Day 194 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 28 – This chapter consists of two poems against the ruler of Tyre. The first (verses 1–10) is addressed against “the prince of Tyre,” and the second (verses 11–19) against “the king of Tyre.” Though the words are different, these two poems are probably addressed to the same person, one who goes by both titles, “king” and “prince.” The second poem, however, dramatically shows who ultimately stands behind all opposition to God and His people. In 28:11–15, it becomes clear that while we are still seeing the king of Tyre, something else is happening as well. Flickering in and out with the face of the king of Tyre is the face of Satan, the great Enemy of God’s people who pursues and harasses them with temptation and despair. When God therefore destroys this “king of Tyre” in verses 16–19, the reader is meant to understand that the one whom God is defeating is the Evil One who stands behind this human king.
This passage is ultimately fulfilled in Revelation 20:7–10, when King Jesus commands that Satan be destroyed in the lake of fire and sulfur. Just as Ezekiel prophesies here, his doom and humiliation before God are total. Yet Ezekiel’s prophecy is fulfilled in an inaugurated (i.e., decisively begun) way on the cross of Calvary, where Satan was defanged and his accusing voice silenced toward those who are in Jesus (Colossians 2:13–15). The destruction Satan effects now is only the angry lashings of a doomed and dying foe.
Why does God act in this way against all these nations? It is on behalf of His people, so that they can live in peace. God’s passionate love for His people in this section of Ezekiel is palpable. It is a no-holds-barred defense of them, like a father roused to protect his children when they are being threatened.
How does it comfort you to know how much God loves you?
Ezekiel 29 & 30 – Chapters 29-32 contain prophecies against Egypt, the seventh nation God judges. God’s point in all this is to assert His utter supremacy and authority over all the nations of the world, and especially to make known the foolishness of human pride before Him. Each of these nations in turn asserted that what they had and what they were was the result of their own work, that it came from their own hand. Again and again, they exalt themselves against the Lord and against His people. God promises to confront them and bring them low.
The Bible teaches frequently that pride is the most deadly attitude to have in God’s presence. We as Believers should be careful never to think that what we have has come from our own hand or that we have won it for ourselves. What we have, in every particular, is given to us by God, and we should always remember that He could take it all away with a mere whisper. “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Even our faith itself is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).
Conversely, those who humble themselves before God, contritely trusting in Jesus as their supreme refuge, have the greatest treasure in the universe (Philippians 3:8). It can never be taken away (John 10:28).Not only does God confront and destroy these seven nations that have set themselves against Him and His people, but He also metaphorically confronts and overthrows those nations’ gods, proving in the process that they are no gods at all, and that He is the one true God.
These verses are a good example of God’s confrontation with pagan deities. On the surface, verses 1–3 are simply an oracle against the pharaoh of Egypt in which he is pictured as a crocodile, the dragon of the Nile. But there also was an ancient pagan idea that this dragon symbolized a god who creates chaos in the world. This represented a fundamentally dualistic worldview, with two equal deities forever in conflict. Of course, Yahweh will have none of this; He alone created and rules the world, and He brooks no rival gods, including the dragon. In these verses, then, God makes the point strongly. He hooks the dragon in the jaw, and drags him onto the land and out into the desert to die. There is no doubt who rules and reigns: Yahweh, not this Leviathan.
God’s dominion over the nations’ “gods” is also obvious in the way He controls those nations, their kings, and their armies. In this extraordinary passage, God says that He will soon give Egypt to Babylon as wages for their hard labor against Tyre.
The Babylonians believed they were serving their own gods; that their own gods were in control of their national destiny. But Yahweh turns the tables: He will give the Babylonians the wealth of Egypt in exchange for their labor against Tyre. And for whom was that labor performed? “They worked for me, declares the Lord God.”God “works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). And, for those who have sought refuge in Jesus from the judgment they too deserve, “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).
“Horn” in verse 21 is simply a common symbol of power, but the phrase “spring up” comes from the Hebrew word “branch,” a word fraught with messianic significance (see Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15). As God confronts and overthrows these evil rival powers, He sets up a new power in their place who will reign as king forever. That king, ultimately, is Jesus.
Having sought your refuge in Jesus alone, how are you encouraged to know God is working all things for your good?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.