Verse 1 – It came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord, and sat before me.
Verse 2 – Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
Verse 3 – “Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Have you come to inquire of Me? As I live,” says the Lord God, “I will not be inquired of by you.” ‘
They are in their seventh year of captivity and the elders came to Ezekiel to ask God about something. From the way God answers them, they are no doubt hypocrites and deceivers. If you remember in the previous chapters, the false prophets had said that their exile would be short, so maybe they wanted to know how long they would be in exile.
Verse 4 – “Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? Then make known to them the abominations of their fathers.
Verse 5 – “Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On the day when I chose Israel and lifted My hand in an oath to the descendants of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I lifted My hand in an oath to them, saying, ‘I am the Lord your God?
God had made a promise, oath, to Abraham, to bring them into a glorious land that was fruitful. sometimes we all need a strong reminder of what God has promised those who follow him. but you’ll never know what these promises are unless you read His Word.
Verse 6 – “On that day I lifted My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, flowing with milk and honey, the glory of all the lands.
Milk and honey – plenty of abundance of all blessings of life.
Verse 7 – “Then I said to them, ‘Each of you, throw away the abominations which are before your eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’
Verse 8 – “But they rebelled against Me and would not obey Me. They did not all cast away the abominations which were before their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said, ‘I will pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.’
Verse 9 – “But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles among whom they were, in whose sight I had made Myself known to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
God certainly made Himself known in the land of Egypt while they were slaves there. God’s name would have been degraded if He had not performed what He had promised, “For His name’s sake.”
Verse 10 – “Therefore I made them go out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness.
Verse 11 – “And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them.’
Verse 12 – “Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctified them.
The statutes were given on Mount Sinai and then repeated by Moses before his death.
Verse 13 – “Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, which, if a man does, he shall live by them; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them.
Do you know what the biggest rebellion was that the Israelites did in the wilderness? They did not Hallow the name of the Lord thy God by complaining all the time! With the complaints came the unbelief and doubt. These are only a few of their complaints: They complained they didn’t have any onions as they had in Egypt; no water; no meat; and then even Moses sister complained that God only spoke through Moses. This was after their deliverance and seeing all the miracles performed to protect them.
When we complain about our lives, we act as though God doesn’t know what He’s doing. Complaining only brings doubt and unbelief in the God we should be trusting in all things pertaining to life!
Verse 14 – “But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out.
Regardless of all their rebellion, God still showed His mercy to them, for His own name’s sake. Their shoes didn’t even wear out in all those years!
Verse 15 – “So I also lifted My hand in an oath to them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them flowing with milk and honey, the glory of all the lands,
And that generation that was brought out of Egypt and rebelled by not believing God, died in the wilderness and never entered the Promise land. If you doubt and complain enough, you’ll never see the abundant destiny that God has planned for you. How about just believing you can do “All things through Christ!”
Verse 16 – “because they despised My judgments and did not walk in My statutes, but profaned My Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols. (Unbelief in the One True God.)
Verse 17 – “Nevertheless My eye spared them for destruction. I did not make an end of them in the wilderness.
Verse 18 – “But I said to their children in the wilderness, ‘Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe the judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols.
Verse 19 – ‘I am the Lord your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them;
Verse 20 – ‘hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.’
If you are a born-again, blood bought Christian, then it shouldn’t be a problem to be obedient to God’s statutes. Obedience will bring God’s mercy and grace to walk through the troubles of life. I would much rather have God’s favor on and in my life than discipline because of my rebellion!
Verse 21 – Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, and were not careful to observe My judgments, which, if a man does, he shall live by them; but they profaned My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the wilderness.
The rebellion of the second generation refers to acts of apostasy following the incident of the spies, particularly the events at Meribah (Numbers 20) and Baal Peor (Numbers 25).
Verse 22 – “Nevertheless I withdrew My hand and acted for my name’s sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out.
Verse 23 – “Also I lifted My hand in an oath to those in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the Gentiles and disperse them throughout the countries,
Verse 24 – “because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes, profaned My Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers idols.
From the very beginning of Israel’s history, God clearly warned the people of the consequences of the curses that would follow their disobedience. If people chose to live apart from God, they may experience similar consequences. God may use these consequences to draw you closer to Him though.
Verse 25 – “Therefore I also gave them up to statutes that were not good, and judgments by which they could not live;
The Israelites had taken the dedication of the firstborn animals and children and twisted it to mean child sacrifice to the Canaanite god Molech. In Romans 1:28, God lets the people who would rather reject him and turn their hearts to vile and perverse things, turn them over to a reprobate (debased) mind. Their on their own. If you ever want to truly know what God thinks of certain perversions, go read the entire chapter of Romans one. He hasn’t changed His mind about such things and neither should Christians, who are called by His name!
