7th August 2023
Read - Ezekiel 11:1-3
Message - Alan Burke
First Posted 4th July 2022
Now to give you an idea of how the people like Ezekiel ended up in Babylon in exile it was because the Babylonians came in and took the best of the best to Babylon. The political and ruling classes had been deported. Not only that, along with them the leaders of the army, craftsman, anybody who was of any use to the Babylonian empire and had any wit was taken (2 Kings 24:13-16) and those who were left were the poorest of the people. What had happened in Jerusalem was that in this power vacuum, some rose and led the people, it took time, but a new leadership emerged from among the people.
As Ezekiel sees the vision of the Lord and there at the entrance of the eastern gate there were twenty five men. These are not to be confused with the twenty five sun worshippers back in chapter 8(16). The thing is that those who were left behind, who weren’t taken into exile believed that they were the fortunate ones, and those who had been taken into exile were under the judgment of God and not them but they were wrong. Those who are initially mentioned here in verse 1 are nobody’s in the grand scheme of things, they had risen to power under the rule of Zedekiah but they are never mentioned anywhere else, and we are told that they were plotting evil and giving wicked advice. They thought they were fine, Zedekiah had upgraded Jerusalems fortifications, they thought God had left them in peace so they could live as they wanted (8:12), and in their ignorance, or rather in their sinfulness, they were arrogantly asserting the security of their position.
Look what they say in v3, ‘Will it not soon be time to build houses? This city is a cooking pot, and we are the meat.” Now these aren’t common saying today, so what do they mean? Well lets break it down, first of all, “‘Will it not soon be time to build houses?”. Well here economically and politically as well in their relationships with surrounding nations these twenty five men thought it will be soon time to build houses, things are going well, economic recovery is coming. So they are positive, things looked good, they were on the up, but they couldn’t see that the reality was far from the case.
Next they say “This city is a cooking pot, and we are the meat”. Think big clay cooking pot, what you put in the cooking pot is the best bits, the bit that you don’t want are the bits of entrails, hoofs, the stuff that’s thrown into the fire. What they are speaking of is their perceived safety, it's better being within the walls of the cooking pot, that is city of Jerusalem than it is outside it. The contrast is being made between those who are inside the city and the exiles, those whom they believed God’s judgment was upon. They were an arrogant, they were self deceived people and Ezekiel is to prophecy against them. These people although God’s people were trusting in themselves and the fortifications of the city of Jerusalem, they were not trusting in God, they were wise in their own eyes but they were barking up the wrong tree.
The scriptures reminds us that we are to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil”. Prov 3:5-7. In His impending crucifixion in John’s gospel Jesus said “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (Jn 14:1), our place of trust in the midst of all of life is not to be the things of this world, in our strength, in our mind, in our wealth, it is rather to be placed in the creator of this world. He can be trusted in what ever we face. In fact it is in Him we must trust, when we start to trust our own abilities and strength, we will end up in a dire situation that things may look good here but God is gone, His glory has left and His judgment is coming.
Q11 What are God’ s works of providence?
God’ s works of providence are, his most holy, (Ps. 145:17) wise, (Ps. 104:24, Isa. 28:29) and powerful preserving, (Heb. 1:3) and governing all his creatures, and all their actions. (Ps. 103:19, Matt. 10:29–31)