Ezekiel Part 5 on chs. 40-48


[Parts 4 (chs.25-39), 3 (chs. 14-24), 2 (7-13), 1 (1-6) are below]


And now Ezekiel has a vision
of God’s temple, and his nation
– vivid, detailed, not as had been,
nor as would be, could be(?) –
description intricate, complexity –
hard to follow, read – perplexity.
Sacrifices’ days were numbered,
pointing forward to fulfilment;
but in spirit exiles needed
willingness for this obedience
which before had failed; acknowledge
they had been rebellious,
careless,
so polluting where his presence
should have known true honour, reverence,
and a zeal for careful holiness.
God-given visions:
his people portrayed.
His grace has not finished,
so don’t be dismayed,
prepare for his presence,
great things he will do,
and he will be magnified,
and worshipped anew.

chapters 40 – 42
God’s temple beautiful, and functional,
harmonious, symmetrical;
his presence is protected, holy,
quiet, where he is worshipped fully (wholly).
Approached with sacrifice removing
guilt, and sin’s contamination.
All has been paid, but once, no further invoice, –
so hearts prepared to praise, rejoice,
perfectly, as in this picture.

We must be fit for worship,
our hearts prepared and built
according to his pattern,
for praise and fellowship,
a church of beauty, functional,
harmonious, symmetrical,
each one a fitted temple too,
and fit together tight and true.

43:1 – 12
Overwhelming sight of glory,
awesome, draining, enervating,
Spirit lifting up, enabling;

radiance, and his voice like rushing
waters – word his will accomplishing;
returning to his people, holy,
new beginning, never ending,
ever after with, among them.

The people see that their behaviour
had been awful, total failure
to appreciate the detail
of God’s holiness and worship:
fullest faithfulness required.

chapter 43:13 – 27
From Adam’s fall ’til Jesus came
‘the altar’ spoke as prophecy
of One to come to take the blame
– a sacrifice sufficient he.

From Christ’s atonement ’til he come
again,
his work is history,
remembering the Saving Son
in bread and wine consistently.

chapter 44
God glorious has gone in, the gate is shut;
and no-one else can use it now, to come, go out;
and he himself will not depart.

None may approach him while uncircumcised in flesh and heart:
for to his ways they must conform, – complete attention
to his will and words, devotion
within, and actions that display
desire to please him and obey,

And those who serve, in any way,
must holiness in all pursue,
and faithfulness, commitment true.

chapter 45
The Prince is allocated land,
sufficient, – he need not demand
oppressive taxes, (heavy hand);
his leading must be fair, true justice heeding,
and organising worship well,
supported by his people, all
co-operate harmoniously,
and happily.

chapter 46
Many, regular sacrifices,
reminders of atonement needed,
God’s wrath propitiated
(– Christ’s sacrifice, complete, now seen
before God’s throne in perpetuity,
the Holy God can justly, gladly welcome from captivity);

fellowship offerings, reminders of God’s peace
for those to fellowship restored.
Vast the crowds approach to worship,
vast the swell of joy, and honour to the Sovereign LORD.

Separating worship service tasks,
from work which though important,
not part of priestly role :
each has its proper space, well-ordered place.

chapter 47:1 – 12
Out of this administration’s
symbol-temple, river flows,
and grows
stronger, wider,
water fresh and healing,
bringing health and strength, life giving
to increasing numbers.

Grace divine proceeding,
from the LORD, and through his temple,
through the church, and every saint,
temples of the living God.

Spirit indwells, living water flows
– hungry people feeding,
thirst slaked, sins cleansed, gospel wealth,

our spirits’ health,
touching and healing the parched and the lifeless,
channels for Christ in a needy world:

redemption prophesied,
Christ Jesus accomplished.

chapter 47:13 – end of ch.48
All of the tribes, and Israel completed;
plenty of room, and no further strife;
together enjoying their city, all enter –
each have a gate and share in its life.

Welcome to all who’ve come from the nations,
accepting the ways of the God of the place,
counted as Israelites, fullest relations,
welcomed by God in his infinite grace.

Room enough for all to settle,
all who wish to settle there
with God’s people, where he’s dwelling
in their midst for evermore.

