Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" lands us in the middle of Ezekiel, a very interesting book.
Ezekiel was one of the Major Prophets in the Old Testament. He had clear and vivid prophecies and visions. However, very little is known about his personal life. He was one of the thousands of young men deported from Judah to Babylon. Up until those tragic days, Ezekiel was being trained for the priesthood.
Like Isaiah, Ezekiel had a shocking encounter with God.
He was never the same!
Whereas Isaiah had warned Judah of the coming storm – Ezekiel spoke in the middle of it. He prophesied in the middle of terrible defeat.
God described Ezekiel as a watchman on the walls of the city, capturing the personal nature of his ministry. Dangerous, responsible, crucial…
A central part of Ezekiel's message was the importance of each person's accountability before God. He taught the exiles that God expected personal worship and obedience from each of them.
Today's verses are a reminder of what happens to the disobedient:
"…you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian…Your heart was filled with pride because of your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground…All who knew you were appalled at your fate. And you have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more." (Ezekiel 28:16-17, 19)
Some of the phrases in this passage describe the human king of Tyre. Tyre was the powerful capital of Phoenicia. It was a highly prosperous and beautiful city. However, pride caused its ruin.
At times, though, Ezekiel describes the king in terms that could not apply to a mere human.Therefore, he may have been condemning not only the king of Tyre, but Satan, who had tempted and motivated this king to sin.
And we all know that pride caused his ruin.
I take two messages out of this passage.
First of all, there will be an end to prideful ways,and haughty people. There will be an end to Satan's rule. The long fall from Heaven is only the first judgment of God against our enemy. He has a final judgment day ahead of him. And after that day, he "will exist no more." I take comfort in that fact.
God cares about justice. Wickedness will not win out in the end.
The second message I take out of this passage is a warning. God exacts punishment against those who proudly set themselves up. He will not tolerate those who do not yield to His Sovereignty. He demands fearful worship, and a heart yielded to His purposes. Pride will cause ruin.
"Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18)
Proud people are rarely aware of their weaknesses. They think they are above the frailties that plague others. However, in this state of mind, they are easily tempted – they are easily tripped up.
Proud people seldom realize that pride is their problem.
So, it's time to take inventory. It's time to let Ezekiel speak to us.
Are we proud of our *beauty* – our accomplishments, our success? Do we love splendor and money more than God? Have we sacrificed our wisdom in favor of wealth?
Listen to the warning – return to true worship.
Avoid the long fall from grace.
"I will not endure conceit and pride. I will search for faithful people to be my companions."(Psalm 101:5-6)
Oh Lord, count me among the faithful…count me among the humble.
It's time to do some personal accounting - are you *overdrawn* in the pride column?
"When in doubt, search God out!"