Ezekiel 31 and Psalm 79



In Ezekiel 31, Ezekiel bring the fifth oracle against Egypt and it king, Pharoah Hophra. Egypt is compared to Assyria who is compared to the great cedar tree. In the Old Testament Survey Series: The Major Prophets, a description of this is given,

The oracle begins with a rhetorical question: .“Whom are you like in your greatness?” Only Assyria was comparable to Egypt in pomp and power. Ezekiel compared Assyria to a giant cedar tree with beautiful and shady foliage. This tree was exalted above all the trees of the forest, i.e., every other kingdom. The numerous boughs and long branches provided shelter for bird and beast alike, i.e., .“all great nations lived under its shade” (Ezek. 31:3-6).

No other tree in the .“garden of God,” i.e., the world, could compare to it. In fact all other trees (nations) were jealous of the giant cedar. As part of God’s garden, the kingdoms of this world needed to recognize that they had been planted and nurtured by the Lord. The cedar (Assyria) spread its branches and boasted of its beauty. The cedar forgot the source of its life. By extolling the beauty and majesty of the cedar, Ezekiel condemned the proud spirit of Assyria and of Pharaoh who was like Assyria (Ezek. 31:7-9).1

When God gives us His rich blessings and shares a talent or a resource with us to use for His glory, what is our response — better asked, “What is my response?” The things we are blessed with are not for our glory nor are they any indication of our status or our esteem. Rather they are only a tool with which we are expected to bless others and glorify Christ. John Doe has a great job and a beautiful house because God has provided them not because John Doe is someone special. This is easy to remember when we are on the bottom looking up, but do we remember this when we think we are on the top looking down?


Asaph the psalmist, recognizes in Psalm 79 that Israel is deserving of the chastisement they have received. He intervenes in prayer for Israel and asks God to shorten the judgment and bring it to an end. As I continue to read about the judgment of Israel, both in the prophets and in Psalms, I am even more amazed that Jesus Christ took my judgment upon Himself. I may be chastened by my heavenly Father, but I can stand in full assurance that I will never face the ultimate judgment for my sin (Romans 8). That is an amazing and mind-blowing truth to comprehend.

D. A. Carson gives a brief introduction to Psalm 79:

Here Asaph does not question the justice of God’s burning “jealousy” (Ps. 79:5), but (as in Ps. 74; see meditation for September 23) its duration: “How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever?” (Ps. 79:5).2

1 James E. Smith, The Major Prophets, Old Testament Survey Series (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1992), Eze 31:1-18.

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

Ezekiel 24 and Psalm 72


I confess that this morning’s reading from Ezekiel 24 made me catch my breath. How could the prophet bear the loss of his wife who was the delight of his eyes (Ezekiel 24:16) and follow the command of God to not show any emotion? And beyond that, how could God bring this into his life? Read the following paragraph from Carson:

A tiny hint of how Ezekiel viewed his wife peeps through the expression that God uses:“the delight of your eyes” (Ezekiel 24:16). If Ezekiel was thirty years of age in the fifth year of the exile (Ezekiel 1:1–2), then now in the ninth year (Ezekiel 24:1) he could not have been more than thirty-four or thirty-five, and probably his wife was no older. Ezekiel is not the only leader of God’s people to suffer devastating personal bereavement. Here he is told in advance that the blow will come (to know in advance is both a blessing and an agony), but he is also commissioned not to grieve: his silence on such an occasion, in a society known for its uninhibited expressions of grief, becomes another symbolic prophetic action.1

I cannot understand all of God’s ways, all I can do is trust His hand. This event in Ezekiel’s life is reminiscent of an event in the life of Isaac — an impossible command and an impossible response done in the powerful trust in the powerful God. I wonder what impact this has in the minds and emotions of the exiles.


Psalm 72 is a palm written by Solomon and is a foreshadow of the Millennial reign of Christ. The Bible Knowledge Commentary shares this introduction,

Two psalms (72; 127) are attributed to“Solomon.” If Psalm 72 is his, it may describe his reign. Also it speaks of the millennial reign of the Messiah. The psalm describes the blessings that flow from the righteousness of God’s theocratic ruler. The psalmist fully expected that the king would reign in righteousness and peace on behalf of the oppressed, and that his dominion would extend over many kings, from sea to sea. The psalmist prayed for the blessing of peace and prosperity, basing his appeal on the fact that the king is a savior of the oppressed and is therefore worthy of honor, power, and dominion.2

These are three verses that caught my attention this morning from Psalm 72. Ps. 72:12 and Ps. 72:13, the Lord is the champion of the needy. Her is the Deliverer of the person in a vulnerable place. The third verse is Ps. 72:19. Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!

1 D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word., vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 25.

