7.14 Ezekiel -- The Sins of Israel
If the revelation of the knowledge of God was the purpose of Ezekiel's message, the primary cause of God's manifest judgment was the sins of Israel. These sins were as ancient as the nation itself:
This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Jerusalem: "Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite" (Eze 16:3).
"Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother. They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth" (Eze 23:2-3).
But now at last, the cumulative sins had blossomed, ripened, through the generations, and "the day is here" (Eze 7:10-12). In the past, the prophets gave warnings and attempted to change the destinies of men. Now, however, Ezekiel declared,
"The end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. The end is now upon you and I will unleash my anger against you. I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices" (Eze 7:2-3).
These practices included:
"Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day" (Eze 2:3).
b. Idolatry and injustice. The Spirit transported Ezekiel to Jerusalem, where he saw idols and idolatrous worship throughout the Temple (Eze 8:3-16). Each elder concealed his own idolatrous shrine (Eze 8:12).
"O city that brings on herself doom by shedding blood in her midst and defiles herself by making idols, you have become guilty because of the blood you have shed and have become defiled by the idols you have made" (Eze 22:3-4).
c. Faithless alliances. Adulterous pursuit of foreign gods was bound up with "promiscuous" trade, treaties, and cultural exchanges with nations such as Egypt, Assyria, and Babylonia (Eze 16:25-34, Eze 23:1-21). The consistent cry of Israel’s heart was,
'"We want to be like the nations, like the peoples of the world, who serve wood and stone.' But what you have in mind will never happen" (Eze 20:32).
"I will put an end to the pride of the mighty, and their sanctuaries will be desecrated" (Eze 7:24).
Even the Temple had been a source of pride and false confidence: God would surely defend His house, those left in Jerusalem thought. But God said,
"I am about to desecrate my sanctuary-the stronghold in which you take pride, the delight of your eyes, the object of your affection" (Eze 24:21).
e. Unbelief and lies.
"The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land" (Eze 8:12).
"The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future" (Eze 12:27).
"The way of the Lord is not just (Eze 18:29, Eze 33:20).
It is Israel's leaders who promoted these lies and misled the people. Therefore God will judge the prophets and shepherds (Eze 13, Eze 34).