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 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).

Ezekiel 28 and Psalm 77


Ezekiel 28 is an interesting chapter. It is both judgment against Tyre and also a lament for the great fall that she experienced. God recounts the great blessings that he gave to Tyre, riches, in fact he even likens them to being present in the garden of Eden and enjoying rich blessings. Yet Tyre became proud and because of her pride she forgot about God and considered herself a god. D.A. Carson summarizes this chapter,

The iniquitous dimensions of the arrogance are highlighted by the many allusions back to Genesis 2-3 (clearer in Hebrew than in English translation). They thought of themselves as being in Eden, the garden of God (28:13), as being God’s guardian cherub (28:14), but they will be expelled (28:16). In other words, their sin is of a piece with that of Adam and Eve. They, too, wanted to be like God, independent, knowing good and evil themselves without anyone (not even their Maker!) to tell them. In both cases the result is the same: ruinous disaster, death, catastrophic judgment. There is but one God, and he rightly brooks no rivals.1

Later in Ezekiel 28:20-24, the prophecy continues but this time it is judgment against Sidon, a Phoenician city on the Mediterranean coast northwest of Israel. The chapter closes with the promise of protection for the remnant of Israel (Ezkeiel 28:25-26).

This short interlude in the midst of the oracles against the nations serves to remind Israel that they can ultimately look forward to a time of redemption and restoration brought about by Yahweh’s defeat of all their enemies.2


The commentary, Opening Up Psalms does a fantastic job of explaining Psalm 77,

Why would a good past cause Asaph to be so exercised? And the answer is that it made him sharply conscious of how his present circumstances did not measure up. He could look at the past and see marvellous instances of God at work in his life and in the lives of those around him. But the present seemed to be utterly devoid of such instances. It was of such a nature that it appeared as if God had cast him off for ever (Ps. 77:7), had decided to be favourable no more (Ps. 77:7), had caused his mercy to cease for ever (Ps. 77:8), had failed to keep what he had promised (Ps. 77:8), had forgotten to be gracious (Ps. 77:9) and had, in anger, locked up all his tender mercies and thrown away the key (Ps. 77:9).

The good news is that Asaph did not continue in his distress. In Ps. 77:10 he turns the corner and begins to come out of his misery and woe. As he reflected on the past, he began to realize that he had been looking at it in the wrong way. Instead of letting past glory depress him, he should have been letting it bless him. The fact that God had worked mightily in the past meant there was hope for the future. The God of the past had not changed! He is the same God. No matter how great the darkness of present circumstances, it is not greater than God.3

Those are very thoughtful words to remember when present circumstances seem overwhelming and God seems distant.

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 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012), Eze 28:25–26.

3 Roger Ellsworth, Opening up Psalms, Opening Up Commentary (Leominster: Day One Publications, 2006), 67.

Ezekiel 27 and Psalm 75-76


Today’s reading is from Ezekiel 27. It is Ezekiel’s second pronouncement against the city of Tyre. I gather from my reading that this city must have been a place of great pride and arrogance. The Faithlife Study Bible says,

Ezekiel’s second lamentation for Tyre depicts the city as one of its grand merchant vessels, heavily laden with products for trade and shipwrecked on the high seas. The identification of the prophecy as a lamentation (or qinah) signifies a funeral dirge. The prophets adapted the genre to express the loss of city and nation as well as people.… While the details may be partly obscured by the difficult language, the overall message is clear: Tyre’s worldwide influence and reputation is meaningless when divine judgment comes.1


Today’s reading is from Psalm 75-76. In Psalm 75:1, the pianist reminds me that I need to frequently reflect on God’s wondrous deeds. He is the one who holds up the pillars — the support structure — when life seems to be crumbling beneath me (Ps. 75:3). Final and true judgment comes only from God, not from men (Ps. 75:7 also Ps. 75:9).

The fear of the Lord is the themes of Psalm 76. It is stated in Ps. 76:7,

But you, you are to be feared!…

There is a strong reminder in Ps. 76:11, to keep the promises we make to God. Often when I am pressed, I will covenant with God that something will change in my life when He brings deliverance. The big question that I must ask myself is whether I keep those promises. They are a big deal to God and they should be a big deal to me.

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012), Eze 27:1–36.