08.23.12 - Woe to you America...

Please begin with prayer for an open heart, before you read the passage below.  (For extra credit---read Ezekiel 26 & 27!) Ezekiel 28 - The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man , say to the ruler of Tyre, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘In the pride of your heart you say, “I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas.” But you are a man and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god. Are you wiser than Daniel[a]? Is no secret hidden from you? By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself and amassed gold and silver in your treasuries. By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth your heart has grown proud. “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “‘Because you think you are wise, as wise as a god, I am going to bring foreigners against you, the most ruthless of nations; they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom and pierce your shining splendor. They will bring you down to the pit, and you will die a violent death in the heart of the seas. Will you then say, “I am a god,” in the presence of those who kill you? You will be but a man, not a god, in the hands of those who slay you. 10 You will die the death of the uncircumcised at the hands of foreigners.  I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

11 The word of the Lord came to me: 12 “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden,  the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire,[b] turquoise and beryl.[c] Your settings and mountings[d] were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.  You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.  So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. 18 By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. 19 All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more. ’”

A Prophecy Against Sidon

20 The word of the Lord came to me: 21 “Son of man, set your face against Sidon; prophesy against her 22 and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘I am against you, O Sidon, and I will gain glory within you. They will know that I am the Lord, when I inflict punishment on her and show myself holy within her. 23 I will send a plague upon her and make blood flow in her streets.  The slain will fall within her, with the sword against her on every side.  Then they will know that I am the Lord. 24 “‘No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbors who are painful briers and sharp thorns. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.

25 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will show myself holy among them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. 26 They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God. ’”

Ezekiel lived around 600 B.C. and was captured and deported to the city of Babylon when they overthrew Jerusalem.  The book of Ezekiel is all about people knowing who the true God is.  The book contains the phrase ‘Then they will know that I am the Lord’ 65 times and this is shown through God’s judgment and control, as well as His grace and love.  We have selective hearing when it comes to God’s character and attempt to brush off His judgment and holiness.  Hebrews 12 talks about parents disciplining kids and God disciplining us.  It can be inferred that a parent is a bad parent if they don’t discipline!  Yet we want to remove any discipline/judgment from the Holy God??

Tyre and Sidon were neighbors of Jerusalem and capitalized on the destruction the Babylonians caused.  We see in Jeremiah 27 that these prominent cities were a part of a network against some of the attacking people---alongside Judah.  So, it’s like a friend/neighbor profiting on your house burning down and doing nothing to help. 

We see God’s heart throughout Ezekiel 28---at one point, the King of Tyre was in a good place with God.  Then, wealth and sin crept in and the King elevated himself to god.  There is no perceived need for the true God, if you think you are god.  I just keep thinking of the American culture while wrestling with this text.  Our affluence, beauty, materialism, independence, pride, and arrogance have turned our hearts against a Holy God, because we don’t think we ‘need’ Him.  Jesus references these two cities in Matthew 11:20-24 and says they would have turned and repented if they saw what Jesus was doing!  I think the same cry of Jesus heart applies to our country today, as well as every person worldwide. 

Luke 12:47-48 talks about higher levels of accountability for those that have more (read the whole section!).  I think this fits into the Matthew 11 text well, because the people in front of Jesus saw the proof that He was the Messiah, but they refused to respond.  Today, we have amazing access to Scripture, archaeology that supports the faith, science that points to a ‘higher power’, and daily examples of miracles around us, yet we refuse to humble ourselves before God, because we are self-sufficient and proud.  We are those that have more---more stuff, more freedom, more evidence, and more access to God.  America… turn and repent and humble yourselves before a holy God!  His desire is that everyone ‘will know that I am the Lord’.  This can be seen in grace, gentleness, and compassion, but also in God’s power, judgment and holiness. 

How do these texts strike you?  Can you relate to the pride from Tyre/Sidon in your life?  Do you try to separate and hide the judgment side of God?  I would love to hear any other thoughts you might have.  Sorry for the length and hope that’s not a deterrent!