You will die the death of the uncircumcised at the hands of foreigners. For I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD."
This feeling of superhuman elevation in the King of Tyre was fostered by the fact that the island on which Tyre stood was called "the holy island," being sacred to Hercules; so much so that the colonies looked up to Tyre, as the mother city of their religion as well as of their political existence.
It might not have occurred to an ordinary observer that Tyre owed its position to its wisdom, and its downfall to an unwise confidence in that wisdom. Bat the Prophet Ezekiel looked below the surface, and traced the arrogance and presumptuous ungodliness of the great city to its claim to worldly prudence, sagacity, and skill, which, being substituted for true and Divine wisdom, became the occasion of the city's downfall and destruction.
I. THE RANGE AND REALITY OF WORLDLY WISDOM. It has respect to earthly good, prescribing means by which health of body, riches and luxuries, worldly honor, etc., may be attained. It bounds its regards by the horizon of earth and time. It employs instrumentalities which experience approves as efficacious. It takes counsel of the prosperous and the honored. It pursues patiently and persistently aims which are mundane and which are within human reach, wasting no time (as it would say) upon ethereal sentiment, imaginary and ideal perfection, Utopian schemes.
II. THE FRUIT OF THIS WISDOM. The case of Tyre is to the point. The understanding and skill for which the Tyrian merchants and mariners were noted were not employed in vain. Success was their attestation and approval. Uncertainty is indeed distinctive of all human endeavor and undertaking. But a large measure of success may fairly be reckoned upon as likely to be secured by the use of means devised by the wisdom of this world. As a man soweth, so does he reap.
III. THE BOAST OF THIS WISDOM. Tyre claimed to be wiser than Daniel, and to be able to penetrate all secrets. There are those who would think it vulgar and contemptible to boast of their birth, their wealth, their honors, who, however, are not above boasting of their insight, sagacity, and prudence. They would never have fallen into errors which misled their neighbors! They would have known how to deal with such a person, how to contend with such difficulties, how to adapt themselves to such circumstances! Trust them to find their way, however intricate its windings!
IV. THE TRIAL OF THIS WISDOM. It is admitted that, in ordinary circumstances and times, worldly wisdom is sufficient to preserve a man and a nation from calamities, to secure to them many and real advantages. But every true student of human nature and human history is aware that times of exceptional probation and difficulty have to be encountered. It is so in the life of every man, it is so in the history of every people. The principles which served well enough before are useless now. The men of the world are at a loss, and know not whither to turn. The crisis has come: how shall it be met?
V. THE VANITY OF THIS WISDOM. Mere cleverness and fox-like keenness, mere experience upon the low level of expediency, are proved in times of trial to be altogether worthless. Deeply rooted convictions of Divine truth, and habits of reverential conformity to laws of Divine righteousness, "the fear of the Lord" (in the language of Scripture), - such are true wisdom. Anything short of this must issue in disappointment and powerlessness. Human expediencies may carry us a long way, but a point is reached where they fail, and where their worthlessness is made apparent. Such a point was reached in the history of Tyre, when it was found that wealth could not buy off the hostility of Babylon, and that mercenaries could not resist Babylonian arms or policy overcome Babylonian persistence.
VI. THE OVERTHROW AND CONFUSION OF THIS WISDOM. The language of the prophet upon this is singular and suggestive: "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." The wisdom in which the Tyrians trusted, and which excited the admiration of their neighbors and rivals, could not withstand the attack of Oriental soldiery and tactics. It was boasted in days of prosperity; but in the day of adversity its strength was small.
VII. THE DISCREDITING AND CONTEMPT OF THIS WISDOM. There are times when professions are accepted as valid and trustworthy; but there are also times when professions are of no avail, and when solid facts and realities alone will abide. As in the case of Tyre, the wisdom which is weighed in the balances and is found wanting is utterly discredited. Men despise what formerly they praised. Such is the fate to which the wisdom of the worldly wise is doomed. "It is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent will I reject Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" - T.
Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus.
