) of Ezekiel, concerning the them of “Judgment Against Israel.” Chapters 25-33 concern Judgment Against the Nations. The final section, chapters 34-48, shows Hope for Israel and the Nations.

_________________________

Music:

Oh! To keep ourselves clean from sin so that we can be bright lights of witness for our Savior!

HERE  is a song for confession every day — “Create in me a clean heart, oh God.” Keith Green

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English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Jerusalem as the pot.   http://m.blog.daum.net/hwanihana/2
What does it mean? chart.   https://tryitoutlah.wordpress.com/category/ezekiel/
Ezekiel’s wife dies.   https://drewboswell.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/www-St-Takla-org-Bible-Slides-ezekiel-1513.jpg
Solomon’s temple.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon%27s_Temple#/media/File:Solomon%27s_Temple_Jerusalem.jpg

2338.) Ezekiel 23

April 18, 2018

The story of two sisters

Ezekiel 23   (ESV)

Oholah and Oholibah

Here is some Scripture you have probably never heard read aloud in church! But remember the purpose that Ezekiel has — to rouse the people of Jerusalem to see the terrible fate that is coming on account of their on-going unrighteousness.

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother. They played the whore in Egypt; 

There are several evidences of Israel’s idolatry in Egypt:

~The worship of the golden calf at Mount Sinai (Exodus 32:1-6)

~The reference to their idolatry in Egypt (Joshua 24:14): Put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!

~Jeroboam’s choice of golden calves as objects of worship (1 Kings 12:26-33).

–David Guzik

they played the whore in their youth; there their breasts were pressed and their virgin bosoms handled. Oholah was the name of the elder and Oholibah the name of her sister. They became mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.

God gave these two symbolic sisters names. The elder was Oholah, which means Her Own Tabernacle, with the sense that she rejected God’s temple and the service that attended it. The younger was Oholibah, which means My Tabernacle is In Her, with the sense that she was home to God’s temple and its service.

–David Guzik

Oholah played the whore while she was mine, and she lusted after her lovers the Assyrians, warriors clothed in purple, governors and commanders, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding on horses. She bestowed her whoring upon them, the choicest men of Assyria all of them, and she defiled herself with all the idols of everyone after whom she lusted. She did not give up her whoring that she had begun in Egypt; for in her youth men had lain with her and handled her virgin bosom and poured out their whoring lust upon her.

Before the Assyrians conquered Israel she followed her attraction to their gods, their power, their protection, and their ways. This repeats an irony expressed before in Ezekiel; when God’s people reject Him and embrace the idols of the nations, He allows those nations to conquer His people.

We imagine the small kingdom of Israel looking with awe and envy upon the mighty empire of the Assyrians. Though they feared them, they also noticed their power and wealth, their influence and fame. Israel thought that by worshiping Assyria’s gods, adopting their morals, and embracing their customs they also could gain some of that power and fame. It was a foolish rejection of their covenant God and embrace of idolatry.

–David Guzik

Therefore I delivered her into the hands of her lovers, into the hands of the Assyrians, after whom she lusted. 10 These uncovered her nakedness; they seized her sons and her daughters; and as for her, they killed her with the sword; and she became a byword among women, when judgment had been executed on her.

“Throughout the Scriptures it may be discerned that divine retribution operates in such a way that the source of sinful pleasure becomes the source of punishment. Samaria’s lovers became her destroyers.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

11 “Her sister Oholibah saw this, and she became more corrupt than her sister in her lust and in her whoring, which was worse than that of her sister. 12 She lusted after the Assyrians, governors and commanders, warriors clothed in full armor, horsemen riding on horses, all of them desirable young men. 13 And I saw that she was defiled; they both took the same way. 14 But she carried her whoring further. She saw men portrayed on the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion, 15 wearing belts on their waists, with flowing turbans on their heads, all of them having the appearance of officers, a likeness of Babylonians whose native land was Chaldea. 16 When she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoring lust. And after she was defiled by them, she turned from them in disgust. 18 When she carried on her whoring so openly and flaunted her nakedness, I turned in disgust from her, as I had turned in disgust from her sister. 19 Yet she increased her whoring, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt20 and lusted after her lovers there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses. 21 Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom and pressed your young breasts.”

In the end, Jerusalem was more depraved than Samaria. Jerusalem ran after her idol-lovers in the most gross and disgusting ways, thinking that these potent, mighty people could protect Judah. Ezekiel used this nearly raunchy language to shock his complacent listeners. 

22 Therefore, O Oholibah, thus says the Lord God:

God’s judgment against Jerusalem was all the more deserved because they were Oholibah – meaning, My Tabernacle is In Her. The great blessing of the temple and priesthood in their midst made their accountability much greater.

–David Guzik

“Behold, I will stir up against you your lovers from whom you turned in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side: 23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, desirable young men, governors and commanders all of them, officers and men of renown, all of them riding on horses. 24 And they shall come against you from the north with chariots and wagons and a host of peoples. They shall set themselves against you on every side with buckler, shield, and helmet; and I will commit the judgment to them, and they shall judge you according to their judgments. 25 And I will direct my jealousy against you, that they may deal with you in fury. They shall cut off your nose and your ears, and your survivors shall fall by the sword. They shall seize your sons and your daughters, and your survivors shall be devoured by fire. 26 They shall also strip you of your clothes and take away your beautiful jewels. 27 Thus I will put an end to your lewdness and your whoring begun in the land of Egypt, so that you shall not lift up your eyes to them or remember Egypt anymore.

“Those who had previously come to her to make love, now come from all sides to make war.”

–Daniel I. Block

Block quoted an excerpt from the annals of Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (883–859):

“I felled with the sword 800 of their combat troops, I burnt 3,000 captives from them. I did not leave one of them alive as a hostage. I captured alive Hulaya their city ruler. I made a pile of their corpses. I burnt their adolescent boys (and) girls. I flayed Hulaya their city ruler (and) draped his skin over the wall of the city Damdammusa. I razed, destroyed, (and) burnt the city… Moving on from the city Kinabu I approached the city Tela. The city was well fortified… I felled 3,000 of their fighting men with the sword. I carried off prisoners, possessions, oxen (and) cattle from them. I burnt many captives from them. I captured many troops alive: I cut off of some their arms (and) hands; I cut off of others their noses, ears (and) extremities. I gouged out the eyes of many troops. I made one pile of the living (and) one of heads. I hung their heads on trees around the city. I burnt their adolescent boys (and) girls. I razed, destroyed, burnt (and) consumed the city.”

28 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will deliver you into the hands of those whom you hate, into the hands of those from whom you turned in disgust, 29 and they shall deal with you in hatred and take away all the fruit of your labor and leave you naked and bare, and the nakedness of your whoring shall be uncovered. Your lewdness and your whoring30 have brought this upon you, because you played the whore with the nations and defiled yourself with their idols. 31 You have gone the way of your sister; therefore I will give her cup into your hand.

Being Oholibah (having the temple) instead of Oholah (rejecting the temple) made no difference if it did not result in faithfulness to Yahweh and His covenant. If the people of Jerusalem thought having the temple would save them from judgment, that God would never allow the Babylonians to destroy the temple, they needed to learn from the story of Oholah and Oholibah.

–David Guzik

32 Thus says the Lord God:

“You shall drink your sister’s cup
    that is deep and large;
you shall be laughed at and held in derision,
    for it contains much;
33 you will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow. A cup of horror and desolation,
    the cup of your sister Samaria;
34 you shall drink it and drain it out,
    and gnaw its shards,
    and tear your breasts;

“Drinking that cup would result in national ‘drunkenness,’ i.e., confusion, which in turn would lead to scorn and derision by other nations. That cup would produce sorrow, astonishment and desolation.”

–Chuck Smith

for I have spoken, declares the Lord God. 35 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have forgotten me and cast me behind your back, you yourself must bear the consequences of your lewdness and whoring.”

