God gives Ezekiel a series of messages that predict the conditions and details of the second deportation.
Ezekiel Chapter 12
Lessons from the text
What You Say Is True, But For Somebody Else The Jews of Ezekiel's day were in a lukewarm condition; they believed in God enough to believe that Ezekiel was speaking the truth but they were cold towards God in that they did not think that truth was applicable to them. God's response was simple; since they did not believe that it would happen to them, God made sure that it happened to them quickly. Ezekiel began prophesying six years before the destruction of Jerusalem. Since at this point he had already spent over a year lying on his side in his house, that means that it could not have been more than five years until the prophecies of this chapter were fulfilled. God really did make sure it came to pass quickly.
Today, many people who attend church believe that they are all right with God since they believe that there is a God. They will nod along with what the preacher says and acknowledge that he is speaking the truth about God. Yet when it comes to the realization that God will judge and send to hell all those who commit sin or delight in those who commit sin (support their cause, cheer them on, are pleased to be in their company without being grieved in their souls for the lost condition of their souls, etc.), these same people will not acknowledge that the truth applies to them. They will not realize that they may stand guilty before a righteous God for failing to shout warnings to those headed to hell.
Ezekiel was charged as a watchman. If he failed to speak the truth by giving warnings of the coming judgment, then God would require the blood of sinners at his hand; Ezekiel would have been held as guitly as the one who committed sin (Eze. 3:17-21). If God's people, who attend church and hear the truth preached that warns of the coming judgment on sinners, go outside of the church and live their lives as if there were no judgment, then they are as guilty as the vilest sinner. For example, to brush aside the fact that someone you know has begun an affair is to ignore the fact that an adulterer cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. If you stand by without ever trying to intercede (by praying or confrontation depending on the situation), then you are endorsing that person's behavior; you have accepted sin as acceptable and therefore stand guilty before God.
This is not something to be taken lightly. All those who believe in God should also be seriously grieved to watch others commit sin. While you cannot always speak up to that person (as sometimes it will only succeed in driving a person away), you can always pray and ask God if there is anything that you can say or do to lead that person to repentence. Jesus calls believers the salt of the earth, but if the Christians loose our saltiness, if believers loose the ability to recognize sin and realize that judgment could come on our generation, then Christians are worthy to be caste aside and trampled under foot (Mt. 5:13). Search your heart and make sure that you are not brushing aside the truths of the Gospel.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 No specific time frame is given for this message, but it must come to Ezekiel after he has completed the sign of lying on his side since he is required to leave his house to complete God’s instructions.
2 See Isaiah 6:9-11.
3-6 God commands Ezekiel to pack like he is going away never to return and to leave the city by digging a hole in the wall. Noteworthy is that this is to be done at twilight; while the light of day is fading, the prophet is going away into the night. Even so, the Jews will be leaving the light of God’s blessings and entering into the darkness of the consequences of their sins. Also vital is the thought that Ezekiel must work to leave; instead of strolling out of an open gate, God’s people must dig through God’s protective wall of conviction and chastisement if they want to abandon fellowship with Him. It is a blessing to know that God does not make it easy to walk away from Him.
7-15 After Ezekiel perform God’s command, the people of the captivity are curious as to what he is doing, which opens the door for Ezekiel to deliver a message to the people. The prophecy he speaks is fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar takes Jerusalem and king Zedekiah flees by night through the gate between the city walls only to be captured, blinded, and taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar (II Ki. 25:4-7).
16 Even in judgment, God’s grace is present; He will leave a remnant that will proclaim that these terrible things have come to Jerusalem because of the sins of the people. God’s ultimate purpose in judging Jerusalem is to bring the people to the awareness that He is the true God.
17-20 Compare with Lamentations 5:1-9; once deported, the surviving Jews will have a difficult time supplying their needs. Once again, God states that He is passing these judgments as a means to make Israel realize that He is the true God.
21-28 After seeing Ezekiel's signs and hearing his prophecies, the people do not take heed. They distance themselves from the warnings, believing that Ezekiel is speaking about what will happen to future generations. God responds by stating that He will prove to them the error of their ways by making Ezekiel's words come to pass quickly. God's words are to be taken near and dear to one's heart; they are not to be brushed aside as being true but irrelevant to one's life. The Scriptures are to have an immediate impact in the heart of the one who hears them.
God is giving Ezekiel the prophecies in order; first Ezekiel is to lay siege against Jerusalem, then Jerusalem is to be conquered and the temple forsaken, the king and princes are to be captured and taken to Babylon, and the people are to struggle in the new conditions.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word. Please comment below to share what you learned from today's lesson.