Words of the Prophets – Ezekiel (2)

God Has No Pleasure…

The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,  What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?  As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.  Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.  But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,  And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman,  And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, Hath walked in My statutes, and hath kept My judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.

If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things,  And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour’s wife,  Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination,  Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.  Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father’s sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like, That hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbour’s wife,  Neither hath oppressed any, hath not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment,  That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in My statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.  Yet say ye, Why? Doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.  The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all My statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.  All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.  Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.  Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?  When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.  Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not My ways equal? Are not your ways unequal?

Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.  Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” Ezekiel 18:1-32 (KJV)

Archery

“And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not Me, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:3
“Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.” Jeremiah 9:8 (KJV)

Archery is a popular sport in our time and day. It is not the most popular, but there are archery ranges throughout the U. S. of A. and children are even learning to properly use the bow and arrow.

Throughout the Bible the Scriptures show us that it was also a much used weapon. Using the bow and arrow can still be deadly. The archer should never see this instrument as a toy, but a weapon: a weapon which can maim or kill.

We live in a day of deadly use of the tongue. Many think that an evil tongue is not deadly; neither does it maim, but is that true?

In reading chapter 9 of the prophet Jeremiah we read of Jeremiah’s heart for his people, weeping even for them. The LORD says they are an adulterous people; I suppose spiritually and otherwise. He also says, “They bend their tongues like their bow for lies…” they also do not stand for truth, and they grow in their evil, and it is because they do not know the LORD.

There are some people who see truth as only a personal philosophy. That one individual’s truth, is not another individual’s truth. Truth is much more than the philosophies of men and women; truth stands. Truth is truth no matter what home you are in. No matter what culture you are in. Truth is truth even if you or I stand alone with it.

The people of Judah had a problem with their tongues. Speaking lies, hating the truth. Speaking deceit; with it flying forth from their lips and tongue like an arrow released from its bow. Like a released arrow cannot be called back; neither can a word spoken.

There is much said in Scripture of the tongue and its power:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21

In the New Testament book of James read James 3:5-8.

Speaking peace to a neighbor while at the same time plotting and scheming to harm them is the arrow flying to kill.

O Christian be careful with your tongue. Writing is the use of your thoughts and tongue too. So keep that in mind, and let us do as the apostle Paul has said,

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ…” Ephesians 4:15

The Son of God Glorified

“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto Him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick.  When Jesus heard that, He said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.’  Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.  When He had heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days still in the same place where He was. Then after that saith He to His disciples, ‘Let us go into Judaea again.’  His disciples say unto Him, ‘Master, the Jews of late sought to stone Thee; and goest thou thither again?’  Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.  But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.’  These things said He: and after that He saith unto them, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.’  Then said His disciples, ‘Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.’  Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that He had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.  Then said Jesus unto them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.’  Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with Him.'”  John 11:1-16

The Death Of Sarah

Abraham and Sarah had came to the land of Canaan about sixty two years previous.  For twenty five of those years they  had waited for the promised son, Isaac.  They had been through much together.

Almost from the first day they arrived in the land a severe drought had struck the land, famine had set in, and they went to Egypt leaving the place of promise which had been given them by God [YHWH].  In Egypt they would have probably “picked up” Hagar, and Egyptian slave girl.  The sovereign hand of God is seen in every element of the decisions which they made together.  The LORD of all has a way of teaching us dependency upon Him.

For sixty plus years they had walked together, suffered doubts and fears together, believed together, grew together, and now with Sarah being one hundred and twenty seven years of age, her aged body dies.

We must remember; death is not a friend; it is the fruit of sin, or its wages as Paul says in Romans 6:23.  Death is the enemy of mankind.  God [YHWH] created us for eternity.  He created us with an eternal soul that yearns for Him.  It is a longing that far too many fight and struggle against by denying the existence of God.  Denying the existence of God is almost like denying yourself.  You exist, and since you exist means that you had a designer, builder, Creator, and His name is Jehovah [YHWH].

“And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.  And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.”  Genesis 23:1-2 (KJV)

One of the things which Genesis is clear about is our life and death.  It begins with creation and a garden, and ends with a “coffin in Egypt.”  From creation to the grave.  It is a sad commentary on the beginning and end plight of mankind.  It reminds us that we have an eternal destiny, and that GOD is the one who is in charge, sovereignly guiding, the affairs of all people, and nations.  We see that more clearly through all of Scripture.

Death is not a real pleasant thing to talk about.  With some people you don’t even want to use the word “D-E-A-T-H”.  Let’s be true and faithful about death.  As I have already mentioned it is the enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26), and it is the “last enemy” to be destroyed; and that destruction will be by the appearing of Jesus Christ in His glory.

It doesn’t appear that Abraham or Sarah had a fear of death.  The reason for that being their faith in GOD.  It has been through the life, faith, and testimony of Abraham and Sarah that Jesus Christ has come into the world to save condemned, dying sinners from our plight.  We are born spiritually dead – that means no relationship with God and thus no fellowship with God, because of sin.  Because of the work of Jesus Christ, ie., His death on the cross, burial, and resurrection we can be “born again” into relationship, enabling our fellowship with Him; and receiving eternal life,  living for Him now, and eternally with Him.

The follower of Jesus Christ need have no fear of death because of the cross of Jesus Christ, and His resurrection.  The resurrection of Jesus proves without doubt that the enemy of death has been defeated.  All who are in the faith of Jesus Christ will be raised to life.

Even Sarah, Abraham, all the patriarchs; and those who were before them; and all who came after them unto the cross of Christ will be raised to life again.  All those who have believed following the death of Christ on the cross will also be raised to life.  WOW!!! What a glorious day that will be.

It is a wonderful and glorious thing to know that though Genesis ends with that “coffin in Egypt”, the Scriptures end back in a garden, and in the presence of the LORD in glory – Heaven.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost…” Titus 3:5 (KJV)

The faith of Abraham and Sarah was looking to the One who would come, die for the sins of mankind, be buried, and rise again from the grave.  Believe Jesus and be delivered from death, and its fear.

-Tim A. Blankenship