The Instrument of God’s Judgment

“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it–but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” (Oliver … More

Direction

Ezekiel’s third message showed God directing the sword of Babylon against Jerusalem (vv. 18-23). In symbolic actions Ezekiel pictured God supernaturally guiding Nebuchadnezzar to Jerusalem to over-throw the city. God told him to mark out two roads for the king of Babylon to take. His choice was whether to head down the coastal highway and attack Judah and Jerusalem or to head down the Transjordanian highway and attack Ammon and Rabbah. God had all the signs point toward the coastal highway and Jerusalem. That would be where he decided to proceed. The rulers of Judah had pledged allegiance to Babylon, but they had violated their oath by rebelling. As Nebuchadnezzar set up his siege around the city, the people refused to believe he would succeed, but they were wrong. Since they had broken their covenant with Nebuchadnezzar (17:11-21), he would take them captive.

God then pronounced judgment on the people (v. 24) and the prince (vv. 25-27). Because of open rebellion, Jerusalem’s people would be taken captive. They felt secure in their city, but they would be forcibly torn from it and dragged in chains to Babylon. The profane and wicked prince of Israel was King Zedekiah. The right to rule in Israel was taken from him, and the land was destroyed. Ezekiel stressed that Israel’s throne was to be absolutely desolate. It will not be restored until He  surrenders to what rightfully belongs to Him.

Ezekiel’s fourth prophecy about the sword was directed against the Ammonites, who thought they had escaped Nebuchadnezzar’s attack (vv. 28-32). Ammon and Jerusalem, though enemies, had joined forces against Babylon. When Nebuchadnezzar decided to attack Jerusalem, Ammon was relieved and happy. They were thankful that Jerusalem would suffer in their place. In fact after Jerusalem’s fall the Ammonites organized a coup that caused the death of Gedaliah, the governor of the land appointed by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 40:13-41:10).

Application

Just as God gave sign posts for Nebuchadnezzar to follow He will give me direction in the way I should go in my life if I seek Him and trust Him.

Ezekiel 21:18-32 (English Standard Version)

The word of the LORD came to me again: "As for you, son of man, mark two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to come. Both of them shall come from the same land. And make a signpost; make it at the head of the way to a city. Mark a way for the sword to come to Rabbah of the Ammonites and to Judah, into Jerusalem the fortified. For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination. He shakes the arrows; he consults the teraphim; he looks at the liver. Into his right hand comes the divination for Jerusalem, to set battering rams, to open the mouth with murder, to lift up the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to cast up mounds, to build siege towers. But to them it will seem like a false divination. They have sworn solemn oaths, but he brings their guilt to remembrance, that they may be taken. "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have made your guilt to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your deeds your sins appear--because you have come to remembrance, you shall be taken in hand. And you, O profane wicked one, prince of Israel, whose day has come, the time of your final punishment, thus says the Lord GOD: Remove the turban and take off the crown. Things shall not remain as they are. Exalt that which is low, and bring low that which is exalted. A ruin, ruin, ruin I will make it. This also shall not be, until he comes, the one to whom judgment belongs, and I will give it to him. "And you, son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites and concerning their reproach; say, A sword, a sword is drawn for the slaughter. It is polished to consume and to flash like lightning-- while they see for you false visions, while they divine lies for you--to place you on the necks of the profane wicked, whose day has come, the time of their final punishment. Return it to its sheath. In the place where you were created, in the land of your origin, I will judge you. And I will pour out my indignation upon you; I will blow upon you with the fire of my wrath, and I will deliver you into the hands of brutish men, skillful to destroy. You shall be fuel for the fire. Your blood shall be in the midst of the land. You shall be no more remembered, for I the LORD have spoken."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »