While Jeremiah was speaking to the people left in the land of Judah, Ezekiel was speaking to the people in Babylon.
BECAUSE OF TIME, I WILL ONLY GIVE THE OUTLINE UP TO THE POINT OF THE MESSAGE.
Chapter 1, Ezekil is minding his own buisness when the Lord reveals His glory to him. Eekiel is in bondage, yet he sees the glory of the Lord.In the most desperate of situations, the Lord can still be glorious.
1:28, Ezekiel is overwhelmed by the glory of God, so he falls on his face.
2:1, the Lord tells him to get up, and in v. 2, the Spirit of God is the One who enables him to stand before the Lord.
2:3ff., continues with the command to Ezekiel to go to the Lord's people who are in captivity in the nation of Babylon.He is warned about their hard, rebellous hearts, but he is told to go anyway.He is warned not to be afraid of the ones to whom he is sent.
Ch 3:1-3, Ezekiel is given the Word of God.It is as sweet as honey to him.Vv. 4ff., the result of receiving the Word of God is that he is then sent as a missionary with the Word of God to God's people who are in captivity.
Furthermore, Ezekiel is told that he is sent to a people who can understand what he says: Ezekiel will not have to learn a new language.
3:18ff., Ezekiel is told to deliver the Word of God he received in v. 3.
3:22, Ezekiel is told to get alone with the Lord so the Lord can speak to him.
V. 26, Ezekiel is forbidden to speak anything except what the Lord gives to him.
Chapters 4 & 5 portray the coming, final siege against Jerusalem for her sins.
Chapter 5:7 starts the details of why the terrible siege is coming against Jerusalem.
V. 9, says that the Lord moves more harshly against HIs people than He does against those who are not His people.What the Lord will do against His people will be more harsh than has ever been done, and it will not be that harsh again.
V. 10 says that not only will the coming siege see mothers eat their own children, but the fathers will eat them also.
V. 11 develops the reason why the Lord is moving against His people.
V. 14 tells us that the people will become a reproach to the heathens.
I thought you were Christians? If your God is so strong, why are you in this shape?
The reason they will be a reproach is because of their sins.
Chapter 6 promises a sword against every thing the people set up contrary to the Word of the Lord.
Vv. 8ff. the Lord promises that He has a ramnant reserved that He will protect when He sends the sword after His people.
V. 11, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.
God promises to judge the evil among His people.
7:24 Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pomp of the strong to cease; and their holy places shall be defiled.
Because of time, we will not go back into Jeremiah to describe these heathens, but Jeremiah's discription of them shows that they were utterly merciless.It was the Babylonian army that the Lord sent against them, and they did everything one can imagine that can be done against people.
Chaper 7 develops further the message of the Lord to His people:
V. 3-9, The end of their land is at hand: the anger of the Lord against their sins is moving against them.
V. 10, their pride brough it all about.There will be some who will try to avoid the onrush of the army, but the Lord will send the sword after them also: There will be no place to hide from the Lord.
V. 19, They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity.
The people saw the evil coming upon them, but instead of repenting and making things right with the Lord as they had been told to do by the Word of God, they stored up silver and gold against the day of the colaps they saw coming.
They sought answers for the apporacing evil from every source but the Lord.
The Lord tells them that no matter how much they set aside for the day of the colaps, they would not avoid what was going to take place.
When God moves against man, His people in this case, all the gold and silver, preparation in the world will not help.
7:25, this chapter concludes by telling the people that all the arangements they had made would be useless and destroyed.
Chapter 8:3, the prophet is thaken to the root of the problem, the temple at Jerusalem. At the temple, the Lord shows the prophet the truth behind the matter:
THOSE WHO PROFESSED TO BE RELIGIOUS AND TO LOVE THE LORD WERE SERVING THE MANY THINGS AROUND THEM THAT WERE PLEASING TO THIER SIGHT.
8:12, the attitude of the religious leaders was the Lord had forgotten all about them, and it did not really matter to Him what they did.
V. 16, the problem was located at the very heart of religion: those who made the boldest profession were idolatros at heart.
They talk about how much they love the Lord, and those who see and hear them might say, "MY, WHAT GOOD CHRISTIANS THEY ARE: THEY CERTAINLY LOVE THE LORD."
Chapter 9 is what we need to see:
V. 1, the prophet is to call for the worst of the heathen, the most merciless of the pagan army, to go among God's people with their sword.As they destroy the people of God, they will have absolutely no mercy on man, woman nor child.
7:24, Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pomp of the strong to cease; and their holy places shall be defiled.
The people had been warned by every means possible, but they ignored the warning.
V. 2, six men show up, but only five have their destroying weapons in their hands. The five men who have been summond with thier destroying weapons in their hands are to go among the people and kill everyone.
THE SPECIFIC POINT IS MADE BY EZEKIEL THAT THEY WILL REGARD NEITHER SILVER NOR GOLD.
In other words, they live to kill, and nothing will buy them off.
However, one of the six men has an ink horn at his side.He went over and stood by the brasen altar, which represented God's judgment against sin.