The punishment to come is not a pretty picture, Ezekiel says. Now he lists the specific sins:

36 The Lord said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Declare to them their abominations. 37 For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. With their idols they have committed adultery, and they have even offered up to them for food the children whom they had borne to me. 38 Moreover, this they have done to me: they have defiled my sanctuary on the same day and profaned my Sabbaths. 39 For when they had slaughtered their children in sacrifice to their idols, on the same day they came into my sanctuary to profane it. And behold, this is what they did in my house. 40 They even sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and behold, they came. For them you bathed yourself, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments. 41 You sat on a stately couch, with a table spread before it on which you had placed my incense and my oil. 42 The sound of a carefree multitude was with her; and with men of the common sort, drunkards were brought from the wilderness; and they put bracelets on the hands of the women, and beautiful crowns on their heads.

They loved their idolatry! The preparation for the parties included bathing, putting on make-up, and carefully choosing dress and jewelry. Lavish food and drink surrounded them. And for whom? — drunkards and other unworthies. I find it hard to read these passages and not think of certain elements of our modern club/entertainment culture . . .

43 “Then I said of her who was worn out by adultery, ‘Now they will continue to use her for a whore, even her!’ 44 For they have gone in to her, as men go in to a prostitute. Thus they went in to Oholah and to Oholibah, lewd women! 45 But righteous men shall pass judgment on them with the sentence of adulteresses, and with the sentence of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their hands.”

46 For thus says the Lord God: “Bring up a vast host against them, and make them an object of terror and a plunder. 47 And the host shall stone them and cut them down with their swords. They shall kill their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses. 48 Thus will I put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not commit lewdness as you have done. 49 And they shall return your lewdness upon you, and you shall bear the penalty for your sinful idolatry, and you shall know that I am the Lord God.”

The severity of conquest and exile had a purpose greater than punishment. The ultimate purpose was to reveal God in both His holy judgments and gracious restorations.

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Music:

In contrast to the distasteful sin and unrelenting shamefulness of these sisters in this chapter,  HERE  is a song of victory in our Savior! Elevation Worship and “Resurrecting.”

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English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Two sisters.   http://m.blog.daum.net/hwanihana/2
disobedience leads to suffering.   http://hopehelphealing.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Ezekiel.2.9-Surgical_Prayer.jpg
clubbing girl.   http://clubtone.net/photo/1-0-3468-3

2337.) Ezekiel 22

April 17, 2018

Ezekiel 22   (ESV)

Israel’s Shedding of Blood

verses 1-5:  The guilt and the judgment of Jerusalem, the bloody city.

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “And you, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? 

“Ezekiel seems to have borrowed this phrase from Nahum, who had in the previous century arraigned Nineveh as ‘the bloody city’ par excellence.”

–Daniel I. Block

Jerusalem seemed as bad as Nineveh!

Then declare to her all her abominations. You shall say, Thus says the Lord God: A city that sheds blood in her midst, so that her time may come, and that makes idols to defile herself! You have become guilty by the blood that you have shed, and defiled by the idols that you have made, and you have brought your days near, the appointed time of your years has come. Therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all the countries. Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you; your name is defiled; you are full of tumult.

verses 6-12:  The many sins of Israel and her princes.

“Behold, the princes of Israel in you, every one according to his power, have been bent on shedding blood. Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the sojourner suffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow are wronged in you. You have despised my holy things and profaned my Sabbaths. There are men in you who slander to shed blood, and people in you who eat on the mountains; they commit lewdness in your midst. 10 In you men uncover their fathers’ nakedness; in you they violate women who are unclean in their menstrual impurity. 11 One commits abomination with his neighbor’s wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; another in you violates his sister, his father’s daughter. 12 In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and profit and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; but me you have forgotten, declares the Lord God.

Instead of using their power in ways that would honor God and serve His people, the princes of Israel used their power in violent, self-serving ways — despising family and stranger, forgetting the Sabbaths, committing sexual immorality, imposing economic injustice — all things God had expressly forbidden.

verses 13-16:  God beats His fists against Jerusalem’s corrupt leaders.

13 “Behold, I strike my hand at the dishonest gain that you have made, and at the blood that has been in your midst. 14 Can your courage endure, or can your hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with you? I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it. 15 I will scatter you among the nations and disperse you through the countries, and I will consume your uncleanness out of you. 16 And you shall be profaned by your own doing in the sight of the nations, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

“Thou shalt know me by my punishments, whom thou wouldst not know by my benefits.”

–John Trapp

verses 17-22:   God’s furnace of judgment.

17 And the word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to me; all of them are bronze and tin and iron and lead in the furnace; they are dross of silver. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have all become dross, therefore, behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20 As one gathers silver and bronze and iron and lead and tin into a furnace, to blow the fire on it in order to melt it, so I will gather you in my anger and in my wrath, and I will put you in and melt you. 21 I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in the midst of it. 22 As silver is melted in a furnace, so you shall be melted in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the Lord; I have poured out my wrath upon you.”

“The prophet’s point is that far from being regarded as Yahweh’s special treasure, the house of Israel is nothing more than slag, the waste produced in the extraction of silver from ore.”

–Daniel I. Block

And yet, this severe announcement of judgment had within it a glimmer of hope. When the refiner melts the silver (or other precious metal) it isn’t to destroy it, but to purify it. As terrible as the burning of Jerusalem and exile would be, it would purify Israel even through the judgment.

verses 23-29:   The sins of prophets, priests, princes, and people.

23 And the word of the Lord came to me: 24 “Son of man, say to her, You are a land that is not cleansed or rained upon in the day of indignation.25 The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured human lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. 26 Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.

The priests failed in their basic responsibilities to honor God’s law themselves, and to teach the people to do so. Therefore God was profaned among them, when He should have been glorified among His own priests.

–David Guzik

27 Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. 28 And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lordhas not spoken. 29 The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice.

When the leaders should have been like faithful shepherds, they were instead like vicious wolves. Their interest was not in the glory of God and the welfare of His people; it was to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain.

verses 30-31:   The vain search for a man to stand in the gap.

30 And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.

31 Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord God.”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Babbie Mason and “Standing in the Gap.”

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Jerusalem’s sins.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/103231016436235205
10 Commandments.   https://renewaljournal.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/10-commands.gif
Proverbs 17:3.   https://patrickstreetcofc.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/proverbs-17-3.jpg
Wanted.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/452330356302186046/
Standing in the Gap.   http://thegodspeople.com/index.php/2017/03/03/standing-gap-complainer-prayer-warrior/

2336.) Ezekiel 21

April 16, 2018

 

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

Ezekiel 21   (ESV)

The Lord Has Drawn His Sword

He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword.

“No chapter in the Bible speaks more prominently and fully of the sword of the Lord than does this chapter which has been called the sword song or the prophecy of the sword.”

–Charles Feinberg

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuaries. Prophesy against the land of Israel and say to the land of Israel, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am against you and will draw my sword from its sheath and will cut off from you both righteous and wicked. Because I will cut off from you both righteous and wicked, therefore my sword shall be drawn from its sheath against all flesh from south to north. And all flesh shall know that I am the Lord. I have drawn my sword from its sheath; it shall not be sheathed again.

“The teaching here regarding the cutting off of both righteous and wicked does not contradict the teaching of chapter 18 that only the soul that sins shall die (cf. Ezekiel 18:20). The former passage spoke of final judgment, while this passage speaks of temporal judgment. As regards final judgment, the righteous will not be destroyed along with the wicked. In temporal judgments, however, both often suffer equally.”

–Chuck Smith

“As for you, son of man, groan; with breaking heart and bitter grief, groan before their eyes. And when they say to you, ‘Why do you groan?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that it is coming. Every heart will melt, and all hands will be feeble; every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it is coming, and it will be fulfilled,’” declares the Lord God.

God did not want Ezekiel to be an unemotional messenger of judgment. God wanted the heart of the prophet to display the same breaking heart that God Himself had.

–David Guzik

And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus says the Lord, say:

“A sword, a sword is sharpened
    and also polished,
10 sharpened for slaughter,
    polished to flash like lightning!

(Or shall we rejoice? You have despised the rod, my son, with everything of wood.) 11 So the sword is given to be polished, that it may be grasped in the hand. It is sharpened and polished to be given into the hand of the slayer. 12 Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is against my people. It is against all the princes of Israel. They are delivered over to the sword with my people. Strike therefore upon your thigh. 13 For it will not be a testing—what could it do if you despise the rod?” declares the Lord God.

He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.

14 “As for you, son of man, prophesy. Clap your hands and let the sword come down twice, yes, three times, the sword for those to be slain. It is the sword for the great slaughter, which surrounds them, 15 that their hearts may melt, and many stumble. At all their gates I have given the glittering sword. Ah, it is made like lightning; it is taken up for slaughter. 16 Cut sharply to the right; set yourself to the left, wherever your face is directed.

“Since he and other prophets often reinforced their messages with dramatic signs, he has perhaps drawn a sword and is whirling it round, making it flash in the sun, and shouting his words in disjointed sentences.”

–Christopher J. H.Wright

17 I also will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury; I the Lord have spoken.”

18 The word of the Lord came to me again: 19 “As for you, son of man, mark two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to come.

Both of them shall come from the same land. And make a signpost; make it at the head of the way to a city. 20 Mark a way for the sword to come to Rabbah of the Ammonites and to Judah, into Jerusalem the fortified.21 For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination. He shakes the arrows; he consults the teraphim; he looks at the liver.

Ezekiel pictured Nebuchadnezzar using all the methods pagans used to get guidance from their gods.

22 Into his right hand comes the divination for Jerusalem, to set battering rams, to open the mouth with murder, to lift up the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to cast up mounds, to build siege towers. 23 But to them it will seem like a false divination. They have sworn solemn oaths, but he brings their guilt to remembrance, that they may be taken.

“Even Nebuchadnezzar’s superstition was overruled by God in order to carry out His purpose on Judah (for Babylon’s divinations see Isaiah 47:8-15). The king thought he was deciding by the help of his gods, but God was determining the course of his action.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

24 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have made your guilt to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your deeds your sins appear—because you have come to remembrance, you shall be taken in hand. 25 And you, O profane wicked one, prince of Israel, whose day has come, the time of your final punishment, 26 thus says the Lord God: Remove the turban and take off the crown. Things shall not remain as they are. Exalt that which is low, and bring low that which is exalted. 27 A ruin, ruin, ruin I will make it. 

The idea is repeated three times both for great emphasis and because Nebuchadnezzar subjugated Jerusalem three times, with the third bringing complete destruction and conquest.

“Our King is always engaged in destruction, that He may the better occupy Himself with construction. He overthrows our cities of brick that He may build them of marble. He removes the things that can be shaken, as things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.”

–F. B. Meyer

This also shall not be, until he comes, the one to whom judgment belongs, and I will give it to him.

“Whatever the king of Judah thought to establish by his wit and power, God would overthrow. Nothing should stand, however carefully constructed, till the Messiah came to take up the kingdom and rule with meekness and righteousness.”

–F. B. Meyer

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.

28 “And you, son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord God concerning the Ammonites and concerning their reproach;

When God said that Nebuchadnezzar would stand at the parting of the roads and be guided by God to go to Jerusalem, it did not mean that God would not bring judgment against the Ammonites. The land of Ammon was on the eastern side of the Jordan River, in the modern day kingdom of Jordan. Unlike the Israelites, the Ammonites would eventually disappear as a people.

–David Guzik

say, A sword, a sword is drawn for the slaughter. It is polished to consume and to flash like lightning— 29 while they see for you false visions, while they divine lies for you—to place you on the necks of the profane wicked, whose day has come, the time of their final punishment. 30 Return it to its sheath. In the place where you were created, in the land of your origin, I will judge you. 31 And I will pour out my indignation upon you; I will blow upon you with the fire of my wrath, and I will deliver you into the hands of brutish men, skillful to destroy. 32 You shall be fuel for the fire. Your blood shall be in the midst of the land. You shall be no more remembered, for I the Lord have spoken.”

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.

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Music:

But of course.   HERE  is “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” written by Julia Ward Howe in November 1861. Her use of Old Testament imagery of judgment is particularly vivid. Sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

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English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
sword.   http://m.blog.daum.net/hwanihana/2
map.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/548383692115830893/
Psalm 103:19.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/125256433360383743

2335.) Ezekiel 20

April 13, 2018

Ezekiel 20   (ESV)

God’s mercy to Israel in Egypt and the wilderness.

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.

This sounds familiar; we saw the same event in Ezekiel 14. 

–David Guzik (and all following comments in blue)

And the word of the Lord came to me: “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. Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? Let them know the abominations of their fathers,

Following in Ezekiel 20 is a strong description and denunciation of Israel’s abominations through their history, together with remarkable promises of restoration and mercy.

and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: On the day when I chose Israel, I swore 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. 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. 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.’ 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.

God repeated the promise originally given to Abraham and his covenant descendants, renewing it for the generation yet in Egypt. God promised to take them out of Egypt, and into Canaan, which He called the glory of all lands. Their responsibility:  worship God alone, which was very clearly stated in the First Commandment.

“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. 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.

Again and again the Israelites worships idols (remember the golden calf?). Again and again God spared them.

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.

“The Sabbath was the central sign of the old covenant (cf. Isa. 56:2, 4). Repeatedly it is shown that the law of the Sabbath was not legislation by which they could gain life but rather the sign of the covenant between God and Israel.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

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 Lordyour God.’ 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.

It is a repetitious story: the Israelites rebelling against God by worshipping idols, and God making it clear to them that such behavior will not work.

“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.

Since Israel rejected God’s law (Ezekiel 20:8, 20:13, 20:16), God allowed them to live under the law of other nations – laws that were not good and judgments by which they could not live.

God’s mercy to disobedient Israel in the Promised Land.

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.)

“The crowning rebellion of Israel’s history was that when finally, in the mercy of God, they entered into the land of promise, they promptly took over the heathen Canaanite hill-top shrines as their own places of sacrifice.” 

–John B. Taylor

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.

The elders originally came to seek a word from God through the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 20:1). God made it clear that He owed no special revelation to such a disobedient people. If we want to hear God’s voice and receive His guidance, it is always best to obey what He has already said and walk in the path already revealed.

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.

“The emphasis is not on the intimacy of the relationship between deity and human but on the directness of the encounter. This time there will be no cloud or mediator to shield Israel from the awesome divine majesty.”

–Daniel I. Block

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.

God is not promising an easy salvation — the definite direction is that of judgment. The people of Israel will soon have to meet their Master and come “face to face” not only with Him but with their own sinfulness.

37 I will make you pass under the rod,

“The idiom derives from the custom of a shepherd standing at the entrance of the fold and using his rod to count, examine, and sort his sheep.”

–Daniel I. Block

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.

 Only some of the people would be allowed to return. “Centuries before in the wilderness of Egypt the Lord had discriminated between those who were destined to enter the land of promise, and those who were not. So now the Babylonian exile would serve to discriminate between those who were to be permitted to return, and those who would be denied.”

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.

God calls them to choose one or the other — God or their idols. Then He describes what proper worship would look like:

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.”

Both the righteous and the wicked will suffer from the coming devastation. “Ezekiel characterizes Yahweh as an enemy who ignites the forest, setting off a conflagration that does not cease until every twig has burned up.”

–Charles L. Block

49 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! They are saying of me, ‘Is he not a maker of parables?’”

The elders of Israel (see verse 1) and others rejected or even despised Ezekiel’s message because they claimed it was hard to understand. Their understanding was willful and would be judged.

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Music:

The condition of the nation was dire, because they were not obeying, not following God. But He continued to call them back to Himself. What is the condition of our hearts in a noisy and confusing world?  HERE  is “Jesus Call Us O’er the Tumult,” sung by Koine, a Milwaukee-based musical group known in part for their combining centuries old texts and hymns with more modern accompaniments. Cool how the song arrangement begins with noisy tumult!

