Face to Face

November 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Common Expressions, Ezekiel | 9 Comments
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In Chapter 18 Ezekiel begins to address the excuses of those who were being convicted by his messages. Their chief excuse seems to have been the age-old excuse of, “It’s someone else’s fault.” The people were saying that God wasn’t fair, even though He was keeping the covenant. The covenant breakers were blaming the Covenant Keeper.

God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked.

Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

Ezekiel 18:23

For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Ezekiel 18:32

In Chapter 19 Ezekiel lays the responsibility at the feet of the the leaders. Israel is compared to a lion, but a lion that has been captured and taken into captivity.

And say, What is thy mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions.

Ezekiel 19:2

Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit. And they put him in ward in chains, and brought him to the king of Babylon: they brought him into holds, that his voice should no more be heard upon the mountains of Israel.

Ezekiel 19:8-9

Ezekiel also compared Israel to a vine, but a vine that had become withered and unfruitful.

Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.

Ezekiel 19:10

But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them. And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground.

Ezekiel 19:12-13

This comparison would have reminded them of Israel’s blessing in Genesis 49.

In Ezekiel Chapter 20 the elders come to Ezekiel’s house, supposedly to “enquire of the Lord.”

And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to enquire of the LORD, and sat before me.

Ezekiel 20:1

But they had forgotten that Ezekiel was getting his discernment directly from God, and he gave them a history lesson instead. He reminded them that, even though they had been required to dwell among the heathen, they should not have been converted to the heathens’ ways. As Christians we should beware of becoming a part of the culture we’re trying to reach. “Undercover evangelicals” may think that they can lift up sinners out of their sin, but what usually winds up happening is that the Christians wind up getting dragged down into sin and ruining their testimony. Jesus ate with the publicans and sinners. He talked with them, and cared for them while they were yet in sin. But He did not sin with them.

And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone.

Ezekiel 20:32

George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That is what was happening to these Israelites. They had not learned from the mistakes of their forefathers and they were experiencing the same type of chastening from God.

And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.

Ezekiel 20:35 (emphasis added)

God told them that He would bring them into a figurative wilderness and deal with them face to face. This is in contrast to God telling Ezekiel to “set his face” toward Jerusalem. New Testament Christians look forward to seeing God “face to face,” because now we see through a glass, darkly. We are excited because we will know as we are known. But we have to make sure that we’re not like the people of Israel in Ezekiel’s day, who didn’t really “know” God. Seeing God face to face is different than seeing eye to eye with God. Seeing God face to face is an exciting and joyful prospect to those who know God through Jesus Christ, but it is terrifying for those who are known by God for their unfaithfulness, and do not know Him via Christ.


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