Ezekiel 6 and Psalm 44

In Ezekiel 6, God tells Ezekiel to set his face toward the mountains. The significance of the mountains is likely the high places of idol worship in Israel. The following is a description from The Bible Knowledge Commentary:

High places were in Canaan before Israel arrived, and God commanded Israel to destroy them (Num. 33:52). …After the temple in Jerusalem was completed, worshiping at high places was once again discouraged. Most high places remaining in the land were dedicated to false gods (1 Kings 11:7–10). 1

Ezekiel’s actions and condemnation would surely ring clear in the minds of the exiles as they remembered the rampant idolatry that occurred in the land prior to its destruction and judgment.
In Ezekiel 6:13-14, the pronouncement of Ezekiel 6:17 is repeated. The Bible Knowledge Commentary describes these verses:

The imagery in verses 1–7 was repeated here as God promised He would slay the people … among … their altars, on every high hill and … under every spreading tree and every leafy oak. Often on the high places where altars were built were luxuriant trees, which represented growth and possibly fertility (cf. Hosea 4:13). The “oak” (’ēlâh) was the terebinth tree. It is a deciduous tree common to Palestine and grows to a height of 35–40 feet. The Elah Valley, where David slew Goliath, probably received its name because of the abundance of these trees (1 Sam. 17:2, 19).

God had given Israel a land luxurious with “spreading” trees and “leafy” oaks, but the people corrupted His gift, using these displays of His bounty as places to offer fragrant incense to all their idols. Therefore God would reduce their rich land to rubble—a desolate waste from the desert to Diblah. (Dyer, 2)

These current times are full of idolatry. From greed to covetousness to the prosperity gospel, my generation is seeking for a god in all of the wrong places while vehemently denying the true God.

Psalm 44 is definitely a change from many of the previous Psalms which have been filled with hope or testimonies of God’s faithfulness. Ps. 44 instead appears to be a question of why God appears to ignore those who are trying to follow Him. I found some helpful insight from D. A. Carson’s For the Lord of God Volume Two:

At least two hints toward the end of the psalm, though they do not provide “solutions,” invite the reader to reflect on the direction taken by later biblical writers. (1) Sometimes God’s apparent sleep, his withdrawal (44:23ff.), is not overt wrath poured out on our sin, but his own timing. He refuses to be hurried, and his “unfailing love” (44:26) will triumph in the end. The ebbs and flows of Christian history support the same stance: they do not always correspond with differing degrees of loyalty or different methods. As one commentator (F. D. Kidner) has finely put it, “Although its picture of the sleeping Lord may seem naive to us, it was acted out in the New Testament, to teach a lesson which we still find relevant: cf. verse 23 with Mark 4:38.” (2) More stunningly, the psalmist says it is “for your sake [that] we face death all day long” (44:22, italics added). That point is not fully developed until Paul quotes the verse (Rom. 8:36ff.). But already it embraces the notion that some suffering is not the result of our sin but simply the result of being faithful to God in a world at war with him. In such cases suffering is not a sign of defeat but a badge of fidelity and fellowship, even of victory: we are “more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37). 3

1 Dyer, Charles H. “Ezekiel.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 1238. Print.

3 Carson, D. A. For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998. Print.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.