Ezekiel 23 and Psalm 70-71


Ezekiel 23 is a chapter that is written with very strong language. The metaphor of two sisters who are prostituting themselves (The ESV uses a coarser term) is harsh to read. One sister represents the northern tribes of Israel who sold themselves out to idolatry and other wickedness and were subdues and taken captive into Assyria (more could be read about how cruel and wicked the Assyrians were). And the younger sister representing the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin — the southern kingdom. The blindness and folly of ever–increasing capitulation to sin is obvious when coupled with this metaphor. It’s not simply a story about a sinful woman, it is a truth about the sinful heart of all men and all women.

The synopsis of the story is found in Ezekiel 23:8-10. A sad fact is that the southern kingdom fell even deeper into sin as evidenced by the elevation of the description of sin committed by the second sister. God’s pronouncement of judgment against her is found in Ezekiel 23:32-35,

Thus says the Lord GOD:

		“You shall drink your sister’s cup 
			that is deep and large; 
		you shall be laughed at and held in derision, 
			for it contains much; 
		you will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow. 
			A cup of horror and desolation, 
		the cup of your sister Samaria; 
			you shall drink it and drain it out, 
		and gnaw its shards, 
			and tear your breasts; 

for I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have forgotten me and cast me behind your back, you yourself must bear the consequences of your lewdness and whoring.”

Math is such a simple yet profound reflection of God. Math is truth and God is truth. In the context of this chapter of Ezekiel 23, the math equation is simple:

sin = judgment.


During my first reading of Psalm 70 and Psalm 71, I highlighted all of the verses that speak about God’s deliverance

  • Ps. 70:1
  • Ps. 70:5
  • Ps. 71:1
  • Ps. 71:2
  • Ps. 71:3
  • Ps. 71:5

However, after reading the scheduled devotional from D. A. Carson’s “For the Love of God Volume Two”, the emphasis seems to be more on God’s protection of saints who are older.

Old age. It is not something our generation likes to talk about very much, at least not in realistic categories. We talk about preparing for retirement, but only with the greatest reluctance do we prepare for infirmity and death. Very few talk about these matters openly and frankly–without, on the one hand, dwelling on them (which shows they are frightened by them), or, on the other hand, suppressing them (which again shows they are frightened by them).

It is much more responsible to learn how to age faithfully, to learn how to die well. This the psalmist wanted. “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. … Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come” (Ps. 71:9, Ps. 71:18). From his youth, he knew, God had taught him (Ps. 71:17). Now he prays against abandonment in old age.1

As I grow older, I pray that God will strengthen my faith and my dependance on Him. I pray that I will not fear getting older nor fear the final journey of death which is really a gate to eternal life.

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.

Ezekiel 8 and Psalm 46-47

Ezekiel 8 begins a vision that extends through chapter 11. He see four instances of idolatry:

  1. Ezek. 8:3-6 he sees the idol that provokes God to jealousy. The king is complicit and rather than lead the people in faithfulness, he leads them in compromise.
  2. Ezek. 8:7-13 he sees the seventy elders unclean creatures.
  3. Ezek. 8:14-15 he sees women engaged with a fertility cult.
  4. Ezek. 8:16 he sees the priests with their backs to the temple worshiping the sun.

D. A. Carson responds to these events:

Modern forms of idolatry are different, of course. Most of us have not been caught mourning for Tammuz. But do our hearts pursue things that rightly make God jealous? Do we love dirty and forbidden things? Do we ascribe success to everything but God? We may not succumb to fertility cults, but doesn’t our culture make sex itself a god? 1

Psalm 46 opens with,

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear …

It is reason enough that God is a place of safety and security. When we run to Him, we do not need to fear. Allen P. Ross writes,

The psalmist declared that God is the Refuge (mahseh, “shelter from danger”; cf. comments on 14:6) and Strength (cf. comments on 18:1) of believers. In other words they find safety and courage by trusting in Him, who is always present to help them (see comments on 30:10) in their troubles. So the saints need not fear, even if many perils come against them. The language is hyperbolic, to describe how great the perils may be that could come. No matter what happens, those trusting in Him are safe. 2

Ps. 46:7 again speaks of God as a “fortress”. It is repeated in Ps. 46:11. When the world experiences the wrath of God, believers are safe inside the might fortress of God. This is the same place of protection that Martin Luther penned about in his hymn, A Might Fortress is Our God,

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal. 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), 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), 828.

3 Martin Luther, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” (No. 75) in The Brethren Hymnal (Elgin, IL: House of the Church of the Brethren, 1951).