‘The LORD is there’ from that time on for ever.
The exiles shown a glorious future, never
can that be destroyed, or spoilt, forsaken,
his Word is sure, he cannot be mistaken:
a picture, yes, but they took heart and courage,
and we look forward from a place of increased knowledge.

the book of Ezekiel portrays
The sovereign holy LORD:
displayed in vision,
in judgments and destruction,
and mercy’s restoration,
redemption, transformation,
eternal honour, glorious Word.


Ezekiel chs.25-39

Parts 3, 2, 1 (chapters 24-1) below

chapter 25
Those who chose to gloat or sneer,
nations voicing malice clear –
hostile, callous – who were glad
to wreak vengeance when they could:

they will know He is the LORD
when He keeps his judgement word.

chapters 26 –28:20 A Prophecy against Tyre
Tyre had flourished, wealthy strong,
thinks she’ll grow when Israel’s gone –
is their God not now around?
Materialism built on watery ground, –
shipwrecked Tyre laid bare and drowned,
lifetime’s labours all invested
in wrong objects, – lavished, wasted:
lamentation, slaughter, plunder,
Tyre destroyed and torn asunder.
Pride will poison through success:
glittering wealth to deep distress,
horrible end of godlessness.

chapter 28:20–26
A Prophecy against Sido
n;

but the regathering of Israel.
Malicious neighbours, painful thorns:
gone when Israel soon returns.
Godly people must be users
of his principles and Word.
Watch! for ‘friends’ may tempt (seducers),
or frighten servants of the LORD
if they can!

chapter 29
Pharoah, Egypt, proud and boasting
strong their kingdom (as if their making),
like the Nile, but God is now
against them, and will bring them low.
Monster crocodile hooked out, laid
floundering, helpless, in great need.
Why had Israel sought for help, aid,
leaning on that splintering reed?
Egypt: devestation, desolation,
dispersal, plundered, – they’ll return
– lowly, weak, – the nations view
its threat no more, and Israel rue
their sin in seeking foolishly
her help before.
But Israel’s horn and strength, will grow
by power divine, and they will know
(the prophet’s mouth he’ll open wide)
he is the LORD, and has not lied.

chapters 30 – 32
See, the Day of sorrowing, ending
Pharoah’s rule and Egypt’s power.
God, the Babylonians strengthening,
weakening Pharoah in that hour:
broken arms, defence, resistance
limp, for now his toppling’s come,
– Egypt’s might cut down when darkness
shows that justice has been done.
Assyria tree was also felled.
Many graves with tyrants filled.

chapter 33
Appointed watchman given information,
– responsible to warn;
hearers then have heard the exhortation,
– they must turn,
turn from evil, finding grace,
no returning to that place
of disobedience:
foolish playing with the fire,
insincere repentance.

The way of the LORD is just:
he takes no pleasure
in the death of the wicked
– if they feel their guilt, and turn, and trust,
they’ll live.

“The city has fallen”, – the message came,
as prophesied, predicted.
If Abraham’s land they want to claim,
his faith, obedience they should share,
not live without a care
for the sovereign LORD’s commands.
You exiles too must his demands
heed, not just give respectful
praise, attention to Ezekiel.

When all the prophecy comes true,
you’ll know God’s prophet spoke with you.

chapter 34
Shepherds who neglect and scatter;
Shepherd who will feed and gather.
Sheep who shove and grab, despise
weaker ones, but God has eyes
that judge and save; he has appointed
Christ as Shepherd-Prince anointed:
covenant of grace and peace
for his sheep, and problems cease
fully, in the time to come; –
now the Shepherd leads them on,
now the Shepherd leads us home.

chapter 35 A prophecy against Edom
God sees men take advantage when
some suffer;
– think they can
take what they like,
but soon they’ll know
God heard them boast and plan,
and speak contemptibly, delight
to harm and ‘twist the knife’.
The Sovereign LORD they scorn, without
restraint, a bitter life.
For they who will not bloodshed hate,
find bloodshed will pursue.
God has an end in view,
and Israel has a future blest,
when evil-doers in the world,
like Edom will be judged and gone
for all the hate they hurled.

chapter 36
God’s promises are not deserved:
for his own sake he would
bring back his people to his land,
and fill its hills with good.
Their lives, their sin, had spread about
dishonour to his name.
He’d bring them back, but make them feel
their sinfulness and shame.
He’ll change their hearts and make them new,
and cleanse, and move their will
to follow his decrees and laws,
and then with blessings fill.

