We are in the Prophetic Stream reading from the Easy-to-Read Version.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Dear God of Heaven: The horrors of sin are just that: horrors. Send your Savior quickly. We wish that this 2600 year old story and their need for a remedy was old news. But the sin is just as bad today and the need for Jesus to come quickly is just as pronounced. May we be agents for you in a world run by hearts of darkness. Amen.
We are nearing the end of the prophecies by Ezekiel telling that Jerusalem is going to fall [ch. 1-24] because of her many sins, and blatant rebellion against the Word of the Lord. Things get a little bit rough in the reading today. Pardon the people of Jerusalem, or pardon us for telling it like it is today. But the things that are described are the very reason the city must be cleansed and God needs to start over with a humbled and penitent, confessional people. Here goes.
21 – The country of Babylon is “the sword” that God is using to vacate his land of the rebellious people who have resided there for hundreds of years. Their attitude has become completely cavalier and deviant. Yes, there are good people there, I guess, but they are going to be traumatized and hauled to Babylon – that’s the best case scenario. When God says the bad and the good are going to be dealt with, He’s not getting sloppy in His judgment. He is taking out everyone from this city. The “good” may be decent people, but they are not denouncing the wickedness of the city that has spread like a sewer mainline break and flooded waist deep into every home. We hear a lot of this today when people try to defend a bad, unbiblical idea. They usually croon, “oh, not all of them are evil – just the violent ones.” [buzzer! “Wrong Answer”] The quiet ones are complicit with the violent ones because they vote agreement with their silence about the wrong that goes on among their group whether its their immediate family or all the way up to the leaders/kings/warlords of a bad movement. The sword is going to flash in Jerusalem and it will stop after all have been affected, cut down, maimed, or sent to exile. It’s a sad day coming. What began with Rehoboam 350 years prior has come to full bloom and needs to be completely purged now. The residents of Jerusalem have no chance of remaining in the city unscathed. The people coming to punish Jerusalem are a pagan people, but don’t think the Lord God of Heaven is not behind their siege of Jerusalem. He has ordained it. Don’t let the Babylonians’ cultic behavior distract from this fact. The neighboring Ammonites are going to get cut down like slaughtered animals too. Where the Judeans have been volitionally evil, the Ammonites have been totally evil. Their time to die is imminent. And as for the Babylonians afflicting all this grief, they are going to return home and it won’t be long until a fierce army rises up against them. Their culture is destined to become a sand dune and forgotten just as fast as they are smashed into oblivion. For what it’s worth, Cyrus of Persia, with his intrepid army, poured in and conquered Babylon less than 50 years after Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon.
22 < — Here is why Jerusalem is going to fall. Ezekiel is certain of it, though there were folks among his peers and many living in Jerusalem who just could not accept that Jerusalem was going to be burning rubble. But they have passed ‘the tipping point’. If anyone in Jerusalem or elsewhere needs reminders: is it a place reduced to a den of murderers, they love idolatry and filth. “Jerusalem” once represented the city of God – now people think of it as a pit of sludge and immorality. It is an orgy of madness, and crazed sexuality, and the thievery is rampant. The hand of judgment is going to befall you and you will know it is God striking. The city, once so cherished, is more or less “industrial waste” anymore – in God’s estimation. The leaders of the city are altogether derelict. They have done the worst of the worst and are completely dark in nature and character. Their irresponsibility toward what God has called them to is bad and beyond. Their teaching is wrong. They use God’s Call to get money for themselves. They lie, cheat, and abuse. Their “fix-it-cheap” theology is why the city has gone bad. This demise is their fault!
23 – The two young girls mentioned here are symbolic of Samaria and Jerusalem. The calling they originally had was noble, but they gave it all away and became prostitutes. The Call of God to them was not nearly as enticing as the strapping men who charged through and were charged up and desired them. Their lewdness knew no bounds. They continued in prostitution with anyone near and far as long as they were driven by lust like these two ladies. Just another alternate lifestyle? Hardly. It was not fine with God. He did not “respect their views” or “protect their privacy” or “honor their wishes” as we hear in the popular culture today that the government ‘blesses’ in an insidious manner. No. God is going to turn the soldiers of these foreign countries loose on them just like they turned themselves loose on the pagan soldiers years ago. But the whoremongers they have seduced all their lives are going to finish them off by torture and murder. The symbolism of this chapter is not what you’d called, “rosy stories for Sunday School and Jr. Church” It’s the fate of Jerusalem however in the 580’s B.C. Promiscuity, fornication, adultery, had all become favorite past times in the city and it is almost as if they were strangely daring God and begging Him to step in and halt them. What’s that verse about deceitful hearts that are desperately wicked….? That’s being lived out in overdrive. God would end it soon.