Thursday after the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Ezekiel 7-9 (NKJV)
7:1 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “And you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD to the land of Israel:
‘An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. 3 Now the end has come upon you, and I will send My anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will repay you for all your abominations. 4 My eye will not spare you, nor will I have pity; But I will repay your ways, and your abominations will be in your midst; Then you shall know that I am the LORD!’
5 “Thus says the Lord GOD:
‘A disaster, a singular disaster; Behold, it has come! 6 An end has come, the end has come; It has dawned for you; Behold, it has come! 7 Doom has come to you, you who dwell in the land; The time has come, a day of trouble is near, and not of rejoicing in the mountains. 8 Now upon you I will soon pour out My fury, and spend My anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will repay you for all your abominations. 9 My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity; I will repay you according to your ways, and your abominations will be in your midst.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD who strikes.
10 ‘Behold, the day! Behold, it has come! Doom has gone out; The rod has blossomed, pride has budded. 11 Violence has risen up into a rod of wickedness; None of them shall remain, none of their multitude, none of them; Nor shall there be wailing for them. 12 The time has come, the day draws near. ‘Let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn, for wrath is on their whole multitude. 13 For the seller shall not return to what has been sold, though he may still be alive; For the vision concerns the whole multitude, and it shall not turn back; No one will strengthen himself who lives in iniquity.
14 ‘They have blown the trumpet and made everyone ready, but no one goes to battle; For My wrath is on all their multitude. 15 The sword is outside, and the pestilence and famine within. Whoever is in the field will die by the sword; And whoever is in the city, famine and pestilence will devour him. 16 Those who survive will escape and be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, each for his iniquity. 17 Every hand will be feeble, and every knee will be as weak as water. 18 They will also be girded with sackcloth; Horror will cover them; Shame will be on every face, baldness on all their heads.
19 ‘They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be like refuse; Their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD; They will not satisfy their souls, nor fill their stomachs, because it became their stumbling block of iniquity. 20 As for the beauty of his ornaments, he set it in majesty; But they made from it the images of their abominations—their detestable things; Therefore I have made it like refuse to them. 21 I will give it as plunder into the hands of strangers, and to the wicked of the earth as spoil; And they shall defile it. 22 I will turn My face from them, and they will defile My secret place; For robbers shall enter it and defile it.
23 ‘Make a chain, for the land is filled with crimes of blood, and the city is full of violence. 24 Therefore I will bring the worst of the Gentiles, and they will possess their houses; I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease, and their holy places shall be defiled. 25 Destruction comes; They will seek peace, but there shall be none. 26 Disaster will come upon disaster, and rumor will be upon rumor. Then they will seek a vision from a prophet; But the law will perish from the priest, and counsel from the elders. 27 The king will mourn, the prince will be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the common people will tremble. I will do to them according to their way, and according to what they deserve I will judge them;
‘Then they shall know that I am the LORD!'”
8:1 And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house with the elders of Judah sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell upon me there. 2 Then I looked, and there was a likeness, like the appearance of fire—from the appearance of His waist and downward, fire; and from His waist and upward, like the appearance of brightness, like the color of amber. 3 He stretched out the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my hair; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven, and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the north gate of the inner court, where the seat of the image of jealousy was, which provokes to jealousy. 4 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision that I saw in the plain.
5 Then He said to me, “Son of man, lift your eyes now toward the north.” So I lifted my eyes toward the north, and there, north of the altar gate, was this image of jealousy in the entrance.
6 Furthermore He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make Me go far away from My sanctuary? Now turn again, you will see greater abominations.”
7 So He brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, there was a hole in the wall. 8 Then He said to me, “Son of man, dig into the wall”; and when I dug into the wall, there was a door.
9 And He said to me, “Go in, and see the wicked abominations which they are doing there.” 10 So I went in and saw, and there—every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed all around on the walls. 11 And there stood before them seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, and in their midst stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan. Each man had a censer in his hand, and a thick cloud of incense went up.
12 Then He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land.'” 13 And He said to me, “Turn again, and you will see greater abominations that they are doing.”
14 So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the LORD’s house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz. 15 Then He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these.”
16 So He brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.
17 And He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it a trivial thing to the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence; then they have returned to provoke Me to anger. Indeed they put the branch to their nose. 18 Therefore I also will act in fury. My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.”
9:1 Then He called out in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, “Let those who have charge over the city draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand.” 2 And suddenly six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his battle-ax in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen and had a writer’s inkhorn at his side. They went in and stood beside the bronze altar.
3 Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; 4 and the LORD said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.”
5 To the others He said in my hearing, “Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. 6 Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were before the temple.
7 Then He said to them, “Defile the temple, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!” And they went out and killed in the city. 8 So it was, that while they were killing them, I was left alone; and I fell on my face and cried out, and said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Will You destroy all the remnant of Israel in pouring out Your fury on Jerusalem?”
9 Then He said to me, “The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great, and the land is full of bloodshed, and the city full of perversity; for they say, ‘The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see!’ 10 And as for Me also, My eye will neither spare, nor will I have pity, but I will recompense their deeds on their own head.”
11 Just then, the man clothed with linen, who had the inkhorn at his side, reported back and said, “I have done as You commanded me.”
Though the destruction had not yet come, the Word of the Lord declares the certainty of it’s imminent arrival. Again and again we read, “the end has come…the time has come.” The iniquity—the idolatry—of the people called out for judgment, and the vision which the Lord grants to His prophet demonstrates the vanity of the iniquitous man who imagines he will conceal his sin from the sight of the Triune God. “Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, “The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land.”‘” (8:12) That which they imagined would be hidden even from the sight of God is made known to all generations, because their sins called down the wrath of the Lord.
It is a terrifying thing to read the end to which the people had come: “Disaster will come upon disaster, and rumor will come upon rumor. Then they will seek a vision from a prophet; but the law will perish from the priest, and counsel from the elders.”(7:26) Whether they sought a false prophet to speak a lying word, or sought—in fear for the loss of their material abundance—that a true prophet might intercede for them, a further sign of the divine judgment is the absence of the prophet, priest, and elder.
What great consolation is ours, when the Lord speaks to us in His Law, and we, in sorrow, repent. For the blood of Christ Jesus, Who died to accomplish the atonement for all sin, is our hope, and believing in Him, we have the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.
Prayer: Lord, we beseech Thee, grant Thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds to follow Thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.