Ezekiel 21 and Psalm 68

I struggled with Ezekiel 21 today. There was nothing specific that grabbed my attention. However, after reading Matthew Henry’s synopsis of Ezekiel 21, I came to the conclusion that this chapter tells me that facing the judgment of God is very bleak and I should be grateful for the work of the cross to cover my sins and pay the penalty of my judgment.

In this chapter we have, I. An explication of the prophecy in the close of the foregoing chapter concerning the fire in the forest, which the people complained they could not understand (v. 1–5), with directions to the prophet to show himself deeply affected with it (v. 6, 7). II. A further prediction of the sword that was coming upon the land, by which all should be laid waste; and this expressed very emphatically (v. 8–17). III. A prospect given of the king of Babylon’s approach to Jerusalem, to which he was determined by divination (v. 18–24). IV. Sentence passed upon Zedekiah king of Judah (v. 25–27). V. The destruction of the Ammonites by the sword foretold (v. 28–32). Thus is this chapter all threatenings.1 (emphasis mine)

There are a few verses in Psalm 68 that caught my particular attention today. The first one is Ps. 68:3 — there will be a glorious rejoicing when God finally overthrows His enemies. I feel a particular burden lately for the implicit press this culture is pushing toward those who believe and rejoice in the glory of God. Evil feels like it is gaining the upper hand and though believers in our nation do not experience the oppression of those in other nations and that of believers in history, it feels like it is marching toward us. Maybe I am particularly melancholy this morning or maybe circumstance shadow the hope of the future. Nevertheless, I long for the time when there is no time and my King is highly exalted by all. Then truly, “…the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God;”

The other two verses that I highlighted are Ps. 68:5-6. There are real people who are facing oppression of circumstances today. I think of a dear one who recently lost her husband and is facing financial strain. I think of children who have lost parents and face the fear of insecurity and uncertainty. I think of people who are lonely and live life by themselves absent the regular love and affection of family and friends. These verses from Ps. 68:5-6 are a reminder that God is present in each of those circumstances — we are never really alone nor forsaken!

1 Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 1380.