For the people of Israel will no longer face a pricking brier or a painful thorn from all around them who treat them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the Lord GOD.'
I. WHY AND HOW GOD IS AGAINST US. "I am against thee, O Zidon" (Ver. 22). And we know that Jehovah was expressing his high displeasure and was warning of serious national disaster (Ver. 23) because of the iniquities of the state. The worst forms of religious superstition had long existed - idolatrous rites accompanied by immoral practices; the city was utterly corrupt; its condition called for Divine rebuke and chastisement. And the prophet delivers the one while he foretells the other, in the Name of the Lord. God may be "against" us. Not that he ever wishes us evil (Ezekiel 33:11); on the contrary, he always desires the return and restoration of the worst (Luke 15:7). But God is against us:
1. When our spirit and our life are wrong; when these are irreverent, immoral, unworthy, mischievous.
2. He then is seriously displeased with us, especially when his special kindness to us demands a very different return (John 3:19).
(1) rebukes us in his Word - he condemns us in the strong but yet the merciful language which his Son and his human spokesmen have uttered in his Name; and he
(2) chastens us, - he sends us, as individual souls, that which answers to the national distresses here announced (Ver. 23). He lets sickness and suffering, or defeat and disappointment, or opposition and overthrow, or bereavement and loneliness, come to our home or our heart; we are laid low; some "sword" goes through us, and we are among the slain.
II. HIS AIM JUDGMENT. Jehovah would smite Zidon, that that city, darkened in its mind by its long-continued guilt, might be enlightened; that it might understand that its licentious goddess was impotent to help in the hour of peril, and might know that God "was the Lord" (Vers. 22-24). God's purpose in permitting or in sending trouble to the home and sorrow to the soul, is restorative. He seeks to enlighten, and, by enlightening, to restore us.
1. He wishes us to understand clearly that the earthly forces and human attachments in which we have been putting our trust and seeking our satisfaction are wholly insufficient to us; that they break down when we most need their help; that they are vain; and that we are wrong.
2. He desires to lead us back to himself - to his side and to his service; to an absolute trust in his Son our Savior; and to a whole-hearted consecration to his holy service. And it is well worth while to suffer anything and everything that we may "know that he is Lord;" that we ]nay recognize in him the Savior in whom to hide, the Divine Friend whom we can love with all the strength of our soul, the Leader whom we can follow at every step, the Lord whom it is both our sacred duty and our lasting joy to serve in every sphere.
III. His PROMISE TO HIS PEOPLE. (Vers. 24, 26.) How far this prediction has been fulfilled is matter of sacred history; perhaps it is one of those promises which are only realized by "the springing and germinant" fulfillment of which Lord Bacon speaks. Beside
(1) the historical, there is
(2) the spiritual; and there is also
(3) the heavenly fulfillment.
Of these three, the second is found in the spiritual condition of those who, by a full surrender of spirit to their Divine Lord, find a perfect rest in him (Matthew 11:28; John 14:27; Philippians 4:7; Ephesians 3:16-19). The last will be found when the thorns and the briers which here are felt even in "the garden of the Lord" shall have been cut away by the strong hand of the Divine Husbandman, and there shall be beauty without decay, joy without suffering or satiety, life without any fear of death or of decline.
"Thorn without flowers; flowers on the thorn, (G. T. Forbes, M. A.).
(G. T. Forbes, M. A.).
PeopleDaniel, Ezekiel, Jacob, Zidon
PlacesSidon, Tigris-Euphrates Region, Tyre
TopicsBrier, Briers, Contempt, Despised, Despising, Despite, Disdain, Grieving, Hurt, Hurting, Longer, Malicious, Neighbors, Painful, Paining, Piercing, Plant, Points, Prick, Pricking, Prickling, Round, Scorned, Shame, Sharp, Sovereign, Sting, Thorn, Thorns, Treated, Troubling, Wounding
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 28:24
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.
Sign Seekers, and the Enthusiast Reproved.
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