Ezekiel Chapter 30
Lessons from the text
The Root Cause
A young child loves to ask the question, “Why?” As adults, this can become frustrating, especially when a child asks, “Why?” and we honestly do not know. Why is the sky blue? While there is a scientific explanation involving light absorption and deflection, such an explanation still does not satisfy. After all, why does the earth contain particles that reflect only the specific light so that the sky appears blue to our eyes?
No matter how hard you try to explain away the “Why,” someone can always ask “Why” to your explanation, with one exception. The only explanation that cannot be explained any further is the declaration that something is the way it is because God liked it. Why is the sky blue? Because God liked the idea that the sky should be blue, and so He made it that way.
This is the root cause. Everything that was created was created because God liked it. Why did God create anything? Because it pleased Him to do so, which is another way of saying that He liked it. What does this has to do with judgment on Egypt?
God states that He will break Egypt’s arm (v. 22). The king of Babylon will come up against Egypt. Why? Because God will give him the power to do so. Why? Because it pleases God to do so.
Throughout human history, nations have risen and fallen. Why? Because it would please God that a nation would thrive and it would please God that the nation would fall. No matter how many explanations humans give for history, culture, or even the creation itself, the only explanation that truly answers “why,” the root cause that is at the source of all other causes, is the simple truth that all things happen because it pleased God that it happens.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1-3 The day of the Lord is the day that God passes judgment on the world for its sins. Interestingly, this day is associated with the time that the heathen (ungodly) will have authority over the earth; as judgment for its sin, humanity will be subject to the ungodly.
4-7 God declares that not only Egypt but also any nation that allies itself with Egypt or supports Egypt will be defeated.
8 God repeats that the purpose of judgment is to make people aware of His authority so that they can repent of their evil. See Ezekiel 29:21.
9a Messengers will carry the news of Egypt’s destruction to the neighboring areas, and those who hear will be greatly grieved by the news.
9b Even if God’s judgments do not happen instantly, they will happen. All humans can be assured that whatever God says will happen will one day come to pass.
10-11 God declares that Nebuchadnezzar will have a part in the destruction of Egypt. While the king of Babylon did not destroy Egypt, he did bring it under subjection to Babylon and forced it to pay tribute. God is stating that Babylon will have military success over the Egyptians.
12 This verse has two possible interpretations: Babylon will invade Egypt during a time of drought or the spiritual source of life of Egypt (analogous with the Nile River) will be cut off and withered. Either way, Egypt will be in a weakened condition when Babylon invades and will therefore be overrun. As for the land, after Babylon’s conquest, Egypt will no longer have control over as much territory.
13 God is not merely judging the Egyptians; He is judging the Egyptians gods. As the only true God, He makes a point of demonstrating the lack of divinity of all other gods so that humans will be able to clearly see that He alone is God. Compare with Exodus 12:12.
14-19 God lists the major cities of Egypt and repeats the thought that He passes judgments so that people will realize that He alone is God (v. 8). Note that pride (pomp) is listed as one of Egypt’s sins and that the result is the captivity of their children.
20 Ezekiel begins a new message given about two months after the above message (Ezekiel 29:1).
21-26 The arm of Pharaoh was broken when Babylon defeated the Egyptian armies at the river Euphrates eighteen years ago (Jer. 46:2). God states that this wound will not heal. Instead, worse will come to Egypt. Note that God will break Egypt; even though He will send Nebuchadnezzar against Egypt, God is the source of destruction against Egypt. God uses His creation, including humans, to enact His will in the world. Just because something may appear to have human cause is not evidence that God did not have a role to play in the event. On “they shall know,” see verse 19.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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