(23 verses, 3:40 to read)
What I am about to READ
The word of the Lord condemns unbelief and faithlessness among the exiles.
MARK and LEARN
1-11: Elders of Israel had come to consult the Lord God through Ezekiel on some matter. But God refuses to be consulted by them, for they had turned away from God and his laws and had embraced the gods of other nations. This kind of syncretistic worship the Lord cannot tolerate. Yes, the elders had come to God and God’s prophet for counsel, but their hearts were not full of faith in the Lord God, but were of divided allegiance to him and other idols which seemed to serve their needs.
The iniquity for this false and delusional faith the prophets will bear themselves. And what is more, those who consult these false prophets will also bear their iniquity themselves (vs. 10). To not trust in the Lord and his revealed word is to turn away from God himself and to embrace the punishment which you yourself have merited.
What is the reason for such harsh punishment from the Lord God? God delivers the people over to their delusions that they may see the errors of thier ways, thier false belief and turn once again to the Lord “…that they may be my people and I may be their God, declares the Lord God (vs. 11).
12-23: These verses return to the major theme of the book of Ezekiel- the coming judgement upon and destruction of Jerusalem. The inevitability of that judgement is pronounced in verse 14 “even if…Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it [Jerusalem], they would not deliver but their own lives by their righteousness” (vs. 14).
This teaches us two things, first, that deliverance, eternal life and the forgiveness of sins comes to us by an imputed righteousness not of our own, for Noah, Daniel and Job were all sinners who trusted much in the Lord. Secondly, their belief and the righteousness which comes by it cannot be imputed to another, in this case the city of Jerusalem (also their own sons and daughters vs. 16).
For us Christians we understand that the example of the saints, those who have gone before us in the faith is good to emulate. (Like Job, Daniel, and Noah) But as this passage from Ezekiel shows, it is impossible for one person to believe for the sake of another so that they would be saved. The Roman Catholic doctrine of a supererogation of merits which righteous persons and saints have performed that can be granted to others denies the righteousness of faith and the sufficiency of Christ’s merit.
Consider how many “gods” we worship and also attempt to worship the true God. Is our allegiance divided? Do we put other wants, needs, comforts, and pleasures ahead of hearing preaching and receiving Christ’s gifts?
Pr. Brandon Ross
Faith Ev. Lutheran Church