Heading to Colorado this week to be a part of Hannah Vaughan's wedding. We will be back in the pulpit on Sunday and preaching from Ezekiel chapter 22.
Ezekiel, like Jeremiah is not an easy book to read with its visions and prophecies. Do not let the images of the visions dissuade you from the message that Ezekiel brings to Judah, the exiles and to us.
Jeremiah and Ezekiel and giving parallel messages. Jeremiah in Judah and Ezekiel in exile. Both tell of the coming Day of the Lord when the Angel of Death will visit Judah and Jerusalem.
The government of Judah was corrupt. The priesthood was corrupt. Those with power were corrupt. Usury was being practiced. The poor were being violated. Sexual immorality was rampant. Widows and orphans were being abused. the alien was being treated as an outcast. The voice of God was being ignored. The laws of God were being forgotten. Idolatry was everywhere. When God could find none who would honor his way then came the word of the Lord to Ezekiel.
One of God's complaints was that the Sabbath had been part of the covenant between Israel and God. The Sabbath was a sign between them. When Sabbath breaking became the rule of the land it was a further insult to the integrity of God. Do you think Sabbath breaking is a problem in America?
One of the questions that Ezekiel asks of the generation now exiled is "will you be what your father's have been?" this is crucial to what will happen in 70 years. Jeremiah has prophesied the return of a remnant. Will they have learned the lessons that the exile was intended to teach or will the continue in the vile and sinful ways of their fathers?
God reveals that humanity (Judah) is the impurity in the creation and like a jeweler who is purifying the metal (silver or gold) to be used in his new creation, fire will come to separate the dross (impurities) for the more valuable metal. Repentance and obedience to God are required if we are to avoid the fate of Israel. Are we covenant keepers? Are we Sabbath keepers? Do we honor God's law? Do we love God and our neighbor?
Many of the questions that Ezekiel poses are still questions that must be answered by modern society.