V. 3, He waits by the altar for instructions from the Lord, and the Lord speaks to him
V. 4, the Lord told the man with the inkhorn to go among His people ahead of the five who had the destroying weapons in their hands.
This one man was to mark all who were concerned about the evil around them.
V. 5, 6 the other five were then sent behind the man with the ink horn, and they were to slay everyone who had not the mark upon them.
V. 7, the destruction starts in the house of the Lord.
V. 8, the prophet sees the terrible, merciless destruction, so he falls upon his face before the Lord, pleading for the Lord's mercy to intervien.
Vv. 9-11, the Lord refuses to hear the prayer, and the reason is given:
The Lord repeats what He had said in 8:12, For they say, the Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not.
God's people said, I CAN GO MY OWN WAY, DO MY OWN THING, SERVE GOD WHEN IT IS CONVIENT, AND THE LORD DOESN'T CARE.
What do we have?
1) the Lord is moving against sin among His people, 5:9.
2) the people saw what was coming, so they made prepairation, 7:19, gold and silver.
3) God sends His protecting angel before He sends His destroying angel, 9:4.
4) Ezekiel crys out for the Lord to be merciful toward those who are unmarked, 9:8.
5) the Lord responds by saying that the unmarked were confident that they could go on about their lives as ususal with no concern about their service for the Lord, 8:12; 9:9.
6) both the unconcerne and the destruction started with the religious leaders, 8:16; 9:6.
We have not to look very hard to see what is taking place around us in society.
1) every direction we turn we see evil not only being praticed, but readily accepted and celibrated with special holidays.There is no shame any more over sin.God's hand is against all who partake in the evil.
2)there are also multitudes of people with a genuine desire to know God, to know His Word and to know His way of life.There are more people receptive to God's Word than can possibly be fulfilled.
Multitudes of people are searching for and willing to listen to answers from God's Word.
Lu 10:2Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
Every pastor I talk with is amazed over the same thing I am amazed over, and that is the seeming unconcern of God's people over the work and Word of the Lord. The vast majority of those who profess to be God's people exibit total unconcern for the things of the Lord: They believe Christanity consists of going to Church, prayer before meals, Bible reading, and if they are realy spiritual, tithing.
But it is almost totally impossible to get them to do anything outside their regular rutine of life.
There are a great many people today who are firmly convienced that it is simply a matter of time, and a short time at that, before the weight of the evil both within and without the church will causes all of society to collaps.These people are storing up silver and gold, food and material supplies against the day they see coming.They are moving "back to the land" to become self-sufficient. There are many companies springing up to supply the material needed to be self-sufficient.
According to the Word of God, the Lord WILL DESTROY everything that is indifferent to Him and every person who refuses to place Him in His proper place.THEREFORE, THEIR CONCERN OF AN IMPENDING COLAPS IS NOT WITHOUT WARENT.
HOWEVER, we are told by the Lord through Ezekiel that the only metheod of protection as the five destroyers from God go out to carry out His justice is to be genuinly concerned about what is going on around us.
9:4 And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
The Lord here means far more than just being concerned; it represents enough concern to take action.
WHAT DO WE MEAN??
American Christian's sigh and cry because they do not have a good enough job, or because they are displeased about the job they have, or because their employer is oppressive.
They sigh and cry because their cars are not what they want or what they feel they desirve.
They sigh and cry because their houses are not big enough or not in the right location
They sign and cry because they do not have enough entertainment
They sigh and cry because they do not have enough time off from work, they do not have enought leasure time to persue the things they like to do.
They sigh and cry because they do not have enough education
THEY DO NOT sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
THEY DO NOT SIGN AND CRY because there are people willing to listen and learn about the Lord and take the Word of God into society, yet there is no one to go and take the Word of God to them and teach them how to please God in everythign they do.
They do not sign and cry because the Lord's house is in disrepare
They do not sign and cry because there is not enough money to carry on the Lord's Work and do what there is an oportonity to do.
They do not sign and cry because there are abundant oportonities for Christians to get involved in social issues and programs, yet there is no one to do it.
THey do not sigh and cry because Christaians in general are spending their lives seeking personal peace and prosperity, with very little or no regard for the Lord and His work.
People can work day and night to make prepariation for the future with food and gold sotrage and nice, safe, secure homes, but if they place the Lord on the shelf, the future only holds trouble.
If they are not concerned enought about all the abominations taking place around them to do something and invest their money and time, then no matter where they are, one of the five men with his destroying weapon will find them.
EVERYONE IN HERE TODAY, if they are honest at all, has to see what is ahead if society continues on its present course.
The only thing that will protect the Lord's people in the day of the Lord's justice is their concern for and involvement in His work when they had the chance.
I realize that social conditions almost require working day and night, but I think most of that work is for escape from responsibilities to the Lord God, or to have a living standard above where we should be content.
God's Word is firm, dogmatic and unavoidable: God's justice will prevail over man's sins, particulary the sin of indiference among His people.
God's Word is just as dogmatic that He has a ramnent that has His superantural care, and that remnant is easily identified, 9:4, THEY ARE BUSY DOING WHAT THEY CAN AS THE OPERTONITY IS PRESENTED FOR THE LORD'S CAUSE.
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