Ezekiel 35 and Psalm 85

Ezekiel

Ezekiel 35 is another chapter of condemnation of one of Israel’s neighbors. It seems out of place with the others that ended with chapter 32. Mount Seir is actually an indirect reference to Edom. Carson gives his explanation,

More importantly, of all the neighboring nations Edom was in one respect a special case. The nation of Edom was descended from Esau, and the old rivalry between Jacob and Esau was passed down into the rivalry between Israel and Edom, two nations of relatives divided by a common animus. Edom is not specifically mentioned in this chapter, of course; the reference instead is to Mount Seir (Ezekiel 35:2)—i.e., the mountain region east of the Arabah, the valley running south from the Dead Sea. There they harbored their “ancient hostility” (Ezekiel 35:5)1

It is difficult to comprehend why emnity among brothers seems so much stronger and enduring than among strangers. I think it is sad that the animosity between Jacob and Esau flowed down to the many generations of their offspring.


Psalms

Psalm 85 feels like the morning after the dark night or the sunshine after the hard rain. The psalmist recounts God’s restoration after the severe judgment that Israel faced. He uses words like “restore” and “revive” to describe what is going on in the life of the nation of Israel. There are a couple of places where I again highlighted the phrase, “steadfast love”

  • Psalm 85:7
  • Psalm 85:10

This morning, I am rejoicing in the goodness and faithfulness of God. He has given restoration and shown His steadfast love. He is trustworthy and kind. He is always good. I cannot always see His hand but I know that it is always with me. Thank you, God, for loving and caring for me.

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).

Ezekiel 16 and Psalm 58-59

It seems to be God’s mysterious way that the morningss when I seemly have the least amount of time, he directs me to readings that are the longest. Ezekiel 16 is a longer chapter of 63 verses. While Ezekiel 15 compared the people of Jerusalem to the dead vine that was profitable for nothing but the fire, Ezekiel 16 compares them to the woman who has fallen to adultery and prostitution. Carson give a thoughtful description,

The language is shocking, horrible—and it is meant to be. The long analogy begins as a rather extreme version of My Fair Lady: absolutely everything this woman enjoys, not least life itself, is the direct result of God’s gracious intervention. But quite unlike My Fair Lady, in which the man proves to be an unthinking and self-centered manipulator until the “lady” he has created out of a street urchin rebukes him, here God is the One who proves indomitably faithful. Moreover, he is hurt by the ingratitude and betrayal implicit in this lady’s constant pursuit of other lovers—i.e., other gods. She proves to be not only “weak-willed” but “brazen” (Ezekiel 16:30). Worse, while prostitutes receive a fee for their services, this woman pays others so that she can sleep with them. Israel has not so much been seduced by idolatry or somehow been paid to engage in idolatry, as she has taken the active role and has paid quite a bit so that she can indulge in idolatry, precisely because that is what she wants to do.1

One of the ideas that I thought about this morning while reading Ezekiel 16 was the critical importance of convenant keeping both for myself and for the character of God. There are several verses in this chapter that are important to re-read:

  • Ezekiel 16:43
  • Ezekiel 16:60
  • Ezekiel 16:61
  • Ezekiel 16:63

While reading each of the above verses, reflect on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. One of the key words in each of these passages is remember. When the temptation to sin presents itself, do I pause to remember? Do the promises of God come to mind? Do I recall the “red letter” words of Jesus?

Years back, the organization Promise Keepers was started. There was much emphasis placed on being a man who kept his promises to his wife, his children, his employer, etc. These are critical steps of being a good man, but the most important promise or covenant that a man or woman must keep is the convenant with God! Promise Keepers likely addressed that point also, I don’t recall, but regardless, it is one of if not the most important actions that I must purpose to take.

In Psalm 58, David cries out to God to curse and punish his enemies. We have a strong desire for justice. When wicked men attack us or the people and ideas we care about, we long for God to step in anc deal with the “bad guys”! But what about when I am the bad guy? Do I still desire God’s justice when I am the offending one? It seems like we are pleased with God’s justice when it concerns others and God’s mercy when it concerns us. I am thankful for the mercy of God, but I hope it compels me to judge my own sin and bring it before the cross.

Psalm 59 continues the plea of the psalmist for God to rise up against his enemies. It adds an additional aspect of his cry for protection from God. My favorite verses from this psalm are found near the end. Psalm 59:16 describes God as a fortress and a refuge. David praise God for His “steadfast love”, a phrase describing God that I have observed in many of the psalms that I have read recently.

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.