Chapter 22-Sometimes I get done reading and think to myself what do I write about because you know all of this. You know judgment is coming, you know how it will come and you know why it will come. However, these chapters are directed towards the leaders (you and me). Then I go back and a section is often “highlighted” to me from the Lord. Today it began with verse 17:
17 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, the people of Israel have become dross to me; all of them are the copper, tin, iron and lead left inside a furnace. They are but the dross of silver.
Whoever said sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me is a liar. When silver is refined by fire, the scum that forms at the top that is useless and worthless is the dross.
We all have spiritual dross in our lives—unhealthy and unwelcome practices and ideas that need to be removed. What comes out of my mouth, my thoughts, things I think and do…t’s crippling at times to think about. So when a trial comes I need to take a step back and not see it necessarily as a bad thing, but how I might shine when it is over.
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.- 1 Peter 6
Chapter 23 is one of the most graphic chapters in the Bible. I do not recommend it on audio if the kids are in the car when you listen.
This chapter is the final one in Ezekiel’s messages that condemns Israel’s leaders (chs. 20—23). If you have time, go back and read to chapters 16 and then 23. Both chapters 16 and 23 personify Israel as a prostitute, but there are significant differences in these chapters.
- In chapter 16, Canaan is the mother of Israel who corrupted her daughter by teaching her spiritual adultery, namely, idolatry or trust in other gods.
- In chapter 23, Israel herself is responsible for pursuing adultery, by her trust in other nations, through alliances with foreign powers.
- In chapter 16, the attention is on Jerusalem, but in 23 it focuses on both Israel and Judah.
Historically and literally we know this to be true: The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser, an important archaeological find dating to about 840 B.C., shows King Jehu of Israel bowing in submission before King Shalmaneser III of Assyria and giving him tribute money.
You have been reading long enough to know that this is not just physical prostitution but spiritual prostitution.
Four messages announce God’s judgment on Jerusalem for her unfaithfulness
- v 22-27-The Lord would express His jealousy over Jerusalem and deal with her in His wrath. Her enemies would cut off her nose and her ears (figuratively). This was an ancient Near Eastern punishment for adulteresses, which was understandable since these women typically adorned themselves with nose-rings and earrings.
- v 28-31-The Lord also announced that He would turn Jerusalem over to those whom she had come to hate- the Babylonians. They would hate her, rob her of her property, and leave her naked and ashamed (in 586 B.C.) What was 586 BC?
- v 32-34- Go back and read the details of the cup of wrath…WOW!
- 35-Jerusalem would bear the Lord’s punishment for her lewd and immoral behavior because she had abandoned Him. This short message identifies the root problem in Israel’s apostasy: she had forsaken her God.