Verse 1 – Now some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me.
Verse 2 – And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
Verse 3 – “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which cause them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?
On the outside, these men gave the appearance of serving God by going to the prophet for advice, but God knew they had idols set up in their homes and on the inside of the temple. God also saw the intent of their hearts, which was idol worship.
Verse 4 – “Therefore speak to them, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and them comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols,
Verse 5 – “that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols.” ‘
The heart is considered the core of a person’s intellectual and spiritual function. Because all people have someone or something as the object of their heart’s devotion, they have the potential for idolatry within them. We must never let anything captivate our allegiance or imagination in such a way to replace or weaken our devotion to God.
Verse 6 – “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.
Verse 7 – “For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I the Lord will answer him by Myself.
While their false prophets were assuring them of peace and prosperity, God’s true prophets were predicting calamities that fell upon them.
Verse 8 – “I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.
Verse 9 – “And if the prophet is induced to speak anything, I the Lord have induced that prophet, and I will stretch out My hand against him and destroy him from among My people Israel.
If the people continue to refuse to listen to prophets whom God sent to tell them the truth, the Lord would judge them by sending lying prophets to tell them what they wanted to hear. The Lord eventually abandons those who have turned to their own corrupt passions – Read Romans 1:18-32.
Verse 10 – “And they shall bear their iniquity; the punishment of the prophet shall be the same as the punishment of the one who inquired,
Verse 11 – ‘that the house of Israel may no longer stray from Me, nor be profaned anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be My people and I may be their God,” says the Lord God.’ ”
The people of Judah had considered that the few who were God-fearing men, would be their insurance that nothing bad would happen to them. However, God told them they were responsible for their own transgressions. God wants a relationship with the individual . We are not saved because our family, pastor, or those around us are.
Verse 12 – The word of the Lord came again to me, saying:
Verse 13 – “Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it.
Stop for a minute and look at the nations that have not followed the One True God. Do they not live in constant wars, famine and poverty? They are always fighting, always destroying, and always killing their own people, because they refuse to worship the True God.
Verse 14 – “Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord God.
All of these men – Noah, Daniel, and Job were recognized for their righteous behavior in the midst of corrupt generations and prevailed in very difficult situations because of their righteousness. Ezekiel’s reference to these men affirmed that moral responsibility was not transferable; it is individual.
Verse 15 – “If I cause wild beasts to pass through the land, and they empty it, and make it so desolate that no man may pass through because of the beasts,
Verse 16 – “even though these three men were in it, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they would deliver neither sons nor daughters; only they would be delivered, and the land would be desolate.
Verse 17 – “Or if I bring a sword on that land, and say, ‘Sword, go through the land; and I cut off man and beast from it,
Verse 18 – “even though these three men were in it, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but only they themselves would be delivered.
Do you ever wonder why when there is a horrific disaster with multiple people, why some survive?
Verse 19 – “Or if I send pestilence into the land and pour out My fury on it in blood, and cut off from it man and beast,
Verse 20 – “even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live,” says the Lord God, “they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.
Verse 21 – For thus says the Lord God: “How much more it shall be when I send My four severe judgments on Jerusalem – the sword and famine and wild beasts and pestilence – to cut off man and beast from it?
Verse 22 – “Yet behold, there shall be left in it a remnant who will be brought out, both sons and daughters; surely they will come out to you, and you will see their ways and their doings. Then you will be comforted concerning the disaster that I have brought upon Jerusalem, indeed all that I have brought upon it.
This speech was directed to those who were already in captivity. These exiles would regard God’s judgment as well deserved.
Verse 23 – “And they will be comfort to you when you see their ways and their doings; and you shall know that I have done nothing without cause that I have done it,” says the Lord God.