August 29, Ezekiel 13-15

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13 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who(A) are prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination,(B)‘Hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord God says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing. Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins. You did not go up to the gaps(C) or restore the wall around the house of Israel so that it might stand in battle on the day of the Lord. They saw false visions and their divinations were a lie.(D) They claimed, “This is the Lord’s declaration,” when the Lord did not send them,(E) yet they wait for the fulfillment of their message. Didn’t you see a false vision and speak a lying divination when you proclaimed, “This is the Lord’s declaration,” even though I had not spoken?

“‘Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: You have spoken falsely and had lying visions; that’s why you discover that I am against you. This is the declaration of the Lord God. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and speak lying divinations.(F)They will not be present in the council of my people or be recorded in the register of the house of Israel, and they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord God.

10 “‘Since they have led my people astray by saying, “Peace,”(G) when there is no peace, and since when a flimsy wall is being built, they plaster it with whitewash,(H) 11 therefore, tell those plastering it with whitewash that it will fall. Torrential rain will come,(I) and I will send hailstones plunging[a] down, and a whirlwind will be released. 12 When the wall has fallen, will you not be asked, “Where’s the whitewash you plastered on it?”

13 “‘So this is what the Lord God says: I will release a whirlwind in my wrath. Torrential rain will come in my anger, and hailstones will fall in destructive fury. 14 I will demolish the wall you plastered with whitewash and knock it to the ground so that its foundation is exposed.(J) The city will fall, and you will be destroyed within it. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 15 After I exhaust my wrath against the wall and against those who plaster it with whitewash, I will say to you, “The wall is no more and neither are those who plastered it— 16 those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw a vision of peace for her when there was no peace.”(K) This is the declaration of the Lord God.’

17 “Now you, son of man, face[b] the women among your people who prophesy(L) out of their own imagination, and prophesy against them.(M) 18 Say, ‘This is what the Lord Godsays: Woe to the women who sew magic bands on the wrist of every hand and who make veils for the heads of people of every size in order to ensnare lives. Will you ensnare the lives of my people but preserve your own?(N) 19 You profane me among my people for handfuls of barley(O) and scraps of bread; you put those to death who should not die and spare those who should not live, when you lie to my people, who listen to lies.

20 “‘Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: I am against your magic bands with which you ensnare people like birds, and I will tear them from your arms. I will free the people you have ensnared like birds. 21 I will also tear off your veils and rescue my people from your hands,(P) so that they will no longer be prey in your hands. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 22 Because you have disheartened the righteous person with lies (when I intended no distress),(Q) and because you have supported[c] the wicked(R) person so that he does not turn from his evil way to save his life, 23 therefore you will no longer see false visions or practice divination.(S) I will rescue my people from your hands. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

14 Some of the elders of Israel came(A) to me and sat down in front of me.(B) Then the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and have put their sinful stumbling blocks in front of themselves.(C) Should I actually let them inquire of me?(D)

“Therefore, speak to them and tell them, ‘This is what the Lord God says: When anyone from the house of Israel sets up idols in his heart and puts his sinful stumbling block in front of himself, and then comes to the prophet, I, the Lord, will answer him appropriately.[a] I will answer him according to his many idols, so that I may take hold of the house of Israel by their hearts. They are all estranged from me because of their idols.’

“Therefore, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord God says: Repent and turn away(E) from your idols; turn your faces away from all your detestable things. For when anyone from the house of Israel or from the aliens who reside in Israel separates himself from me, setting up idols in his heart and putting his sinful stumbling block in front of himself, and then comes to the prophet to inquire of me, I, the Lord, will answer him myself. I will turn against that one and make him a sign and a proverb; I will cut him off from among my people.(F) Then you will know that I am the Lord.

“‘But if the prophet is deceived and speaks a message, it was I, the Lord, who deceived that prophet.(G) I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel.(H) 10 They will bear their punishment—the punishment of the one who inquires will be the same as that of the prophet— 11 in order that the house of Israel may no longer stray from following me and no longer defile themselves(I) with all their transgressions. Then they will be my people and I will be their God.(J) This is the declaration of the Lord God.’”

Four Devastating Judgments

12 The word of the Lord came to me: 13 “Son of man, suppose a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its supply of bread,(K) to send famine through it, and to wipe out both people and animals from it. 14 Even if these three men(L)—Noah,(M) Daniel,(N) and Job(O)—were in it, they would rescue only themselves by their righteousness.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.

15 “Suppose I allow dangerous animals(P) to pass through the land and depopulate it so that it becomes desolate, with no one passing through it for fear of the animals. 16 Even if these three men were in it, as I live”—the declaration of the Lord God—“they could not rescue their sons or daughters. They alone would be rescued, but the land would be desolate.(Q)

17 “Or suppose I bring a sword(R) against that land and say, ‘Let a sword pass through it,’ so that I wipe out both people and animals from it.(S) 18 Even if these three men were in it, as I live”—the declaration of the Lord God—“they could not rescue their sons or daughters, but they alone would be rescued.

19 “Or suppose I send a plague into that land(T) and pour out my wrath on it with bloodshed to wipe out both people and animals from it. 20 Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live”—the declaration of the Lord God—“they could not rescue their son or daughter. They would rescue only themselves by their righteousness.

21 “For this is what the Lord God says: How much worse will it be when I send my four(U)devastating judgments against Jerusalem—sword, famine, dangerous animals, and plague—in order to wipe out both people and animals from it! 22 Even so, there will be survivors left in it, sons and daughters who will be brought out. Indeed, they will come out to you, and you will observe their conduct and actions.(V) Then you will be consoled about the devastation I have brought on Jerusalem, about all I have brought on it. 23 They will bring you consolation when you see their conduct and actions, and you will know that it was not without cause that I have done what I did to it.”(W) This is the declaration of the Lord God.

15 Then the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, how does the wood of the vine,(A) that branch among the trees of the forest, compare to any other wood? Can wood be taken from it to make something useful? Or can anyone make a peg from it to hang things on? In fact, it is put into the fire as fuel.(B) The fire devours both of its ends, and the middle is charred. Can it be useful for anything? Even when it was whole it could not be made into a useful object. How much less can it ever be made into anything useful when the fire has devoured it and it is charred!”

Therefore, this is what the Lord God says, “Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire as fuel, so I will give up the residents of Jerusalem. I will turn against them.(C) They may have escaped from the fire, but it will still consume them.(D) And you will know that I am the Lord when I turn against them. I will make the land desolate because they have acted unfaithfully.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.

How easy it is to listen to those who are saying the things we want to hear. Words that sound sweet and full of hope, often turn to words of emptiness. God warned Israel not to listen to those who were spewing words of falsehood. Israel became full of false prophets sharing words made of their own imaginations. Words full of false hope. 

False prophets are still a real threat to Christians everywhere. Never has it been more necessary to seek the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

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