Ezekiel 29

Ezekiel 29
by Pastor Mark Hudson

On one hand this is a prophecy about Egypt.  We would be correct if we learned all we could about Egypt and her relationship with Israel.  But these chapters Ez.29-32 is also about the major cities and small towns of this and every country.  The latter first.

Our age, since Adam, is, “Don’t You tell me what to do.”  This is not just America, but every country everywhere and at all times.  “We do not need any ‘words from on high, thank you very much.  We can handle life better on our own.  Your rules, your church, your so-called “world-view” is one big fairy tale.  We do not want our children to hear any of it.  So, we actively work to banish Your story from the public square or public discourse.  Your religion oppresses women, takes away freedom, is harmful to our nation and You or Your people are not allowed to bring Your faith and reasoning from Your faith into our schools, our businesses, and our politics.  You can stay in your little church but keep it to yourself.”

Our present culture is so proud.  We think we came up with the cancel culture.  People have been killing and trying to silence Christians and other good people since Adam and Eve.  We are murders and violent people as early as Genesis 4.  And talk about wanting our own way and rejecting God.  That is Adam and Eve.  They represent use like a union representative, like a delegate to a convention, like a representative in a legislature.  We are the party of Adam, and we vote straight ticket.  We love our party.

I can look down on these countries named in Ezekiel.  I can look down on Israel.  Yet somehow, I never make the connection that I am just like Israel, and I can act and think like Egypt.  Egypt is all about self.   My Nile. I made it.  We breath the oxygen of this culture that thinks the same way.  We sucked at the breast and imbibed the rebellion of this world and added to it.  Oh, we like to think we are better than Israel.  But are we?

We are the self-made person.  We deserve what we have because we worked for it.  No one helped us.  Or did they?   What would we be like if we grew up in a home where our father left our Mother?  Where would we be without the many people that helped us and taught us.  Thank God for Sunday school teachers, pastors, leaders of the churches we attended.  Thank God for people who corrected us and pointed out our faults.

Now to Egypt, the ancient enemy of Israel, the first persecutor of Israel.  In 29, see verses 1-16, then 17- 21.  Israel was in trouble in the early 600 and late 500s.  Babylon was knocking at the door.  The prophets spoke in the name of God to trust God and that Babylon was sent by and used by God to punish Israel.  They were to submit to Babylon.   Go to Babylon and raise your family, start a business, build a house.  You will be there for 70 years.

So, what did Israel do?  Go to Egypt and seek their help.  Israel trusted in the same people who enslaved them.  But the message is that Egypt’s own arrogance will be their undoing.  God will take this mighty ‘dragon’ and “cast you out into the wilderness” and be food for the beasts and birds v. 5.  Egypt may have looked strong but the were no match for God.  In fact, they are like a reed or dead hollow branch that is worthless to hold any weight v. 6ff.

One of the scarier sentences in the Bible is found in v. 10, “Behold, I am against you.”  I can’t think of a worse future.  And yet think of it.  This is what God will say to every human being who has not loved, obey, and honored Jesus Christ in this life.  He will say to them, ‘Behold, I am against you.’  If a person has lived their lives against God, not worshipping Him, not joining His people, not serving the most glorious Being in the universe but living for their own ways, do you think God will welcome them to His heaven?  What a tragic day that will be.  What of those who left church to pursue their own paths?  What of those who marched, picketed, shouted, and rallied for causes that were not pleasing to God?  Just think of their torment as they remember, recall, and mull over and over the ways they could have repented.

The last section refers to the last year of his ministry but placed here for literary purposes.  Nebuchadnezzar is an unlikely person to be used by a holy God.  But the King of Babylon’s violence, destruction, and savagery was the vehicle God used. Israel, between Babylon and Egypt, once again, chose poorly.  Instead of listening to God as He spoke through His prophets, Israel rejected God and trusted in Egypt.

I like trying to understand those events in the Bible, but don’t get lost in dates, names of kings, and trying to figure every detail.  Trust in the Lord and don’t be like Israel trusting in everything but God.  Yes, we live in a wealthy country.  We can make it, in one sense, without God.  But if you live that way, what will you have at the end of your life?  You will not cease existing after your death.  Are you preparing, investing, and trusting in the right Person?

Dear heavenly Father, wake us up to the reality of heaven and hell.  Remind us of what a glorious heaven awaits those who trust in You and what an everlasting place of misery and destruction await those who do not worship and love you.  Stir up our souls to be in love with You.  Help us not to merely do our duty but to joyfully be in love with You.  In Christ’s glorious name.  Amen.