Ezekiel 28 Devotional
By Pastor Lawrence Bowlin
In God’s judgment upon the nations, Ezekiel continues his prophecy against the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon on the Mediterranean coast for how they continually profited upon Israel’s demise. Having no love for their neighbors chosen by God and no fear of the God of all creation, they would pay dearly for selling their souls to the devil and getting into bed with the harlot of Babylon in their lust for all the things of this world. Israel had suffered much under their mockery and molestation for years, but here God promises to relieve Israel of this great thorn in their side. When the Jews return to the Promised Land, God’s people would no longer be harassed by these sea-faring Phoenicians for Ezekiel is predicting their destruction at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar II.
Having prospered exceedingly for many years, the Tyrians had swelled in pride and self-importance. The King of Tyre, whom Ezekiel calls merely a prince, actually began calling himself a god and boasted that his wisdom was greater than any man’s, even Daniel, Ezekiel’s contemporary. The king boasted of his great wealth and how he alone was privy to divine secrets that none other could understand thus believing that his knowledge and power could overwhelm any foe. But the Lord continually opposes the proud and will deflate the ego of this wind bag quickly when he brings him to judgment at the hands of the Babylonians.
Then beginning in v.11, God calls the prophet to raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, which is the same person he earlier referred to as a prince, but perhaps the Lord is also addressing the dark leader of the demonic realm himself who has been backing the prince of Tyre all this time. For in the following verses, he is describing the king as an eternal being, a guardian cherub who once dwelled in the heavens and who once frolicked in the Garden of Eden. Perhaps it is because of the king’s great pride that the Lord uses this allusion of the devil, for the two figures both boasted in their beauty, wisdom and power. In a similar manner, the prophet Isaiah compares the king of Babylon to the devil saying in Isaiah 14:12ff “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star of Dawn! You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God. I will set my throne on high; I will make myself like the Most High.” But in both cases, these kings serving under the shadow of Satan are told that they will brought down into the pit of destruction and unable to rise again.
But we must remember that these words are not addressed directly to the king of Tyre but to the people of God that they might know that the Lord is God over all the nations and that they might trust in the Lord’s promised rest to lie down in green pastures safe from all their enemies. But even though these are some harsh words spoken against the ancient cities of Tyre and Sidon, there are some exceptions to the rule. For we find out later on in the gospels that it is a Phoenician woman who expresses a greater faith than anyone in Israel when she brings to Jesus her demon-possessed daughter. It should not surprise us that her daughter is demon possessed given that fact that she lived under the shadow of Satan in Tyre and Sidon, but what surprises us is that she looks to Christ Jesus to cast Satan out of her child, when God’s people don’t seem even understand who Christ is. Even when Jesus tells her that he was sent first to the house of Israel and that it would not be right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs, she responds saying, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.” It was because of her great faith in Christ that her child was healed.
But what does that mean for Israel and for the people of God? In Matthew 11.21, Jesus curses two Israeli towns near where he grew up on the shore of the Sea of Galilee because they did not believe the gospel, saying to them “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” So it is not those who merely bear the name of God’s people that will be saved, but those who show forth God’s grace as it is evidenced in faith and repentance, which is ultimately the message of the prophets. All of their warnings and all of the horrific judgments given are meant to turn God’s people back to the Lord in faith and repentance.