Correction and Discipline

 ‘Thus says the Lord God: “When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob. And they will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards; yes, they will dwell securely, when I execute judgments on all those around them who despise them. Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God.” ’ ” —Ezekiel 28:25-26

Men, right in the middle of the Lord God’s proclamations of judgment on the nations surrounding Israel, and the lamentations spoken over the cities and kings, a promise of hope for Israel is declared.

The Lord is correcting His wayward child Israel for her sins and idolatry, but His anger won’t last forever. He will gather Israel from all the places they are taken captive and they will again dwell their own land given to the Lord’s servant Jacob. They will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards while the Lord pours out judgment on the nations that despise Israel. Then, all people will know that the Lord is their God.

This is good news for all people who love God. There is no one righteous, not even one, and the Lord chastises those He loves. His wrath, though unbearable and destructive, is poured out because He loves us as children. That child who is allowed to do wicked and self destructive acts without correction is not loved as much as the spoiled child who is told “no” once in a while. Israel is being told “no, that’s far enough” as a nation.

No child enjoys the anger of a father, and often hides until peace is restored. So it will be for Israel. Once the correction is realized and manifested in the lands where they are scattered, they will again return to their own land. The Lord will again fight for His children.

No matter how far you and I have fallen short. No matter how furious the Lord seems with you at this moment, He offers promises that if we turn from our wickedness He will return to us and restore us as He did Israel. The Lord is the God of a personal relationship as much as He is the God of nations and all creation.

Move forward men, acknowledging correction, manifest the appropriate disciplines, and enjoy His embrace as a loving Father. Let Him fight for you as you enjoy His peace thereafter.

Vance Durrance

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Final Warning

Final Warning

Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, write down the name of the day, this very day—the king of Babylon started his siege against Jerusalem this very day. And utter a parable to the rebellious house, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God:

“Put on a pot, set it on,
And also pour water into it.
Gather pieces of meat in it,
Every good piece,
The thigh and the shoulder.
Fill it with choice cuts;
Take the choice of the flock.
Also pile fuel bones under it,
Make it boil well,
And let the cuts simmer in it.”

‘Therefore thus says the Lord God:

“Woe to the bloody city,
To the pot whose scum is in it,
And whose scum is not gone from it!
Bring it out piece by piece,
On which no lot has fallen.
For her blood is in her midst;
She set it on top of a rock;
She did not pour it on the ground,
To cover it with dust.
That it may raise up fury and take vengeance,
I have set her blood on top of a rock,
That it may not be covered.”

‘Therefore thus says the Lord God:

“Woe to the bloody city!
I too will make the pyre great.
Heap on the wood,
Kindle the fire;
Cook the meat well,
Mix in the spices,
And let the cuts be burned up.

“Then set the pot empty on the coals,
That it may become hot and its bronze may burn,
That its filthiness may be melted in it,
That its scum may be consumed.
She has grown weary with lies,
And her great scum has not gone from her.
Let her scum be in the fire!
In your filthiness is lewdness.
Because I have cleansed you, and you were not cleansed,
You will not be cleansed of your filthiness anymore,
Till I have caused My fury to rest upon you.
I, the Lord, have spoken it;
It shall come to pass, and I will do it;
I will not hold back,
Nor will I spare,
Nor will I relent;
According to your ways
And according to your deeds
[e]They will judge you,”
Says the Lord God.’ ” — Ezekiel 24:1-14

Men, Ezekiel has been prophesying, and warning for over 2 years when the Lord says in December 589BC, “son of man, write down the name of this day, this very day- the king of Babylon began his siege against Jerusalem this very day.” Remember, Ezekiel is already in Babylon with the first group of captives from an earlier campaign.

Now the Lord wants Ezekiel to showcase to his fellow captives what is happening in Jerusalem. Ezekiel put a pot over a fire, adds water, and then begins filling it with meat. All the major and choice cuts of meat are added. Bones are added under the pot to the fire. The Lord tells him to “heap on the wood, kindle the fire, mix in spices, and let the cuts be burned up” v10. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are the cuts. Babylon is the fire of God’s fury, and the city is the pot.

When the cuts are burned up, the Lord says to set the empty pot back on the coals, so that it’s bronze would burn and all filthiness would be melted in it. Even the scum left over from cooking would be consumed.

The Lord had brought Babylon upon Jerusalem before in efforts to clean the city, but the current inhabitants of Jerusalem refuse to repent and be cleansed. This time, the Lord would “cleanse” the city completely. The Lord says in v14, “I will not spare, nor will I relent.”

This must have been a hard message to deliver. The exiles had families in Jerusalem. Today, we too may have family and friends who refuse to repent, refuse to accept the free gift of salvation, and refuse to hear a message of coming end and judgment. We aren’t the first to worry over unrepentant loved ones.

Still, we must move forward men, sounding the alarm, speak the warnings, deliver signs to our people as the Lord directs, pray for your loved ones and petition the Lord on their behalf. For over 2 years the warnings have come by Ezekiel, and suddenly, it begins. For over 2k years the warnings have been in place, and suddenly the end will be upon us as well. Make ready.

Vance Durrance

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Call to the Wall

The Wall

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, say to her: ‘You are a land that is not cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation.’ The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken. The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God. — Ezekiel 22:23-31

Men, again the Lord spoke to Ezekiel. The Lord says that Israel is a land that is not cleansed. The false prophets conspire together. Their conspiracies tear apart the people of Israel like a lion. False priests have violated the Lord’s Law, and profane His Holy things. The people don’t distinguish between Holy or unholy, clean or unclean, and they no longer regard the Sabbaths. Israel’s leaders are like wolves tearing prey, destroying people, pursuing dishonest gain. The prophets see false visions and speak divining lies as though the word had come from the Lord when it hadn’t. The people oppress and rob the poor.

Then the Lord said, “So I sought for a man who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”

This is among the saddest passages of scripture. The Lord God surveys the landscape of His creation and there remained no one with enough influence to lead Israel to repentance. There was no one who would intercede on behalf of Israel as Abraham had done for Sodom. There is no one who would wall themselves off from corruption, who would then change the direction of Israel’s people. The people as a whole were in such opposition to God, that there was no means to lead Israel into repentance but to judge them harshly and allow their deeds to fall back upon themselves.

Like Sodom, the Lord pronounces He has “consumed them with the fire of My wrath.” Notice the past tense nature of the Lord’s pronouncement. It is spoken with a certainty equal to though it had already taken place.

The leaders of all nations have become corrupt in our time. We still have influence in pockets of resistance, so the Lord is patient. There are too few who will stand in the gap in our time to trust the task to another.

Move forward men, standing in the gap, and let your neighbors see it. May the Lord strengthen you and join you with others. The Lord may well be counting who among us are His, even now.

Vance Durrance

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