Ezekiel is a greater Book of Scripture than I ever realized!
And “blocks” of it are absolutely sublime!
No greater Literature exists describing the Glory of God, when compared to Ezekiel’s first chapter!
Or perhaps none more graphic, than that great 16th chapter, the “story” of God’s dealings with Israel. What divinely inspired history!
I am even enjoying our current focus, Ezekiel chapters 26-28, where precise detail is given regarding the “fall” of the wicked, vast Phoenician empire. (Which is placed within an even wider “unit” of the Book, sermons against the Gentile Nations of the world. Egypt being next, in chapter 29.)
But today (and again in the next lesson) Ezekiel is amazing, proving itself God-written, God-breathed!
Yet, in a way, it is more of the same!
Concerning Phoenicia I mean.
Except now we seem to be centering on a “specific” ruler of that land.
Watch chapter 28’s first ten verses …
Beginning with verse one … “The word of the LORD came again unto me (Ezekiel), saying, Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD.” To the leader (“prince”) of Tyre, whom history tells us may have been a man named “Ethbaal III.” (The “baal” already suggests he is a worshipper of the devil!)
Note that Ezekiel speaks when God comes “unto” him. The Hebrew preposition is “le,” grammatically denoting “direction.” God and Ezekiel, communing as it were “Face-to-face!”
What’s the Message?
Read more with me. “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee. With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures. By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches. Verses 2-5, like an “indictment!”
God, knowing the man’s heart, is aware than he blasphemously thinks “he is God!” Or at least “a God!”
That he sits on the Throne of the Almighty! “I sit in the seat of God.” Apparently his people, being maritime sailors (and good ones at that) … believed God ruled the “seas” particularly! “I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas!”
Then God “hits” him directly, rebukes him … “Yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God!”
But there’s more! Look at this Prince’s utter conceit … believing himself wiser than (even) Daniel! Yes, holy Daniel, who personally knows the God Who is “the Revealer of secrets!” (Daniel 2:47) Yes, our Text is repeating (from God’s Perspective) the Prince’s thoughts … “Thou art wiser than Daniel; and there is no secret that they can hide from thee.”
This man has “all” the answers!
Next God gives a financial report on Ethbaal III’s “holdings.” Or whomever this powerful Prince was at that time. “With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures. By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick (“rekullah” = merchandise) hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches.”
Sounds like too much love of money!
Sounds also like God’s evaluation of the lukewarm Church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:17. “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.”
Worshippers of material things!
What’s God going to do?
We don’t have to wait long to learn …
Immediately in verses 6-10 God announces the doom of this tyrant! “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit (grave), and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas. Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee. Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.”
Judgment on PRIDE!
The sin which (I believe) God HATES most of all!
Because it is an affront to the Essence of God Himself!
And should that be the end of the chapter (which it isn’t) … the lesson is clear. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7
Or … “Ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23
Or … “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
But chapter 28 segues (in verses 11-19) from a human prince to a … superhuman King! I think we have upcoming here a paragraph about the devil himself!
But that’s our next Lesson, isn’t it?
Today … God, the Judge!
Psalm 75:7 comes to mind. “But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.”
Then John 5:26-27 … “For as the FATHER hath life in himself; so hath he given to the SON to have life in himself; and HATH GIVEN HIM AUTHORITY TO EXECUTE JUDGMENT ALSO, because he is the Son of man.”
Will I ever quit writing this morning?
One more little (but sobering) verse … “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1st Corinthians 10:12
— Dr. Mike Bagwell