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6th July

Ezekiel 13-15; Psalm 32

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
6th July

Ezekiel 13-15; Psalm 32

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in Ezekiel we’ve read through Ezekiel’s commissioning, his prophetic acts, and started the accusations against Judah. The book started five years after the first group of Israelites had been exiled to Babylon. Jerusalem was still standing, and many Israelites still lived there. Ezekiel received a vision of God, sat upon his throne over Babylon. The throne was carried by four creatures that had, amongst other features, wheels for feet. The symbolism here was that God is not restricted to just being the God of Israel. He can move, because he has authority over all the earth.

God charged Ezekiel with speaking to the Israelites still in Jerusalem to repent and change their ways before it was too late. But God also warned Ezekiel that the people would likely not listen to him. After taking a week to process all he had seen and heard, Ezekiel started acting out prophetic declarations.

He made a miniature model of Jerusalem and acted out sieges against it. He laid on his left side for 390 days and then on his right for forty, representing the years God would punish both Israel and then Judah for. He was to eat unclean food to represent the unclean food the people would eat in exile. Ezekiel shaved his head and beard, and the divided the hair into three groups which represented the three different ways God would punish his people.

After more time passed, God gave Ezekiel a vision of what the people were doing to his temple back in Jerusalem. From the outer gates to right inside the inner temple, the people were worshipping false gods and idols. They had desecrated the space that had been reserved for God.

So God declares destruction over the people gathering seven executioners together. He told one to mark those who were loyal to God, and then the other six to kill everyone who wasn't marked. Ezekiel had a vision of the presence of God leaving the temple and entering his throne chariot carried by the four living beings.

God declared judgement on all the leaders that had told the people everything was fine and not to worry. We then got two more prophetic acts from Ezekiel. He was to pack as those he was about to go into exile, and then dig a hole in the wall. In the same way the Babylonians will break through Jerusalem's walls and lead its people in to exile.

Ezekiel 13-15

God comes to Ezekiel with a prophetic word aimed specifically at the false prophets. These prophets have been prophesying out of their own spirit and not out of the spirit of God. So God proclaims destruction over these false prophets. They have misled the people by telling them that there will be peace when there won't be. It is like they've come and painted over a wall full of cracks and pretended like it's all fine. Except a storm is coming and that wall will crumble and crush them.

Then God focuses on the female prophets who have clearly been practising some kind of witchcraft. We don't know what these exact practices were, only that they involving producing wrist bands and veils that are meant to have magic properties.

They may have been perfectly normal wristbands and veils that don't actually do anything, or they may have been something more sinister. Either way, the point is this, these female prophets are using these practices to deceive people. To make good things appear evil, and evil things appear good, and it is costing people their lives. God is coming, and he will put an end to it.

Some elders, leaders of the people, came to sit with Ezekiel. They wanted to hear from him what God had been saying. But God revealed to Ezekiel that while outwardly it looked like they were interested in what he had to say, inwardly their hearts were more interested in their wicked practices and their idols.

So God tells Ezekiel to let them know they need to repent, otherwise he will punish them for their idolatry. Just as God will punish the false prophets, he will also punish those who ignore him and chase after the false prophets.

God turns to all the people in Jerusalem and declares that they have been faithless, so he will give them up to wild animals and famine. He lists three names; Noah, Daniel, and Job. Each of these men were righteous men who were faithful in foreign lands.

God says that even if these men were in the city of Jerusalem, it wouldn't redeem the city. That's how far gone it is. God would just save them as individuals and then continue to destroy the city. And so God develops the three-fold destruction that we've seen before. He declares that he will send sword, famine, pestilence over the city, but this time he includes wild beast as well. This addition shows how complete the destruction of the city will be. The wild animals that these people would be familiar with only lived in desolate places where there were no people.

In a separate vision, God comes to Ezekiel and likens Jerusalem to a vine, likely a grape vine. This imagery is common amongst the prophets, but here Ezekiel does something unique with it. God points out that the branches that are cut off from a vine are nothing compared to wood from trees. You can't make solid furniture from vine branches. The only thing those branches are useful for is as firewood.

In the same way, at this point, the only thing Jerusalem is good for is fire. He will cut Jerusalem off like dead branches and hand them over to destruction to be burnt. All because they have been faithless.

Psalm 32

This psalm is attributed to king David and falls into the category of thanksgiving, though it could also be considered a wisdom psalm.

The main focus of the psalm is the psalmist thanking God for how good it is when we confess our sins. However, it could be argued that, more than that, it is meant to be a psalm of wisdom to us, telling us to confess our sins.

Psalm 32:1-2 - Blessed are those whose sin is removed

Psalm 32:3-5 - A personal testimony or repentance

Psalm 32:6-7 - Those who don’t hide their sin can hide in the Lord

Psalm 32:8-9 - Yahweh will teach his people

Psalm 32:10-11 - The upright are glad and rejoice in the Lord

The psalm starts with the declaration that blessed are those who sins are forgiven, and no longer counted by God. The psalmist shares their experience with not confessing their sin. It was like their very bones were wasting away. They could almost feel the weight of God pressing down on them.

So the psalmist confessed their sin. They no longer tried to ‘cover’ it. Because of this, God forgave them of their sin. When we compare Psalm 32:1 and Psalm 32:5, we can see that when we make the choice not to cover or hide our sin, God covers it for us.

Reflecting on this, the psalmist then encourages everyone who is holy to confess their sin. The ‘great waters’, which we know embodies all that is chaotic, will not overcome those who confess to the Lord.

For those that don’t hide their sin, God will be a hiding place for them. He will preserve and keep them.

The psalm then changes perspective, as though God has entered the conversation. God leans in and tells the psalmist, or the reader, that he will instruct and teach them.

This teaching won’t be a simple ‘do this, don’t do that’ like someone who leads a stubborn mule or horse. It will be a wisdom that allows you to understand what you do and how to make good decisions.

Returning to the psalmist, the psalm now ends in praise. The sins of the wicked will bring sorrow on their head, but the Lord is faithful and loving to those who trust in him and confess their sins to him. He will be a source of joy to him.

From this psalm, we learn the importance of repentance. While it might be tempting to try to hide our sin from God, we can trust him with our mistakes and he will lead us into righteousness and joy.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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