The nations will know that he is the LORD,
holy in judgement, and rescue, rebuilding,
faithful in rule and in Word.

chapter 37
By now the exiled Israel felt
past hope, cut off in death.
God shows he can restore, revive
those now bereft of spiritual breath.

Regenerated saints restored,
cleansed, love the precepts of their LORD,
his covenant of peace, his Word:
united people, – nations see
that he, the LORD, has made them holy
and dwells with them eternally.

O LORD, you only know
what you alone can do.

And when you act (fulfil your Word),
they’ll know you truly are the LORD.

chapters 38 & 39
Again there will be enemies,
vast hordes rush in, attacking
– God’s people will be unprepared,
defenceless, vulnerable, – needing
that God defeat the evil schemes,
and deal with those who plot – all
crushed, – no longer sent to chasten –
their plotting brings their downfall full,
and future fullness nearer for
God’s people, who will then be free
of evil danger evermore.

Ezekiel Part 3 (chs.14-24)

Parts 2 and 1 (chs. 1-13) below
ch.14:1–12

Idols in their hearts they’ve chosen,
stumbling-blocks that cloud their vision;
God will not accept pretending
prayer, but will remove infecting
influence, expose, recapture
wandering hearts, each idol-notion
rooted out, with real contrition.
No more cause of pain, nor straying:
they will be his people, praying.

Those who refuse, or lead astray,
will bear their guilt, be cast away.

14:12–23
Jerusalem would be forsaken,
it was now abomination.
God would always safely clasp
those who loved him, knew his grasp,
but the lives of such a few,
could not others save who do
things obnoxious, he will turn
his hand of blessing which they spurn,
to sending judgements that they earn.

When their city was destroyed,
some came to Babylon, who’d survived,
to join those whom Ezekiel taught:
but when their ways were seen, they brought
increased appreciation
of why he’d caused such great destruction:
behaviour causing shock, revulsion.

ch.15
A vine is useless but for fruit,
and if they fail, it’s gathered, thrown
as fuel on fire, – Jerusalem
bears no good fruit, and it must burn.
And we will know he is the LORD,
who always keeps his holy Word.

ch.16
God’s city called, and saved and blest,
where there had been a heathen past;
beloved, and taught, espoused and tended, –
enticed to seek out new experiences;
impoverished, and betrayed, abandoned
by those she chose to chase:
the judgement of the LORD.

But God remembers his covenant,
and a remnant remember their ways,
ashamed, convicted, their sins atoned,
repentant gentiles blessed once more.

Christian don’t be lured by lies
which bleed, degrade, and age,
wither, and waste, embitter,
faded, jaded… .

No hope of compassion, or pity, or love;
– but God, in his kindness and mercy, said, ‘Live!’
He formed, and he washed, and gifted his child;
God’s beautiful jewel, his well-adorned Bride
.

But watch! sin insinuates snares in success,
neglecting the Giver who’s saved from distress;
absorbed with the gifts, those who live as they please
are playing with danger which tempts and deceives.

Each one who is truly God’s child, he’ll chastise,
to rescue from folly, soul-sickness and lies.
But those who won’t listen, nor turn back, will taste
his judgement, disgrace, withered hopes, empty waste.

17:1–21
Zedekiah promised he would
serve the eagle (Babylon’s king),
a vine in Israel, rooted, watered;
but he rebelled and tried to bring
help from Egypt (different eagle).
God expects we keep our word
and accept the circumstances
brought by him, the Sovereign Lord.

17:22–24
One day a Shoot from Israel will
become a splendid sheltering tree
admired upon the mountain heights
by all the other trees that see
the hand of God had ruled in judgement,
but also brings forth life abundant,
bringing low and raising high, –
King to seek and not defy,
welcoming refuge he’ll supply.

ch.18
What is righteousness? A true
love and honour for the LORD
that affects the things you do,
living by his holy Word;
caring, generous and kind,
perseveres through daily grind.

Righteousness consistent, true,
whatever others, parents, do,
and not resting on the past;
– heart transformed, – the change will last.
Repent and live, new heart and treasure.
Turn from sins, God takes no pleasure
when the wicked die in judgement.

ch.19
Lamentation for disruption,
destruction,
fierce and foolish rulers captured,
lamentation for great loss:
lions hooked, and chained,
caged.
By tyranny or mere neglect
they had destroyed, did not protect.

