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Take thee a sharp knife.
God’s judgments upon the wicked
1. Wicked men are of little worth; take a whole city of them, they are of no more account with God than a little hair of the head or beard.
2. It is the privilege of Christ to appoint whom and what instruments He pleases to execute His pleasure upon sinners.
3. When God hath been long provoked by a people, He comes with sharp and sweeping judgments amongst them.
4. There is no standing out against God; whatever our number or strength is, His judgments are irresistible.
5. The judgments and proceedings of God with sinners are not rash, but most carefully weighed.
6. There is no escaping of God’s judgments for hard-hearted sinners.
7. In great judgments and general destructions, God of His infinite mercy spares some few. Ezekiel must take a few and bind up in his skirts, all must not be destroyed; the fire and sword devoureth many, but the dispersion preserved some, and some few are left in Judah. God is just, and yet when He is in the way of His judgments, he forgets not mercy: a little of the hair shall be preserved, when the rest goes to the fire, sword, and wind.
8. The paucity preserved in common calamities are not all precious, truly godly. Reprobates for the present escape as well as elect vessels; some choice ones may be cut off, and some vile ones may be kept. In a storm cedars and oaks are smitten, when bushes and briers are spared; and yet after they are cut up and cast into the fire. Sinners may escape present wrath, but there is wrath to come (Luke 3:7).
9. God may take occasion, from the sin of some, to bring in judgment upon all. He must take of the remnant preserved, and throw into the fire, and out of that fire went forth fire into all the house of Israel. (W. Greenhill, M. A.)
This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations.
Jerusalem in the midst of the nations
Jerusalem was designed to have a good influence upon the nations and countries round about, and was set in the midst of them as a candle upon a candlestick to spread the light of Divine revelation, which she was blessed with, to all the dark corners of the neighbouring nations, that from them it might diffuse itself further, even to the ends of the earth. Jerusalem was set in the midst of the nations, to be as the heart in the body, to invigorate this dead world with a Divine life, to be an example of everything that is good. (M. Henry.)
As I live, saith the Lord God.
The Divine oath
I. The form of the Divine oath. When men swear, they do it “by the greater” (Hebrews 6:16). God cannot do this. So He swears by Himself.
II. The use of the Divine oath. God utters His word clearly and plainly, calling on men to believe it. When they will not, He tries a new expedient, backing it up with an oath. Was ever grace more conspicuous, and forbearance more extraordinary?
III. Examples of the Divine oath.
1. The oath used in connection with the Priesthood of Christ (Psalms 110:4, as interpreted in Hebrews 7:1-28).
2. The oath used in connection with the believer’s safety (Hebrews 7:17-18). Blessed safeguard!
3. The oath used in connection with the sincerity of the Gospel call (Ezekiel 33:11). Must not God be terribly in earnest?
4. The oath used in connection with the ultimate triumph of the Christian cause (Isaiah 45:23). Can such a purpose be defeated? Encouraged by this, let the Church go forward.
5. The oath used in connection with the doom of the unbelieving (Psalms 95:11). Then, “Acquaint now thyself,” etc. (Job 22:21). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” etc. (Acts 16:31). (John Burnett, B. D.)
Thus shall Mine anger be accomplished.
God’s anger against sinners
1. God goes on by degrees in His wrath against a people. He had in times past corrected them like a father, He would now execute them like a judge; the drops of His wrath had done no good, now they should have the full vials.
2. Wrath let out against a sinful people, ofttimes lies long upon them. “I will cause My fury to rest upon them.” They were seventy years under God’s displeasure in Babylon.
3. God takes pleasure in executing judgment, in accomplishing His wrath, and causing His fury to rest upon impenitent and incurable sinners, He will be comforted in it (Proverbs 1:26).
4. The Word of God may be preached among a people, and they, through ignorance and malice, not know it, nor entertain it.
5. Wicked men shall be convinced, and left without excuse. “They shall know that I the Lord have spoken”; they eyed men and not Me, they deemed it man’s voice, not Heaven’s; but they shall find that it was the voice of God amongst them.
6. God will justify His servants in their zealous labours for Him. “They shall know that I have spoken it in My zeal.” It is God speaks in the prophets; it is His zeal they express. Let men be zealous against sin, the iniquities of the times, they are counted mad, fiery fellows, troublers of Israel, seditious, factious, etc.
7. The Lord is intense, and will not recall His indignation, when He deals with unfaithful, covenant-breaking persons. As in God’s zeal there is intense love towards His Church (when God promises mercy to His people, it is sealed with this, “The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do it,” 2 Kings 19:31), so here is intense hatred, wrath against His enemies. (W. Greenhill, M. A.)
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Ezekiel 5". The Biblical Illustrator. https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent