Ezekiel 11 (ESV)
Judgment on Wicked Counselors
The Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of the house of the Lord, which faces east. And behold, at the entrance of the gateway there were twenty-five men. And I saw among them Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people.2 And he said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity and who give wicked counsel in this city; 3 who say, ‘The time is not near to build houses. This city is the cauldron, and we are the meat.’4 Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, O son of man.”
The unrighteous men in Jerusalem are saying — “Isn’t it time, a good time, to build houses? Jerusalem will be safe. What Babylonian threat? Just as meat is protected in a cauldron, so we are protected here.” They continue to scorn the messages of God’s prophets, and Ezekiel understands their talk as wicked advice from wicked leaders.
5 And the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and he said to me, “Say, Thus says the Lord: So you think, O house of Israel. For I know the things that come into your mind. 6 You have multiplied your slain in this city and have filled its streets with the slain.
God knows their sin — not only their actions, but also their thoughts.
7 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Your slain whom you have laid in the midst of it, they are the meat, and this city is the cauldron, but you shall be brought out of the midst of it. 8 You have feared the sword, and I will bring the sword upon you, declares the Lord God. 9 And I will bring you out of the midst of it, and give you into the hands of foreigners, and execute judgments upon you.10 You shall fall by the sword. I will judge you at the border of Israel, and you shall know that I am the Lord. 11 This city shall not be your cauldron, nor shall you be the meat in the midst of it.
“No longer is Jerusalem a crock in which food is securely stored; she is a pot over the fire in which the meat is cooked.”
–Daniel I. Block
I will judge you at the border of Israel, 12 and you shall know that I am the Lord. For you have not walked in my statutes, nor obeyed my rules, but have acted according to the rules of the nations that are around you.”
13 And it came to pass, while I was prophesying, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then I fell down on my face and cried out with a loud voice and said, “Ah, Lord God! Will you make a full end of the remnant of Israel?”
Well, that makes it real! Ezekiel is overcome and wonders if any will survive.
Israel’s New Heart and Spirit
14 And the word of the Lord came to me: 15 “Son of man, your brothers, even your brothers, your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those of whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Go far from the Lord; to us this land is given for a possession.’ 16 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone.’
“This statement is without parallel in the OT. The sanctuary was normally conceived of as a cult site or building rendered sacred by the presence of the deity. Here Yahweh promises to be for the exiles what the temple has heretofore been for them in Jerusalem.”
–Daniel I Block
He promises never to leave us or forsake us . . .
17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ 18 And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations.
God promised that Israel’s time of exile would be a cleansing time, a time to take away their previous devotion to idols. This was fulfilled in history; the people of Israel did not have the same problem with the idols of the nations after the exile as they did before.
19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
Take my heart, O Father, take it!
Make and keep it all Thine own;
Let Thy Spirit melt and break it,
This proud heart of sin and stone.
Father, make it pure and lowly,
Fond of peace and far from strife;
Turning from the paths unholy,
Of this vain and sinful life.
Ever let Thy race surround me,
Strengthen me with pow’r divine;
By Thy cords of love that bound me,
Make me to be wholly Thine.
May the blood of Jesus heal me,
And my sins be all forgiv’n;
Holy Spirit, take and seal me,
Guide me in the path to heav’n.
21 But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord God.”
22 Then the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them. 23 And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain that is on the east side of the city. 24 And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me in the vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to the exiles. Then the vision that I had seen went up from me. 25 And I told the exiles all the things that the Lord had shown me.
The vision is completed. Ezekiel wasn’t given this message for his own amazement, but to instruct and warn the people and elders of Israel. They were perhaps shocked at the depths of Jerusalem’s depravity, the severity of the coming judgment, and the promised departure of God’s glory.
HERE is an old hymn, “Jesus Paid It All,” which includes a line in verse 2 that alludes to our passage today: “. . . and melt the heart of stone.” Kristian Stanfill sings.
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.
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