We are in the Prophetic Stream reading from the Good News Translation.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Good Lord have mercy –>some might pray at this point. But our job is to learn permanently that your rules are rules that we need to live by…permanently. Amen.
12 – so goes the life of a prophet living among spiritual dullards to say the least. It’s great being a big name in history but the road to prominence here is not a pleasant one – not for Ezekiel. He is called to model what is coming for King Zedekiah as he flees Jerusalem at night. Zedekiah, the waffling, flip-flopping king who tried to play both sides, [make that all sides!] to avoid discomfort during the looming invasion back in Jerusalem. Remember Ezekiel is exiled among the Chaldeans and prophesying in this setting as the Chaldeans are on a mad charge for Jerusalem to burn the place and execute anyone who fights them in the process. So Ezekiel has to go camping and, uh, it’s not at an R.V. park! What is being foretold is that the Judeans are going to go “camping” and it’s the type of camping trip where they ironically would love to be concerned with mosquitos and ants and pine needles in their sleeping bags. But they are going to be concerned with war, famine, and disease. After this then maybe they will begin to hear God and realize that they are a stubborn indolent people v.s. what God called them to be; His testimony. From ‘here on’ the cheery prophecies that were all lies and the false encouragement is over with. God is going to talk to them straight and plain: YOU ARE REBELLIOUS … and it’s time for your spanking, and it’s going to hurt!
13 – The false prophets in Jerusalem and those who had been exiled and were living among the exiles were disgusting to the Lord. The false prophets, male and female, were hucksters that had nothing to do with the Lord nor His Truth. The men were declaring that all was safe and fine. They were painting the crumbling walls white to give the impression that they were steady and strong when they were in shambles. The ladies were selling “magic cloth” veils [oh boy!] and charms that were supposed to give good luck/protection/power. The occultic material is under-described because the Bible doesn’t want to encourage it nor even foster a curiosity. Simply put, God has Ezekiel scold these false prophets. Their due time is coming.
14 – Israel has an idolatry problem. But in a phony gesture of pious inquiry, the leaders, who approve of all the idols, seek Ezekiel to find what the Lord’s Will is. No one but the duplicitous leaders fooling themselves get fooled here. God’s sentiments are pretty clear here in responding to those who deliberately break His Will while claiming to want to know God’s will. Get real, jokers. The Babylonians would have sent the worst death blow so far save for the fact that Daniel, an exceptional Hebrew, was an exile who became a man of tremendous favor and service in the Babylonian Leadership. His prominence took him to basically 2nd from the top in the Empire. And mayyy-be God was staving off the inevitable because of Daniel, a Hebrew from Judah…?. He, Noah, and Job are mentioned as righteous examples of types that could thwart a disaster for Jerusalem. But even that wasn’t going to delay the judgment that was set to befall Judah for its idolatry. Not any longer.
15 – The people of Jerusalem are compared to a vine that is growing where it is of no use. It cannot be used for anything. Can you say, “worthless”? This is how God sees the people of Jerusalem; worthless dead vines that need to be burned. Jerusalem needed to be burned clean of its idolatrous people. God was getting set to do that via the Babylonian army.