Who has not sometimes, standing on Brooklyn Bridge, and looking off on the forests of masts, or upon the fleets sailing back and forth upon the river, or at the great warehouses upon one side and the homes beautiful and happy upon the other — who has not sometimes called up in his imagination the picture of Ephesus or Athens or Corinth, where great ships once rode at anchor, whose old-time harbour is now a great morass? Who has not wondered whether the time may not come in some far future age when men shall come and look on the ruins of this great bridge and the ruins of this great city and the harbour filled up with its own filth, and will regret it as we regret the forgotten splendours of Mexico or of Central America? Decay is on all men's institutions. Persia, Babylon, Greece, Rome, Venice, Spain, all lived out their life as we are living ours, and all fell into their decay, their senility, and their grave. Are we to follow them? I do not know. But this I know: that behind all these institutions, behind all these governments and laws, there is an eternal law manifested and revealed. I know not how long this republic shall endure; but I know this, that behind all kingdoms and republics, in them and by them, is manifested the eternal kingdom of God; nay, the very governments that set themselves against that kingdom to break down and destroy it are speaking, whether they will or they will not, the word that endureth forever. "Tell me what lessons you have to teach us, O you nations of the past!" And Babylon lifts up her voice and says, "I have to teach you this: that any nation that puts its foot on the neck of prostrate humanity seals its death warrant and hastens to its own doom." And Greece says, "I have this to tell you: that no art, no philosophy, no culture, can save from death the nation that is immoral." And Rome says, "I have this to tell you: that no power of law will make a nation safe and strong if there be corruption eating out the heart of it." And Venice says, "I have this to say to you: that no nation is rich, though its fleets sail all seas, if it be poor in manhood." And Spain says, "I have this to say to you: that pride, for the nation as for the individual, cometh before a fall!" And then I wonder, as I look upon my own dear native land, whether she will learn these lessons writ so large in all the history of the past. Whether we are to illustrate by our own stupendous and awful ruin that, though a nation have power and culture and wealth and law and pride, it perishes without a God; or whether we shall rather teach this: that a nation whose kings are uncrowned kings, and who beckons from far across the sea the ignorant, the unlearned, and the incompetent, is strong and enduring, because it has enshrined God in its heart and has founded itself on that judgment and that justice which are the foundations of His throne. What the history of the future shall have for our dear land, who can tell? But whether this nation is born to teach a lesson by its folly or its wisdom, by its fidelity or by its infidelity, back of all these transitory and decaying nations stands writ the truth of Him who in national life is speaking, and whose word endureth forever.
H.W. Beecher strikingly compares the great heaps of wealth that some men pile up to the Pyramids of Egypt. There they stand, looking grand on the outside, but within they contain only the dust of kings. So with these fine appearing fortunes which have been heaped up in forgetfulness of God's service. They contain within only the dust of what might have been a kingly character.
PeopleDaniel, Ezekiel, Jacob, Zidon
PlacesSidon, Tigris-Euphrates Region, Tyre
TopicsAffirmation, Circumcision, Death, Deaths, Declares, Die, Diest, Foreigners, Hands, Lands, Says, Sovereign, Spoken, Strange, Strangers, Uncircumcised
Outline1. God's judgment upon the prince of Tyrus for his sacrilegious pride
11. A lamentation of his great glory corrupted by Sidon
20. The judgment of Zion
24. The restoration of Israel
Dictionary of Bible ThemesEzekiel 28:10
Text: Philippians 2, 5-11. 5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; 10 that …
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II
The Doctrine of Satan.
I. HIS EXISTENCE AND PERSONALITY. 1. EXISTENCE. 2. PERSONALITY. II. HIS PLACE AND POWER. 1. A MIGHTY ANGEL. 2. PRINCE OF POWER OF THE AIR. 3. GOD OF THIS WORLD. 4. HEAD OF KINGDOM OF DARKNESS. 5. SOVEREIGN OVER DEATH. III. HIS CHARACTER. 1. ADVERSARY. 2. DIABOLOS. 3. WICKED ONE. 4. TEMPTER. IV. OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS SATAN. 1. LIMITED POWER OF SATAN. 2. RESIST HIM. V. HIS DESTINY. 1. A CONQUERED ENEMY. 2. UNDER ETERNAL CURSE. VI. DEMONS. THE DOCTRINE OF SATAN. Throughout the Scriptures Satan is set …
Rev. William Evans—The Great Doctrines of the Bible
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10 We are now come to the last beatitude: Blessed are they which are persecuted . . '. Our Lord Christ would have us reckon the cost. Which of you intending to build a tower sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he have enough to finish it?' (Luke 14:28). Religion will cost us the tears of repentance and the blood of persecution. But we see here a great encouragement that may …
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12
Sign Seekers, and the Enthusiast Reproved.
(Galilee on the Same Day as the Last Section.) ^A Matt. XII. 38-45; ^C Luke XI. 24-36. ^c 29 And when the multitudes were gathering together unto him, ^a 38 Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, Teacher, we would see a sign from thee. [Having been severely rebuked by Jesus, it is likely that the scribes and Pharisees asked for a sign that they might appear to the multitude more fair-minded and open to conviction than Jesus had represented them to be. Jesus had just wrought …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
To a modern taste, Ezekiel does not appeal anything like so powerfully as Isaiah or Jeremiah. He has neither the majesty of the one nor the tenderness and passion of the other. There is much in him that is fantastic, and much that is ritualistic. His imaginations border sometimes on the grotesque and sometimes on the mechanical. Yet he is a historical figure of the first importance; it was very largely from him that Judaism received the ecclesiastical impulse by which for centuries it was powerfully …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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