2 Allen P. Ross, “Psalms,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 846.

Ezekiel 19 and Psalm 64-65

The first chapter from Carson’s devotional for today gives a sufficient explanation of Ezekiel 19,

The lament for Israel’s princes (Ezek. 19) is at one level pretty straightforward. The lioness in the opening verses of the psalm is the nation as a whole, which gave birth to the kings. Then as now, the lion was the king of beasts, and so it readily served as a symbol for the royal Davidic line (e.g., Gen. 49:9; Mic. 5:8). In Ezekiel 19:10-14 the nation is the vineyard.1

The fall of a once mighty nation because of it’s sin is sobering. Carson sums it with,

That is neither the first nor the last time that a nation or an institution was destroyed from within. Readers of history may call to mind the Roman Empire, the Russian years under Communism, certain local churches, Christian universities, confessional seminaries, and on and on. They know that human institutions can never be so safely constructed that outcomes are guaranteed. For the heart of the human dilemma is so deeply rooted in personal sin that no structure can finally reform it.2

“Hide Me From the Wicked” is the title summary of Psalm 64 in my Logos Bible. I believe it is David on the run and pleading for God to step in and deal with David’s enemies who pursue him. I, likewise, plead for God (Ps. 64:1) to intervene and subdue my enemy, Satan, and provide me with a place of refuge (Ps. 64:10) which David speaks about frequently in the Psalms.

Psalm 65 speaks of the abundant blessings of God upon His people. I especially like the words of Ps. 65:7,

who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples,

1 D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word., vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 25.

2 Carson.

Ezekiel 4 and Psalm 40-41

Ezekiel 4 was an interesting read this morning. God commands Ezekiel to do several difficult things to demonstrate to the captives in Babylon that in fact, His judgment on Jerusalem is coming. D. A. Carson explains the setting:

In general terms the exiles in Babylon respond to Ezekiel the same way that the Jews in Jerusalem respond to Jeremiah: they don’t believe him. In fact, the exiles doubtless have added incentive to maintain their false hopes. As long as Jerusalem stands, they can nurture the hope that God will rescue them and bring them back home. If Jerusalem falls, there will be no “home” to which to return. One can imagine how desperately negative and even impossible Ezekiel’s warnings sound to them. But Ezekiel does not flinch. 1

The first task for Ezekiel (Ezekiel 4:4-8) is to lie on his side facing north for 390 days to symbolize the judgment against the northern tribes for 390 years, then for 40 days to symbolize the 40 years of judgment against Judah. After that (Ezekiel 4:9-17), he is commanded to make bread each day from beans, lentils, etc. cooked over cow dung (to symbolize the seige conditions in Jerusalem) and eat a meager amount and drink a small amount of water.

What amazes me is the faithful obedience of this prophet. These are not easy tasks and certainly not pleasant things that God instructs Ezekiel to do. I am sure he is also feeling the pain of exile and separation from home. Yet he is faithful to God and obedient to His commands.

Psalm 40:1 – There are several things to note in verse 1:

  1. The psalmist expresses that he had to be patient
  2. The psalmist acknowledges that his pray was a cry
  3. The Lord hears the prayer/cry and inclined to the psalmist

The result of deliverance by God should always result in a testimory of His deliverance Ps. 40:3. We praise Him because of what He has done for us and because of Who He is which is revealed to us.

Ps. 40:4 – we are often faced with the choice of trusting God or turning to something else when the pressure is turned higher. This verse tells us that the choice which results in blessing is trusting God.

Ps. 40:5 – repeats the result of God’s work in my life – a testimony of praise from my mouth and my life. Again this is repeated in Ps. 40:9.

One question that I am asking myself today is whether Ps. 40:8 is truly my heart, I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart… Does my love for God trump every other desire in my heart today so that in fact, I delight in doing whatever God asks of me? Especially in light of my reading of Ezekiel 4 where God tells the prophet to do some very difficult things (from a human perspective), can I delight in God’s will whether it is easy or hard? The answer lies in the answer to the question of whether God’s law is in my heart.

Ps. 40:11 is another great promise to cling to – God will not restrain His mercy from me and His enduring love and faithfulness will always preserve me! Ps. 40:17 recognizes that I am poor and I am needy but The Lord thinks about me – even with all that He is doing, He thinks of me! He is indeed my help and He is my deliverer!

Psalm 41 is a reminder to me that even though I am needy, I must remember those around me who are also needy. When the Holy Spirit impresses someone else’s needs on my heart, I should and must be responsive.

1 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.

Lamentations 4 and Psalm 35

Lamentations 4 provides some answers to why this great judgment on Israel and more specifically Jerusalem has happened. The chapter also ends with a glimmer of hope.

The first illustration is the comparison of gold that was once bright and valuable but has now been cheapened to “earthen vessels” or simple clay pots (Lamentations 4:1-2).

The second is the dire circumstance of starvation where mothers can no longer provide for their children; where even the jackals do a better job providing for their offspring (Lamentations 4:3-4).

Whereas the city of Sodom experience quick judgment of utter destruction (Lam. 4:6), for Jerusalem, the judgment is long and drawn out.

The reason for the judgment lies with the sins of Israel’s leadership. Everyone was culpable and each person faces judgment for their own sin, however the greatest condemnation is for the ones who should have led the people to truth (Lam. 4:13).

The small glimmer of hope for Israel lies in the promise of Lam. 4:22 that the judgment has been accomplished and there is hope for peace and rest.

God does not wink at sin or ignore the consequences of our actions. The hope for believers, however, lies with the effective sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. Our High Priest will lead us in the path of righteousness and He will cover our sins with His own blood. We can find forgiveness in repentance and prayer with Him (1 Jn.1:9).

Ps. 35 is David’s cry to the Lord for protection from those who were his enemies. He cries out to God to hold back the mockers and the scoffers. Ps. 35:3 acknowledges to God that He alone is the salvation of my soul. Ps. 35:28 repeats the truth that the one who praises the Lord the most is the one who recognizes the Lord’s deliverance.