Ezekiel 33 and Psalms 81-82


Today’s reading from Ezekiel 33 has some familiar verses in it. It is the story or metaphor of the watchman. It harkens back to chapter 3 of Ezekiel. I have heard many sermons using this text as a motivation for evangelism. Whether that application is strictly correct or not, it does serve as a reminder of how critically important it is for me to share the gospel message. I am a “watchman” against the rising wickedness of my culture and my message of warning is the message of the gospel. D. A. Carson introduces this changing section of Ezekiel,

Although the warnings and calls for repentance continue, one now hears a rising note of comfort. As long as the exiles found it difficult to believe that Jerusalem could fall, Ezekiel was full of warning. Once the fall has taken place, God in his mercy gives Ezekiel words that will comfort the exilic community, nurture their faith, and steel their minds and wills.

Before that turning point arrives, the first half of the chapter returns to a theme first introduced in Ezek. 3:16-21: Ezekiel the watchman.1


The Old Testament Survey Series: The Wisdom Literature and Psalms outlines Psalm 81:

Ps. 81 is another Asaph psalm. Since it tells of the early history of Israel, Ps. 81 is classified as an historical psalm. The psalm has three main divisions: (1) a call for celebration (Ps.81:1-5); (2) a stimulus for recollection (Ps. 81:6-10); and (3) an expression of lamentation (Ps. 81:11-16).2

Ps. 81 reads like a history lesson recalling the goodness of God and the failure of His people to obey. I can only conclude that Israel, like us today, can not do good and please God from their own strength. If the Holy Spirit does not move us to do right and please God, we are helpless with our sin nature to do it on our own volition.

The same commentary does a good job outlining Psalm 82 as well,

The psalm develops three thoughts: (1) the indictment of the judges (Ps. 82:1-4); (2) the pronouncement against the judges (Ps. 82:5-7); and (3) the exaltation of the supreme judge (Ps. 82:8).3

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).

2 James E. Smith, The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, Old Testament Survey Series (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 1996), Ps 81.

3 Smith.

Ezekiel 30 and Psalm 78:40-72


Ezekiel 30 is a lament for the fall of Egypt. The once great nation will need subdued under the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. Though Egypt still exists today as a country, it has never regained its prominence since the invasion by Babylon.

The Bible Reader’s Commentary provides some insight about the pharoah at that time,

Broken arms (30:20-26). The message is directed against Pharaoh Hophra, who in 588 b.c. had halfheartedly tried to draw Babylonian forces away from the siege of Jerusalem (cf. Jer. 34:1; 37:5). Egyptian monuments show a flexed arm was a symbol of Pharaoh’s strength, and one of Hophra’s formal titles was “strong-armed.” With both arms broken, Pharaoh would be totally unable to resist.1


I really enjoyed the insight that D.A. Carson gives for this morning’s reading on the second half of Psalm 72,

But you and I are today reading these lines while at the same time reading Ezekiel, and we know that David’s line provided little enduring stability. Within two generations the Davidic dynasty lost the northern ten tribes, and its history from that point to the exile turned out to be as fickle and as repulsively wicked as anything described in this psalm, which scans the period from the Exodus to the beginning of the Davidic dynasty. In other words, this psalm looks back on the debris of failure and the well-deserved wrath of God, but sees the appointment of David and the choice of Zion as spectacular marks of God’s grace and goodness, an encouraging basis for stable faithfulness in the years ahead. But when we look back from the perspective of Ezekiel or Jeremiah, we find a still longer string of failures and still more well-deserved wrath. So is Psalm 78 simply naive?

At each stage of the Bible’s plot-line, in the midst of wrath God intervenes in mercy. The human race was sliding into a miasma of sin, so God chose Abraham. In the debauchery of the twelve sons, God chose Joseph. In the abyss of Israelite slavery, God chose Moses. In desperate cycles of rebellion, God raised up the judges. Each step marked glorious hope. And now God raises up David. But living as we do three millennia later than David, we look back and breathe our profound thanks for how God disclosed himself “in these last days” (Heb. 1:1-4)—in the finality of his Son.2

The truth is that every human solution prior to the coming of Jesus was only a temporary solution at best, fraught with mistakes and sin. Jesus was the second Adam who would perfectly fulfill the law and who would reign as the true and righteous king.

1 Lawrence O. Richards, The Bible Reader’s Companion, electronic ed. (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991), 502.

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).