posted on Jun, 15 2018 @ 05:02 PM
Ezekiel is the prophet of the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians..
Once Jerusalem has fallen, his work is nearly complete.
But the relationship between God and his people has not lapsed, and his final task is to explain the new conditions of that relationship.
He has talked about new leadership, and the next topic is the question of what happens to the land.
“The inhabitants of the waste places of the land” stake their claim (ch33 vv23-29).
These will be the remnants of the kingdom of Judah, outside Jerusalem, probably combined with those descendants of the original inhabitants who have
never identified with the community of Israel.
They expect to be able to maintain their occupation of the land and re-build their society. If Abraham could fill the land with his seed, being only
one man, then these people, starting from their existing numbers, should be able to do the same thing.
“The land is surely given us to possess”.
But this will not be allowed, because they are continuing to offend God.
They eat flesh with the blood, they lift up their eyes to idols, they shed blood, each one defiles his neighbour’s wife.
They are as bad as the kingdom that has been destroyed, and they will be destroyed in the same way.
They will fall by the sword and by wild beasts and by pestilence, and the land will be made a desolation and a waste.
The idea of a new property with vacant possession is attractive to the Edomites (ch35), but that isn’t going to be allowed either.
The Lord is against “Mount Seir” for a number of reasons.
They “cherished perpetual enmity and gave over the people of Israel to the sword at the time of their calamity”.
They reviled Israel and gloated over their calamities, and magnified their words against the God of Israel.
They also “rejoiced over the inheritance of the house of Israel because it was desolate”. They said ”These two nations and these two countries
shall be mine, and we will take possession of them”, ignoring his ownership of the land.
Therefore he will respond to their enmity with enmity. He will respond to their anger and envy with his own anger. He will make their own land a
desolation and a waste, just as they were rejoicing over what happened to Judah.
“Then they will know that I am the Lord”.
Next the Lord addresses the desolate land itself, in words of sympathy (ch36 vv1-15).
It has become the talk and evil gossip of the nations.
“The enemy has said of you Aha! and ’The ancient heights have become our possession’”.
So the Lord speaks in his “hot jealousy” against the other nations; just as they have reproached the land of Israel, so they will suffer
As for the mountains of Israel themselves, “you shall shoot forth your branches” and yield fruit to the people of Israel, who will soon come
The land will be tilled and sown, the population will be multiplied. The cities will be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt.
Because the mountains have been reproached as “devouring men”, they will be filled with children.
“They shall possess you and you shall be their inheritance…
Then you will know that I am the Lord”.
Finally, there is another word from the Lord about changing the conduct of the future inhabitants (ch36 vv16-38).
When they occupied the land before, their conduct was unclean. That was why he judged them and scattered them amongst the nations. This had the
side-effect of profaning his holy name, because the nations said of them “These are the people of the Lord, and yet they had to go out of his
Therefore he will act to protect his holy name, which he will accomplish by bringing them back to the land.
At the same time, he cannot allow them to remain unclean, because that would be just as bad for his holy name.
Firstly, then, he will cleanse them; “I will sprinkle water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I
will cleanse you”.
Beyond that, he will take steps to keep them clean, which is the long-term solution to the problem.
“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of
And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances” (vv24-27).
This will establish a fresh relationship between God and his people.
“You shall be my people, and I will be your God”.
Nevertheless, it will be part of this new relationship that they will “remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good”- not to continue
them, but to mourn over them. As he has said before in this book, they will loathe themselves for their former iniquities and abominable deeds.
That will help them to understand their true place in front of God, and their dependence upon his mercy.
They will dwell in the land of their fathers, He will make the grain abundant, and the fruit of the trees, so that they will never again suffer the
disgrace of famine.
The cities will be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt.
People will say “The land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden”.
He will also increase their numbers. To be exact, he will allow the house of Israel to ask him to increase their numbers, and he will willingly give
them that blessing.
Thus the formerly waste cities will be filled with “flocks of men”.
“Then they will know that I am the Lord”.