Ezekiel Reinforces the Law

In Calcutta, India, a vulture hovering over the city caused two Indian air force fighters to collide and spin into the crowded city, killing nine persons and injuring thirty-seven. The vulture flew into the path of six planes flying in formation over the city. The bird hit … More


At the very beginning of Israel’s history, God clearly warned the people about the consequences of disobedience (Duet. 28:15). When the people disobeyed, God let them experience many devastating consequences, to remind them of the seriousness of their sins. The second generation continued in the same path as their parents (vv. 17-24). Again, the Lord did not consume them, because of His mercy. Though this generation did enter the land, the Lord predicted dispersion from it. This was, and has been, carried out several times in Israel’s history. Never is the Lord to be held responsible for leading anyone into sin (Jam 1:13). However, He does allow the rebellious sinner to go his way and receive the wages of sin (Rom 1:24, 26, 28; 6:23).

Why would God give them laws that weren’t good (vv. 25-26)?  This doesn’t refer to any aspect of the Mosaic law. Instead Ezekiel is reinforcing the law. Evidently the Jews had taken the dedication of the firstborn animals and children (Ex. 13:12) as a justification for child sacrifice. God was giving them over to the delusion of their minds to get them to acknowledge Him and to jar their consciences. Israel blasphemed God by taking the very things they should have offered to Him, such as blood sacrifice, incense, and gifts; and offered them to false gods that they adopted when entering the land (vv. 27-28). They polluted themselves with all their idols (vv. 27-28).  They were doing the very same thing their forefathers had done, and God had dealt with them. Now judgment must take place.


If I choose to live for myself, apart from God, I may experience some very destructive consequences. However, even through such consequences, God can use these things to  draw me to Himself. May every circumstance of my life bring me to my senses and to our merciful God before it is too late.

Ezekiel 20:17-32 (English Standard Version)

Nevertheless, my eye spared them, and I did not destroy them or make a full end of them in the wilderness. "And I said to their children in the wilderness, Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor keep their rules, nor defile yourselves with their idols. I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and be careful to obey my rules, and keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God. But the children rebelled against me. They did not walk in my statutes and were not careful to obey my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live; they profaned my Sabbaths. "Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the wilderness. But I withheld my hand and acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. Moreover, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries, because they had not obeyed my rules, but had rejected my statutes and profaned my Sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their fathers' idols. Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which they could not have life, and I defiled them through their very gifts in their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the LORD. "Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: In this also your fathers blasphemed me, by dealing treacherously with me. For when I had brought them into the land that I swore to give them, then wherever they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, there they offered their sacrifices and there they presented the provocation of their offering; there they sent up their pleasing aromas, and there they poured out their drink offerings. (I said to them, What is the high place to which you go? So its name is called Bamah to this day.) "Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: Will you defile yourselves after the manner of your fathers and go whoring after their detestable things? When you present your gifts and offer up your children in fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. And shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you. "What is in your mind shall never happen--the thought, 'Let us be like the nations, like the tribes of the countries, and worship wood and stone."'

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »