We are in the Prophetic Stream reading from the Common English Bible.
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#GivingTuesday – November 28, 2017
Lord God, we join you and bless your children. In worship, we indeed are glad to be counted among your children. I pray we are productive and faithful to what you have called us to be and to do. Amen.
The Prophetic stream today has us at the end of the prophecy assuring that Jerusalem will fall [to the Babylonians] because of her sinfulness. And it includes the start of Ezekiel’s first chapters that assures the surrounding nations, that have been in contention with Judah, that they are going to fall too [so take pause before any of you celebrate the coming Hebrew tragedy]. The theme of those particular chapters continues through chapter 32, so we will be reading these in the Prophetic Stream during the next two weeks as well.
24 – Jerusalem is like a worthless pot that is filled with all the fixings of a fine stew. However that pot [Jerusalem] is corroded and so dirty that it pollutes the stew and alas the fire gets so hot that the metal pot glows red and melts. Consequently none get fed as all might have hoped to be. God’s anger will not be quenched until Jerusalem is emptied of all its rebellious residents. The remainder of the chapter, v. 15-27 is mysterious, yet knowing the timeline does help understanding. Within a day of this scripture, Ezekiel’s wife died. He is forbidden to mourn. Remember, Ezekiel is already a captive in Babylon along with many other Judeans. That same day, the Babylonians broke into Jerusalem commencing their siege and slaughter. However, back where Ezekiel is, no one knows Jerusalem has been overrun. They do know that Ezekiel is a widower and is in solitude… what’s going on? What else is wrong? And Ezekiel was silent for three years – the length of time it took for news of Jerusalem’s overthrow to reach them. The Jerusalem they knew, they would never see again. Oh the grief! Due to this timing, Ezekiel took the attack of Jerusalem very personally. In more ways than one, “the jewel” was gone.
25 – As Judah would go down and Jerusalem would fall into enemy hands, her neighbors rejoiced like cackling hyenas. Irritating, yes, God was not pleased with their reaction either. But Philistia was overrun this same year that Jerusalem fell; 586 B.C. And did Ammon, Moab, or Edom have a hunch if they might be next? You can discuss that over the coming holidays if the topic gets to that level. ‘Fact is Babylon regrouped and in 582 B.C. they leveled all three; Ammon, Moab and Edom. Do you remember Jeremiah 27 saying the same thing was going to happen just like it did? We read that on June 21; four and a half months ago. Jeremiah was in Judah these same years while his friend Ezekiel was hundreds of miles away in the Babylonian “outback”.
26 – Next, Ezekiel has three visions against Tyre; the coastal city that was 12 miles north of where the Israel-Lebanon border is today. Ezekiel’s vision happened the same year that Jerusalem fell. Tyre was a geological phenomenon. It’s port was a hub that had tremendous wealth and power. The financial tentacles of Tyre stretched across the Mediterranean Sea, along No. Africa, through Gibraltar, down the west coast of Africa, and clear up to what became Britain. It had shined in the Mediterranean sunsets for 600 years. But Ezekiel prophesied that Tyre was to be attacked, stripped, and made desolate – never to rise again. Within a year Tyre heard and saw the Babylonian army appear on the horizon! Tyre was under siege from 585 to 572 B.C. For 13 years Babylonians encamped around and choked off Tyre until they were subdued and conquered. A gorgeous city was turned to rubble and disappeared from the scene. And as Ezekiel said, they never rose again. The Persians followed the Babylonians. The Greeks followed them, each smacking Tyre back to the ground. Ezekiel even provided the 585 B.C. funeral dirge for Tyre. Today, Tyre (where it once was) is a bare rock where fisherman stretch out their nets to repair and dry them. This is exactly what Ezekiel said in Ez. 26:4. All this happened because the people of Tyre delighted in the calamity that befell Jerusalem. God said it would be like this for those who cursed Abraham’s people (Genesis 12:3). Let’s continue to take this 4,000 year old statement seriously, even today.