Verse 26 – “and I pronounced them unclean because of their ritual gifts, in that they caused all their firstborn to pass through fire, that I might make them desolate and that they might know that I am the Lord.” ‘
On going disobedience leads to ever greater sin, until God finally turns people over to deception, meaning they will think God is fine with what they have chosen to do.
Verse 27 – “Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “In this too your fathers have blasphemed Me, by being unfaithful to Me.
Verse 28 – “For when I brought them into the land for which I had lifted My hand in an oath to give them, and they saw all the high hills and all the thick trees, there they offered their sacrifices and provoked Me with their offerings. There they also sent up their sweet aroma and poured out their drink offerings.
These practices were common in pagan worship.
Verse 29 – “Then I said to them, ‘What is this high place to which you go?’ So its name is called Bamah to this day.” ‘
Bamah – the Hebrew word for “high place.” Another instance of the perversion of God’s laws when the Israelites first entered the land of Canaan they were to set up the “tabernacle” on a “high place,” and on no other to worship Yahweh (1 Samuel 9:12 and 1 Kings 3:4). But the Israelites followed the custom of that country and set up idol worship on every high hill, and the word “high place” Bamah, became a by-word.
Verse 30 – “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Are you defiling yourself in the manner of your fathers, and committing harlotry according to their abominations?
The primary apostasy of Israel was idolatry, which was a violation of the first commandment.
Verse 31 – “For when you offer your gifts and make your sons pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols, even to this day. So shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live,” says the Lord God, “I will not be inquired of by you.
Put another way: “How dare you, O house of Israel, expect to ask of Me anything, after all the abominations you have committed!”
Verse 32 – “What you have in your mind shall never be, when you say, ‘We will be like the Gentiles, like the families in other countries serving wood and stone.’
This statement reminds them of when the Israelites wanted a king over them like the other nations, so God gave them Saul, (1 Samuel 8) Israel’s first king.
Verse 33 – “As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you.
Verse 34 – “I will bring you out from peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out.
Verse 35 – “And I will bring you into a wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face.
Verse 36 – “Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,” says the Lord God.
Here God promises to purge the nation of its rebellious people again as they cross the vast desert from Babylon back to Jerusalem. Only those who faithfully follow God would be able to return to their land. The purpose of this desert judgment would be to purge all those who worship idols and to restore all those faithful to God.
Verse 37 – “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;
Verse 38 – “I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they sojourn, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
Those who continue in their sin and continue to rebel against God’s ways, are not entitled to God’s promises. Only those which belong to Him have a right to what He promises.
Verse 39 – “As for you, O house of Israel,” thus says the Lord God: “Go, serve every one of you his idols – and hereafter – if you will not obey Me; but profane My holy name no more with your gifts and your idols.
The Israelites were mixing their pagan worship of idols, while at the same time bringing gifts to God. They didn’t believe that God was the One True God. Beware of worshiping God while holding onto sin. Choose one or the other.
Verse 40 – “For on My holy mountain, on the mountain height of Israel,” says the Lord God, “there all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, shall serve Me; there I will accept them, and there I will require your offerings and the firstfruits of your sacrifices, together with all your holy things.
“My holy mountain,” refers to either Jerusalem or Zion.
Verse 41 – “I will accept you as a sweet aroma when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will be hallowed in you before the Gentiles.
Verse 42 – “Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I lifted My hand in an oath to give to your fathers.
Verse 43 – “And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed.
“Loathed yourselves,” is an expression of thorough repentance. They will be humbled into submission to God’s statutes.
Verse 44 – “Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel,” says the Lord God.’ ”
Verse 45 – Furthermore the word of the Lord came to me saying,
Verse 46 – “Son of man, set your face toward the south; reach against the South,
Verse 47 – “and say to the forest of the South, ‘Hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree and every dry tree in you, the blazing flame shall not be quenched and all faces from the south to the north shall be scorched by it.
“Toward the south: refers to Jerusalem and Judah, which compared to a forest, is about to be destroyed by fire.
Verse 48 – “All flesh shall see that I , the Lord, have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.” ‘ ”
Verse 49 – Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! They say of me, ‘Does he not speak parables?’ ”
Many Israelites complained that Ezekiel only spoke in riddles so they refused to listen. Ezekiel was discouraged, but God promises to reward those who are faithful (Mark 13:13).