Ezekiel Chapter 35
Lessons from the text
The Consequence for Taking from God’s People
Edom decided that it would conquer the land God had given to Israel. The Edomites thought that they would take advantage of God’s people and take their land from them. How does God respond? He declares that war will consume Edom (v. 10-11).
To take anything away from God’s people is to incur the wrath of God. What does this mean? It means that if you take anything away from God’s people, God will respond as if you had taken something away from Him. And God’s sense of justice is to return your own evil on your head. So, if you think that you will steal land from God’s people, God will make sure someone steals your land from you. It is a dangerous thing to attack anything that belongs to God, including His people.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1-8 Mount Seir belongs to the descendants of Esau (Edom), Jacob’s (Israel’s) brother (Deut. 2:5). Because God had given Seir to Esau, He told Moses to leave the Edomites alone; God explicitly commanded the nation of Israel to not try to invade or conquer Edom. Nonetheless, in a few generations Edom came with the Ammonites and Moabites to conquer Israel (II Chro. 20:10-11). God judged Edom for coming up against Israel, but since that time Edom has been hostile towards Israel (II Chro. 20:22-24). Edom has ignored the fact that they are brothers to Israel, going so far as to attack Israel when it was weak from God’s judgments (v. 5). Since Edom has taken delight in shedding blood, God will judge the nation by shedding its blood; all the warriors that came in and went out to conquer will be lying slain throughout the country. This is an example of Jesus’ proverb, “all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” (Mt. 26:52). God will judge all those who delight in violence.
9 God repeats that the purpose of His judgments is to make Himself known to the world (v. 4, Eze. 34:30).
10-12 God expounds the reason why He is judging Edom; it has ignored the covenant God made with Israel to give them the land of Canaan, and the nation has blasphemed God. That is, the Edomites have mocked God, believing Him to not be a god at all, since they believe that they have a right to trample over His people and take their land away from them. Those who attack God’s people are actually rebelling against God, for they are denying His authority and refusing to acknowledge His presence. God takes it personally when people attack what is His. Note that once again, even as God judges, He is trying to make people aware of Himself (v. 9).
13-14 Because of their boasting against God and His people, Edom will be judged when the righteous rejoice.
15 God’s sense of justice is that He returns one’s sins on oneself; if one delights in violence and taking advantage of the weak, God will make one the victim of violence and make one be taken advantaged of. Without repentance, one will have all of one’s sins applied back on oneself in judgment. God is exceedingly just in doing so because He has clearly stated how to receive forgiveness for one’s sins through confession and repentance (I Jn. 1:9).
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