So the vine of Israel’s branches,
once had many strong for rule,
now uprooted, dried and withered,
burnt by fire: no further fool
as king whose reign a failure.
No branch now strong for ruler’s sceptre,
until the Lord comes
to raise One fitter.

Israel’s history 20:1– 32
Many times the LORD had punished,
when their conduct was perverse,
and he’d shown his saving mercy –
that the nations of the earth
see the honour of his name
– and might fear, and even hope in
One so mighty, feel their shame.

Exiles – if you want to pray
think about your life and way, –
are they bringing honour now
to the Lord you claim to know.

[Even Babylonians needed
knowledge of the heart of God;
knowledge of their own heart also,
need of mercy from the LORD.]

ch.20:33–44
He will purge, and he will shepherd
many into covenant bond,
turning ears to hear, respond
to his Word, and from rebellious
idol service with real shame,
bringing honour to his name,
in his promised land regathered.

They will know his power and holiness.
He, the LORD, and they his fragrance.

20:45 – 49 & ch.21
Sword against sceptre.
Jerusalem vanquished:
the whole nation on fire,
destroyed or else banished.
(Groaning and grief from Ezekiel burst.)

The LORD is against them, and those
who aren’t slain, are captured, dispersed.

The monarchy ruined, removed, not restored,
until it is rightfully claimed by the LORD,
the coming Messiah to whom it belongs.

Then judgement on Ammon for all of their wrongs
unkind and malicious, with insults unrighteous.


ch.22

City of bloodshed, and idols, extortion,
defiled by detestable deeds, and oppression:
the LORD who had taught them,
the LORD who had fed them
forgotten.

Leaders who harm,
and make many poor,
prophets and priests
deceiving, distorting
God’s law,
– whitewashing sins.
Wrath of the LORD,
must gather the dross,
to melt in the furnace,
hot city-furnace:
brought on themselves, what a tragic loss.

And no-one will urge them, or lead
back to him, pray for them, plead.

ch.23
Oholah, Samaria:
Israel fickle, flirting there,
on her LORD no more relying,
exclusive covenant denying.

Oholibah, Judah’s name:
flirting, faithless just the same –
heedless that such foolish lust,
brings destruction and disgust.

Both sought friendships with the world,
alliances; – they’re ‘used’ and spoiled:
vulgar passions, very potent,
consequences deep, important.

Children sacrificed – or led
far from God, their spirts dead,
ignorant of saving truth –
what misuse of training youth!
– (abuse).

Putting God behind their backs:
there’s no quick and easy fix, –
not a ray of hope to feel,
unless they find contrition real.

ch.24
Suffering, sieged Jerusalem:
charred in the cooking pot,
the pot burnt out;
so comes the end as the LORD had warned them.
Scorning his pleas, the rot
must be destroyed,
no denial or doubt.

Their heart’s desire, delight of their eyes
– the city and temple – removed at a stroke,
as likewise his wife had been suddenly taken,
delight of his eyes, – but it did not evoke
the usual symbols of grieving and mourning –
God wanted abstention, as all would soon groan,
unable to publicly mourn, but still grieving
and wasting – God’s Word now accepted, truth known.

Ezekiel Part 2 (chs.7-13)

ch.7
Doom bursts forth as a water spout.
For the Day that has waited is come.
Joy has flown, spreading panic about.
Pride has blossomed and violence has grown, –
a rod for punishing, thick and stout, –
people wickeder cause them to groan.
Those escaping reflect and moan.
Limbs go limp, and their courage water,
shame will cover, and their schemes will falter.
The gold and jewels, their trust and pride,
salvation from hunger and sword can’t provide.

Calamity, calamity, rumour and fear:
no hope from prophet, the prince in despair.
In shame they can see,
and have to agree
his judgement is just,
he does what he must,
for he is the Lord,
he’s righteous and fair.

ch.8
In the temple, place of worship, things detestable are seen.
Idols, worship to false gods, dishonour of the One who’d been
their Protector, Teacher, Saviour.
Now their leaders’ own behaviour
incites; and violence spreads, increases;
– God, his wrath at last releases.
Holy One must leave that day:
in this place he cannot stay:
God of glory driven away.

chs.9&10
Exceeding great their sin, the land
was filled with bloodshed unconfined.
Injustice filled the city, so
they say, ‘The LORD has left us, cannot know’.
God’s warnings scorned, their time has come,
with coals of judgement from God’s throne.
A few, few only shared his grief.
They have God’s mark, and their belief
and faithfulness will save them from
the judgement full that has to come.

