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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 20

Verses 1-44

  1. Intro:
    1. Prayer: sickness/flu staff.
    2. Here we have a sad review of Israel’s history:
      1. I rescued you from Egypt, you still persisted in sin; I rescued you from The Wilderness, you still persisted in sin; Now, you still persisted in sin!
      2. Note: Repeated poetical pattern.
    3. 2-fold message to the elders of Israel:
      1. Remind them of their sins & repeated rebellion. (4,8,13,21)
      2. Review God’s patience in drawing them to Himself. (9,14,21)
  2. FOR MY NAME’S SAKE! (1-44)
    1. ​​​​​​​SINNING IN EGYPT! (1-9)
    2. In the land of Egypt – vs.5
    3. (5,6) I raised My hand in an oath to them – 3 times.
      1. Q: What do you think it means when GOD swears something?
      2. “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, & nothing but the truth, so help Me Me!”
      3. For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” Heb.6:13,14
      4. Swore by Himself – indicates that He binds Himself to His Word by His eternal person. (It doesn’t get better than that folks!)
        1. Courts make us swear an oath to tell the truth, because we are untrustworthy & promise breakers.
        2. God swears as a reminder/promise/surety that He will deliver.
    4. (6) Milk & honey –
      1. Milk - ideal land for raising goats/cows; feeding on good pasture land.
      2. Honey – Bee honey(or from dates)
      3. Q: Ever feel like instead of a land of milk & honey you’ve received only spoiled milk & Brussels sprout?
    6. If God had destroyed Israel in Egypt when they rebelled, the Egyptians would have accused the Lord of being unable to rescue the Israelites.
      1. He could have easily destroyed them, but what would the Gentiles have said about Israel’s God?
      2. Q: Do you think God’s feelings have changed?
      3. Q: Do you think He cares if His name is disrespected by you or your lifestyle, in front of your friends or co-workers today?
    7. For HIS Name’s sake, the Lord: (Warren Wiersbe; With The Word; pg.545)
      1. Forgives our sins (1 Jn.2:12) I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His Name.
      2. Guides us (Ps.23:3) He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
      3. Deals with us (Ps.109:21) But You, O GOD the Lord, Deal with me for Your name’s sake.
      4. Revive us (Ps.143:11) Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake!
    8. For HIS Name’s sake, we ought to:
      1. Serve him (3 Jn.7) they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles.
      2. Sacrifice for him (Mt.19:29) And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
      3. Be willing to suffer reproach for Him (Mt.10:22) And you will be hated by all for My Name Sake.
      4. All that we do should be for the honor of God’s name! (1 Cor.10:31) Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
    10. Into the wilderness – vs.10
    11. (12) Sabbaths – The Lord provided a Sabbath for them.
      1. Yet they never passed it on to their land! (so promised to remove them so it cold rest, vs.23)
    12. (12) I am the Lord who sanctifies them – God’s goal was to set Israel apart.
      1. How they dressed, what they ate, no interracial marriages, etc.
      2. Some ask how do we know what laws of OT to still keep?
    13. Identify various laws:
      1. Human beings were not made to be autonomous (i.e. free to be a law unto themselves) [auto=self; nomos = law] (Geneva Bible Notes; Pg.122.)
      2. But Theonomous (governed by God).
      3. This wasn’t to be a hardship, because God created us in such a way that grateful obedience would bring him the highest happiness.
        1. Duty & delight would have coincided, as they did in Jesus.
        2. Fallen human heart hates his laws; believer wants to keep it knowing it is from God & desires to please God.
      4. The Moral Law - Personal & community behavior, always our duty.
        1. Example: [10 com.; other statues of Moses; sermons by the prophets; teaching of Jesus NT; NT letters]
        2. The Moral law reflects what God loves & hates.
        3. Jesus summarized the moral law into 2 great comm.
        4. The Moral Law is the revealed will of God as to human conduct, binding on all men to the end of time. It was promulgated at Sinai. It is perfect (Ps. 19:7), perpetual (Matt. 5:17, 18), holy (Rom. 7:12), good, spiritual (14), and exceeding broad (Ps. 119:96). Although binding on all, we are not under it as a covenant of works (Gal. 3:17). (Easton, M. (1996, c1897). Easton's Bible dictionary. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)
      5. The Judicial Law The law which directed the civil policy of the Hebrew nation.
        1. Political Laws (Israel’s National situation, when Israel was a theocracy).
      6. The Ceremonial Law(Ritual) - prescribes under the Old Testament the rites and ceremonies of worship.
        1. This law was obligatory only till Christ. As it was fulfilled by Christ, rather than done away with.
        2. These were OT Laws regarding ceremonial purity, diet, & sacrifice (temporary enactments for purpose of instruction).
    14. Today we are to be set apart a different way…how?
    15. (26) 1st born to pass through the fire –
      1. Ex.13:1 – All 1st borns, human & animal, belong to God, but was mitigated or redeemed through sacrifice, & by the sacrificial act of circumcision.
        1. But with the Within the Phoenician and Canaanite religion they would literally sacrifice the children to Moloch.
    16. SINNING IN CANAAN! (27,28)
    17. Into the land – vs.28
    18. Remember a whole new generation now, as their parents didn’t get to come into the land.
      1. So now this next generation is warned against idolatry & the evil way of their parents.
        1. So, once in the land, worship God finally?
        2. Nope, they rebelled also, & went into idolatry.
    19. High hills – refers to pagan Canaanite sacrificial offerings on a large platform on a hill. [It also includes male cult prostitutes; divination; sorcery; worship of Molech; sacrificing their kids in the fire]
    20. Thick(leafy) trees – may refer to worship of Asherah, represented by a post, stake, or tree.
    21. SINNING IN EZEKIEL’S DAY! (29-32)
    22. To this day(Ezekiel’s Day) – vs.29
    23. The present generation – How will they do? The same! /
    24. Bamah – play on words. [habamah…habaim] [high place…which you go]
    25. םשָׁ םיִאָבַּה םֶתּאַ־רשֲׁאֶ הָמָבַּה הָמ
    26. (33-38)Note I will statements–they assure us God is working for us, not against us.
      1. Read them.
      2. Why does he do it? (44) for His Name sake!
    27. PASS UNDER THE ROD! (33-44)
    28. (34) Scattered – refers to the Tribulation time.
      1. When the dragon(Satan) saw that he(antichrist) had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman(Israel) who had given birth to the male child(Jesus). The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert(Petra?), where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. Rev.12:13,14
    29. (37) Here the children of Israel, saved & not saved are brought together for judgment (i.e. pass under the shepherds rod; explain!)
      1. Show Rod & Staff
      2. Pass under the rod = held horizontally (to count & examine sheep)
        1. His rod takes care of His enemies (or discipline for sheep!)
        2. His staff takes care of His sheep! = discipline; staff = guidance.
      3. Similar to the Gentile judgment in Mt.25:31-46.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Ezekiel 20". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.