Judgment on Elders and Jerusalem

Text: Ezekiel 14:1-15:8


I.         The elders - Ezekiel 14:1-11

            A.        The elders gathered around Ezekiel to seek advice from God - Ezekiel 20:1, Jeremiah 42:20-21

            B.        God, however, is insulted that idolatrous men come asking the true God - Jeremiah 7:8-11

                        1.         They were worshiping idols in their hearts - Ezekiel 14:3; 6:9

                        2.         They filled their vision with them so that they stumbled over them into sin

            C.        God doesn’t answer the wicked - Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 15:29; 28:9; Isaiah 1:15

            D.        Properly they should have God in heart and sight - Psalm 101:3; Proverbs 3:21-26

            E.        God declares they will receive the answer they deserve - Ezekiel 14:4; Proverbs 26:5; Isaiah 3:11; Romans 1:28; Galatians 6:7

                        1.         He will seize them by the heart (convict them by their own conscience or expose their deepest sinful thoughts)

                        2.         They are separated from God - Isaiah 1:4; Jeremiah 2:11-13, 32; Romans 1:21-23; 8:7; Colossians 1:21

            F.        God’s demand is repentance - Ezekiel 14:6; 18:30

                        1.         A common theme - I Samuel 7:3; I Kings 8:47-49; Isaiah 55:6-7; Acts 3:19

                        2.         The problem is that Israel stubbornly stayed in their sins - Jeremiah 8:5-6

                        3.         Repentance is shown - Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:20; II Corinthians 7:9-11

            G.        God promises not to answer in word alone, but by His own actions

                        1.         God will make an example of the sinful inquirer - Numbers 26:10; Deuteronomy 28:37; I Corinthians 10:11

                        2.         Warning for today - Romans 11:22

            H.        If a prophet is seduced to speak falsely, it will only be because God allows it - Deuteronomy 13:1-3; Psalm 81:11-12; II Thessalonians 2:10-12

                        1.         Example - I Kings 22:20-23

                        2.         The false prophets will suffer along with the deceived.

            I.         The purpose is to straighten out the remaining people - Deuteronomy 13:11

                        1.         Refining by trial - Zechariah 13:9

                        2.         A promise of the new covenant as well - Jeremiah 31:33

II.        Jerusalem - Ezekiel 14:12-23

            A.        Even if great and faithful men lived, it would not spare the fate of Jerusalem

                        1.         Daniel’s acknowledgment of Israel’s sin - Daniel 9:5, 10-12

                        2.         Could Daniel be someone else?

                                    a.         The name in Ezekiel is spelled without the yod.

                                                (1)       This can be simply a difference in pronunciation, as a regional dialect

                                                (2)       It can be a difference in emphasis as the yod can serve as a hypen in English. Hence Daniel in the book of Daniel places extra emphasis on his being a servant of God (El).

                                    b.         Ezekiel 14:14 States he is a righteous man. The alternatives offered are folklore heros who served other gods or were polytheistic; a belief not consistent with righteousness

                                    c.         Ezekiel 28:3 mentions Daniel’s wisdom; something that matches Daniel in Daniel and does not match the folklore heros offered.

                                    d.         Then remember the motivation. These men often want Daniel to be book written at a later time so as to explain the accuracy of the prophecies. Hence, they “need” no references to Daniel in another book to lend credibility and Ezekiel’s date is not disputed.

                        3.         Why these men?

                                    a.         Noah was righteous, but he wasn’t able to save the world - Hebrews 11:7

                                    b.         Job was righteous, but he wasn’t spared suffering nor was his children saved.

                                    c.         Daniel’s righteousness did not stop the captivity.

                        4.         What is interesting is that Daniel is a contemporary of Ezekiel.

                                    a.         His life was not complete and he already had a reputation

                                    b.         Daniel was taken captive in the third year of Jehoiakim’s reign - Daniel 1:1

                                    c.         Jehoiakim reigned eight more years - II Kings 23:36

                                    d.         Jehoiachin reigned three months after Jehoiakim - II Kings 24:6-8

                                    e.         Ezekiel’s prophecy is during the sixth year of Jehoiachin’s captivity - Ezekiel 8:1

                                    f.         Thus Daniel was in his fourteenth year of captivity, or probably in his twenties.

                                    g.         Perhaps the Jews, with pride in Daniel’s position in government hoped that greater disaster would be avoided.

                        5.         They would only deliver themselves - II Peter 2:9; Proverbs 11:4

                        6.         Similar statement - Jeremiah 15:1

            B.        God promises

                        1.         Famine - Ezekiel 14:13

                        2.         Desolation - Ezekiel 14:15

                        3.         War - Ezekiel 14:17

                        4.         Pestilence - Ezekiel 14:19

                        5.         If they can’t prevent even one, they certainly can’t prevent all four - Ezekiel 14:21

            C.        Still, God promises to reserve a remnant - Ezekiel 14:22-23

                        1.         A small number from Jerusalem would join those already in captivity

                        2.         When the captive see these new captives, they will acknowledge that God was just and in response to proper cause - Ezekiel 20:43; Daniel 9:7, 14

                        3.         The elders came to Ezekiel to complain, but God tells them they will learn - Jeremiah 22:8-9

III.       The lesson of the vine - Ezekiel 15:1-8

            A.        Jerusalem is compared to a vine - Psalm 80:8-16; Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1

            B.        Vines are great when they produce fruit

            C.        But they have no other use if they are unproductive - Isaiah 5:1-7

                        1.         What more could be done? - Isaiah 5:4

                        2.         Only use is to be burnt - John 15:6; Hebrews 6:8

            D.        No escape for the one or the other punishment will overtake them - Ezekiel 15:7

            E.        Application for today

                        1.         Mark 9:50 - Salt that has become worthless

                        2.         Luke 13:6-9 - The worthless fig tree

                        3.         John 15:1-6 - Only productive in Christ