The LORD of glory cannot stay,
and leaves his temple on that day.

chapter 11
Those still in Jerusalem,
aren’t ‘choice meat within the pot’,
not the ‘cream’ kept safe; – that lot
far away, aren’t lost in Babylon, –
though they’ve suffered such affliction,
still they have God’s presence real:
he’s their sanctuary; his appeal
heeded, moulded by his hand,
they’ll be brought back to this land.

For, though you as yet are here,
you will not be safe from fear.
God will drive you from your pot,
your devotion has been not
for your God, but images –
with reward that ravages.

ch.12
‘Days go by and every vision
comes to nothing’
so they say.
Days are near when God’s visions
all will be fulfilled his way.’

‘Many years before fulfilment, –
distant future, never fear.’

‘No more waiting, no more patient,
what God says is almost here.’

ch.13 False Prophets
Scavenging jackals, hungry foxes,
– no repairers of the walls, –
no desire to search and rescue,
draw them back to God who calls.
Words seductive, false, inventing
lying cry of ‘Peace’, instead
of what God says he’s intending:
flimsy whitewashed wall will tumble,
with its builders false, will crumble.

Ensnaring God’s people;
encouraging those
who’re living in evil,
to stay as they chose,
not turn from the wickedness
to save their own lives;
disheartening the righteous
with murderous lies.

They will know he is the LORD,
who can bring his truth, his Word
to his people clearly.

The Book of Ezekiel

You have been more unruly than the nations around you and have not followed my decrees or kept my laws. You have not even conformed to the standards of the nations around you,… because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your vile images and detestable practices, I myself will withdraw my favour; I will not look on you with pity or spare you. 5:7, 11

How grieved was the LORD, for he was not respected.
How wronged and ignored, and rejected.
He cannot allow all this stench to remain,
polluting his land, making vile again.
For they were to live as his servants to show
his ways so the nations around will know,
be prepared for the coming of Christ, the Revealer,
to look to, and wait for, this coming Redeemer.

chapters 1&10:9-17
Vision of glory,
vision of God,
awesome and fiery,
throne of the LORD:
his servants with ease,
strength and ability,
vigilant eyes
serve the Almighty.

Brilliant, glowing,
fire and light;
overwhelming,
radiant sight.

Rushing wings and whirling wheels
accomplishing God’s mission;
God all-glorious, as a man
comes to tell his will and plan:
message awesome,
message true,
mercy winsome,
with power to do.

ch. 2 and 3:1 –15
Commissioned, appointed by God to speak
his Word to a people who would not seek
his will – they’d revolted, rebelled from him,
their Maker and Saviour, and chosen sin.
They’re hardened and stubborn: Ezekiel warns.
God’s Spirit will strengthen his forehead like flint
for a lengthy and harrowing service stint,
surrounded by scorpions and briars and thorns.
God’s words were sweet,
to learn, to eat,
though a message of woe,
with which he must go:
His Word complete
is strengthening meat,
but shocking, astounding,
troubling, confounding.

chapter 3:16-27
The priest, now a prophet,
to pastor, exhort;
a watchman to plead – they must heed it –
God’s message well taught;
but his tongue would be still,
and silent until
commissioned to tell out the words of the LORD.

Some would listen,
some refuse
awesome, urgent, rebuking, news.

Man puffed up with confidence,
self-assurance, self-dependence,
from his mouth what will come out?
Wind and vanity no doubt.
But, when God upholds and fills,
teaching,
and that mouth controls; –
then we will be truly fed
precious words of heavenly bread.

chapters. 4, 5, and 12
Symbol-actions, symbol-pictures:
God against Jerusalem.
Siege, with suffering, and famine,
sword and scattering, and warning
for the nations all around.

chapter 6
False religion in high places,
man-made, lust of eyes, and heart
all adulterous, taking idols,
though the LORD set them apart
for his truth, and for his service
Now his hand must be stretched out
bringing judgment, and destruction
of these places where they flout
wisdom’s laws and honour – they will
know he is the LORD indeed.
Just a few escape to exile,
spared, – and there they’ll him remember,
and the words they did not heed;
hating all their practice vile
that has truly grieved the LORD.
Will they then obey his Word?

They were spared, but most have perished, –
died from famine, plague or sword.

… to be continued

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