Editor’s Note: Thanks to David Hundert who is our guest blogger this week, continuing our series through Ezekiel.
Do you find it difficult to trust in God? If so, you’re not alone. People of all shapes and sizes can find it difficult to trust in God. Leaders struggle with this just as much as non-leaders. In fact, leaders can not only struggle to trust God, they can go so far as to turn their backs on God. When leaders struggle with trust and turning away from God, they can influence many others. In Ezekiel’s hometown of Jerusalem, this very thing was happening.
In the first post in this series, we heard some famous historical quotes by leaders about history and government. National leadership is a role that can have significant influence on the people in a nation. As we turn to Ezekiel 11, while still in his vision, which started in chapter 8, God talks to Ezekiel about the leaders in Jerusalem. Start by reading Ezekiel 11:1
The Lord’s judgement is turned against the leaders of the city because they turned their backs on God. In verse 13, Ezekiel states, that as he was prophesying, one of those leaders, Pelatiah son of Benaiah, died. Keep in mind that this takes place in the middle of a vision. I found that to be a really interesting statement to add in there, so I did a little more digging. If in fact this happened in real time, while Ezekiel was in the middle of his vision, Wow! What a testimony to have your authority from God and accuracy punctuated by having one of the leaders that you are prophesying against drop dead right then and there! It reminded me a little of the story in Acts chapter 5 of Ananias and Sapphira who died when confronted by the apostles for their sin. Interestingly enough, two different commentaries that I looked into, both state that they really aren’t sure if it was real or just a part of the vision. I think that we can agree though, that the leaders have not only sinned against the Lord, but they failed in their leadership by lying to their people as well. You saw this already in chapter 8, verses 11-13 which states,
“In front of them stood seventy elders of Israel, and Jaazaniah son of Shaphan was standing among them. Each had a censer in his hand, and a fragrant cloud of incense was rising. He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.’” Again, he said, “You will see them doing things that are even more detestable.”
Consider how similar this is to another event in the history of the nation of Israel. In the book of Exodus, we read about how the Lord, honoring his covenant with Abraham, and looking upon the suffering of Abraham’s descendants at the hands of taskmasters, were delivered from bondage. After the Israelites walked through the Red Sea on dry land, Moses led them to the foot of Mount Sinai, so that he can go up and receive the Law. Starting in Exodus chapter 32 verse 1 it states,
“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him’.”
Because Moses delayed in coming down with the law, and they didn’t know what happened to him, they talked Aaron into making a golden calf for them. Things didn’t happen in what they considered to be a reasonable time-frame, so they turned to a foreign idol.
Can you see yourself doing that? I know that I’ve done it. I don’t mean that I have an alter to a foreign god in my house, but I know that in my life, when I don’t think that the Lord is answering my prayers in a timely fashion, I tend to try to take matters in my own hands! Anytime we sit on the throne of our own lives, the wrong god is on that throne. Have you ever done that? Well, let me encourage you… In my experience, if you can just be patient and trust in the Lord’s timing, He will usually far exceed any expectations that you may have. Take a look at how the picture below illustrates this:
Jesus is asking us to trust him that he has something far better in store for us than we can imagine. Leaders need to trust God too!
Sadly, the leaders in Jerusalem chose not to trust God, and it spelled their doom. But is there hope? When the leaders turn away from God, does that mean the end for the nation? Check back to the next post to find out!