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English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Ezekiel 20:19-20.   https://dailyverses.net/ezekiel/20/19-20
First Commandment.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/289778557243589867/
Shabbat Shalom.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/535083999468978217
You will seek Me.   http://sgilmore215.blogspot.com/2015/12/
Choose this day.   https://bradnd24.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/20121116-131940.jpg

2334.) Ezekiel 19

April 12, 2018

Ezekiel 19   (ESV)

A Lament for the Princes of Israel

Ezekiel 19 is the collection of two laments, two sorrowful songs over the condition of Israel in Ezekiel’s day. It is a lamentation both by its poetic arrangement and by its subject matter.  This lamentation mainly concerns the later kings of Israel. Significantly, God here called them princes rather than kings, even though it refers to three of the later kings of Judah. It is also significant that God referred to them as princes of Israel, even though the northern kingdom was long before conquered and scattered.

–David Guzik

“So long as a descendant of David occupied the throne in Jerusalem, the Judeans could hope in divine protection. After all, Yahweh had made an eternal covenant with David (2 Sam. 7); he would surely not abandon his designated ruler or the people he represented. Ezekiel’s aim in this ‘dirge’ is to demolish another false theological pillar on which the nation’s sense of security was based. Yahweh’s covenant with David is hereby suspended.”

–Daniel I. Block

And you, take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, and say:

First lament:

What was your mother? A lioness!

The lioness is a representation of Jerusalem.

“‘The lion of Judah’ was probably as proverbial a term in Ezekiel’s days as ‘the Russian bear’ or ‘the American eagle’ is in our own times.”

–Vawter and Hoppe

    Among lions she crouched;
in the midst of young lions
    she reared her cubs.
And she brought up one of her cubs;
    he became a young lion,
and he learned to catch prey;
    he devoured men.

This refers to Jehoahaz, the son of King Josiah. Jehoahaz reigned only for a few months in 609 BCE. His reign was short but evil and brutal (he devoured men).

The nations heard about him;
    he was caught in their pit,
and they brought him with hooks
    to the land of Egypt.

King Jehoahaz of Judah was taken prisoner to Egypt in 609 BCE (2 Kings 23:31-33), after a three-month reign.

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.
He prowled among the lions;
    he became a young lion,
and he learned to catch prey;
    he devoured men,
and seized their widows.
    He laid waste their cities,
and the land was appalled and all who were in it
    at the sound of his roaring.

This was King Jehoiachin of Judah, who reigned from 609 to 597 BCE. He also learned the ways of lions and “devoured men.”

Then the nations set against him
    from provinces on every side;
they spread their net over him;
    he was taken in their pit.

When Jehoiachin rebelled against his Babylonian overlords Nebuchadnezzar brought an army against him from the many nations and provinces under his empire.

With hooks they put him in a cage
    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.

“He was carried that long journey in chains, enough to change his roaring lion-like into the roarings of a desperate, miserable captive.”

–Matthew Poole

Second lament:

10 Your mother was like a vine in a vineyard
    planted by the water,
fruitful and full of branches
    by reason of abundant water.

Israel has long been symbolized by the vine (see Isaiah 5:1-7).

11 Its strong stems became
    rulers’ scepters;
it towered aloft
    among the thick boughs;
it was seen in its height
    with the mass of its branches.

Ezekiel is remembering the glory days of the united kingdom of Israel under David and Solomon.

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.

Israel’s disobedience brought God’s judgment and the vine was transplanted in an unpleasant (at least to the Jews) place.

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.

“Note that the destructive fire comes from the stem of the vine itself. Thus Jerusalem and the royal house are the cause of their own destruction.”

–Christopher J. H. Wright

This is a lamentation and has become a lamentation.

“His message was a lamentation for the destruction already carried out; it would be a lamentation for the desolation yet to be accomplished.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

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Music:

Enough of lamentation! Let’s join in a song of praise to our God!  HERE  is “Build My Life,” with Brett Younker.

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English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
lioness with cubs.   http://i.pinimg.com/736x/81/81/15/81811557dbae348ea770b059e814f8c5.jpg
vine in a vineyard.   http://mywinebucketlist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/koehler_winery_vines_and_fruit_crop.jpg