Salt or Scum?

December 19, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Ezekiel | 2 Comments
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God instructed Ezekiel to moan and groan like a man in pain.

Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh.

Ezekiel 21:12

God would use Jerusalem’s enemies as His “sword.” They had made friends with, and, even worse, become the sinful lovers of, God’s enemies. God’s people had failed to use the “sword” He had given them to conquer their enemies: the sword of His Word. As a Christian you are supposed to battle His enemies with the Holy Scriptures.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Ephesians 6:17

Ezekiel delivered God’s warning to King Zedekiah:

I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.

Ezekiel 21:27

Ezekiel Chapter 22 deals with the overthrow of Jerusalem, which would be particularly bad. The siege, hunger, and pestilence would give way to outright slaughter, matching the wickedness that took place when the idol-worhipping Jewish people began to bring their outside sins into their own homes.

Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths. In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness. In thee have they discovered their fathers’ nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution. And one hath committed abomination with his neighbour’s wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father’s daughter.

Ezekiel 22:8-11

This wickedness mirrors the times in which we live, and sounds like a description of an afternoon talk show or a supermarket tabloid. Like in the days of Noah, God sees that every imagination of the thoughts of men’s hearts is only evil continually.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

II Timothy 3:1-3

Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken. The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

Ezekiel 22:27-30

The political leaders were corrupt, and they were engaged in wicked cooperation with the religious leaders and false prophets. Ezekiel had attempted, as a son of man, to find a man to make up the hedge and stand in the gap – to fill the hole in the wall that Ezekiel had dug to act out the fleeing king and leaders. But these corrupt leaders were too anxious to dig the hole and escape through it – to escape with their stuff. There were other prophets who were willing, but the fact that God had to seek them out meant there were not enough of them or their sins were so great that Jerusalem could not be spared.

In Chapter 23 God gives Ezekiel the parable of the two sisters who prostituted themselves and committed adultery against God. This is a particularly explicit passage of Scripture and one that is tough to exposit in mixed company. Verses 25-30 describe the punishment and humiliation of a prostitute by an army, including the cutting-off of the ears and nose. When God begins to describe the types of sins that are a sign of terrible judgment coming, and He uses the term covenant-breakers, remember this is a very serious term. Those who have entered into a covenant with God, and then break it, are like a wife who has become a whore or an adulteress, and they are subject to severe punishment.

Aholah is the name of the older sister in the parable, and is used for Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom, Israel. Aholibah is the younger sister who represents Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom, Judah. Aholah means “her tent” because the tent associated with the tabernacle in Samaria was not God’s tent. Aholibah means “my tent is in her” because the temple in Judah was still known as God’s dwelling place, even though the glory of God had departed as shown in Chapter 10 of Ezekiel. Aholah sinned first and cheated on God, and Aholibah followed her example. God punished Israel and miraculously saved Judah. However, Judah’s sin was even greater because she ignored the warning. She called out to her lovers instead.

In Chapter 24 God told Ezekiel to utter another parable – the parable of the boiling pot. The imagery goes back to Chapter 11 where the people in Jerusalem considered themselves to be the choice cuts and considered the exiled Jews in Babylon to be the scraps. The false prophets, politicians, and religious leaders accused people of being unpatriotic if they didn’t build houses, spend money, and pile up their “stuff.” There is an old saying that “a watched pot never boils,” but God is always watching.

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city! I will even make the pile for fire great. Heap on wood, kindle the fire, consume the flesh, and spice it well, and let the bones be burned. Then set it empty upon the coals thereof, that the brass of it may be hot, and may burn, and that the filthiness of it may be molten in it, that the scum of it may be consumed. She hath wearied herself with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her: her scum shall be in the fire. In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.

Ezekiel 24:9-13 (emphasis added)

God’s people are supposed to be the salt of the earth, but instead they were the scum of the earth.

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  1. […] that helps us better understand Zephaniah 1:11: “Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are […]

  2. […] Are at Hand 8. The Prophet “Paddles” His Audience 9. Spiritual Cheating 9. Face to Face 10. Salt or Scum? 11. The Difference Between a Brave Face and a Bold Face 12. Pining Away 13. Touring the Temple 14. […]


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