Editor’s Note: This week we welcome David Hundert as guest blogger! Thanks David!
Can you finish the following sentences?
Let’s start with one that might be familiar: “Those who fail to learn from history,___________________________”
Did you get it right? “Those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” Do you know who said this? That is attributed to British statesman, Winston Churchill.
This next one is a bit more challenging: “The more corrupt the state, __________________________”
“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” Do you know who said this one? It was stated by the Roman Historian, Tacitus who lived between 55-120 AD.
This last one is the most difficult, so I’m not going to have you complete it. I’ll give you the whole thing. I’d just like to see if you can guess who said it and when.
“The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, and the public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest we become bankrupt.”
No, it was not stated by a contemporary American politician! This was originally accredited to Cicero, another Roman, in 63 BCE!
As we continue studying the life and ministry of the prophet Ezekiel, I’d like you to keep those in mind while we review the previous chapters of the book of Ezekiel
Ezekiel was a prophet called by the Lord, calling the people of Israel to task for their sin. The Lord was allowing Babylon to force them into exile, which is just a fancy way to say that he used the Babylonians to kick them out of their land. Most of the people were still living in Judah. For the most part, there were about 10,000 Jews from Jerusalem that were exiled at this point. The Lord used Ezekiel to pronounce judgement on them through a series of visions and some really unique “street ministry” to let them know where they have gone wrong.
By the way, there is a previous example for this in scripture! Look at when Israel left Egypt. They were declared to be God’s chosen and were given the law. God performed many signs and miracles, providing for them day in and day out, and all he asked was that they serve Him and Him alone; yet they still rebelled! Could you imagine? So, while they were technically within about 11 days walk of the promised land, their whining, moaning, and groaning, caused Moses’ GPS to get stuck on “recalculating” for 40 years! Essentially, they were kept out of the land they were promised, which is to say they were exiled for 40 years.
So fast forward a bit, and the Lord takes the son of a priest from Judah, living in Babylon after the exile, and has him prophesy to this “rebellious people”. He states in chapter 2 verse 3, “He said: ‘Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day’.”
By the time we reach chapter 11, Ezekiel has pretty much prophesied against everyone… Now, keep in mind that Ezekiel is speaking to the remnant in Judah. He’s talking to God’s chosen. In that regard, not many have been left out at this point. Spoiler alert! He goes after foreign powers at a later point!
Check back in to the next post as we learn what happens in chapter 11, the conclusion to the vision that began in chapter 8.