God uses repetition to emphasis that the coming judgment is a result of Israel’s sins.
Ezekiel Chapter 7
Lessons from the text
The Stumblingblock of Iniquity God says that despite the apparent repentance of the Jews, they would be unable to satisfy their souls. They would mourn, put on sackcloth, and be ashamed, yet they would still be unable to fulfill their needs. God explains this unfulfillment as a result of their stumblingblock of iniquity.
Sin, once it has entered into your life, becomes a stumblingblock to you; it prevents you from recognizing the truth or being able to perform the course of action that you want to perform because you know it is the right thing to do. That is, your sin blinds you to certain truths. For instance, if you have an anger problem, more than likely you do not know how to express frustration or disappointment; you are blind to the correct way to vent your emotions and so have emotional outbursts. Even if you do not want to loose your temper, you find yourself loosing it again and again. Your anger has become a stumblingblock between you and righteousness, causing tension between you and other people and potentially pulling you farther and farther away from God.
Returning to the Jews, they had put so much trust in their own riches and idols that even when their altars would be torn down and they would loose all of their money, they would still be unable to satisfy their souls. Their sin had blinded them to the point that they could no longer turn their hearts to the things that do satisfy; namely, a relationship with God and a righteous life. Even though they would perform the outward signs of repentance (sitting in sackcloth and shaving their heads) and would feel the correct emotion of repentance (shame at their sins), they still would not find comfort and forgiveness. The truth of how to be at peace with God had been lost in the culture of sin and idolatry that they had built in their society. Sin had become such a stumblingblock that they could no longer reach the truth.
If there is sin in your life, do not allow it to become a stumblingblock in your life; cast aside the sin. You can do this by telling God about that sin and asking for forgiveness and help in conquering and removing it. God is able to remove sin from your life when you surrender your life to Him and allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life to teach you the ways of righteousness and obedience to God. Reading the Scriptures everyday will help you hear the Holy Ghost and understand how to have a relationship with God. Through continued prayer and submission to the Holy Ghost, the stumblingblocks of your iniquity will be removed bit by bit until you have peace with God and those around you.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 God gives Ezekiel another prophecy to speak against Jerusalem as he performs the sign of laying siege against the city (Eze. 4:7).
2-9 God repeats that an end is come three times. Four times He says that He will recompense their abominations on them. God is making it clear that He is not angry with the Jews just to be angry; He is angry because of their sins. This repetition also makes it clear that the Jews will have to answer for their sinful choices.
10-12 God discloses when He ceases to extend grace and turns to judge a nation; God’s mercy runs out when the people have allowed the sin to sprout and the sin is about to burst forth in bloom. When sin has taken such a strong hold over the people, it is time to stop giving space to repent and decree judgment. Noteworthy is that until the decree comes to pass, there is still time to repent; God’s judgment may not change (the consequences of sin may still come), but one can at least escape the wrath of God against one’s soul by repentance.
13-15 God makes it clear that there will not be a chance for redemption for the current generation; even though they are still alive, they will be unable to buy back, or redeem, their possessions. Every Jew will be touched by God’s judgment in one form or another. Noteworthy is that during judgment, even if one makes the declaration of strength (blowing the trumpet), one will not have the strength to fight against God’s wrath. All of one’s boastings is suddenly useless.
16-19 Despite the outward appearances of repenting, the people will fall short of true repentance; though they mourn for their sins by sitting in sackcloth, they are still looking to their wealth and material substance to deliver them from persecution and to provide comfort. Instead of seeking spiritual goods to satisfy the spiritual needs of their souls, they are seeking material goods. Therefore, they are unable to attain forgiveness for their sins; before they reach God they are stumbling from their trust in material substance.
20-22 God established the temple in Jerusalem with great glory and grand promises (II Chro. 7:1-22). However, the Jews defiled it by placing idols in the outer court and within the temple (II Ki. 21:1-15). Since the people have chosen to pollute what is holy, God will allow the pollution to reach its conclusion, which is that God’s divine protection will leave, and the temple will be able to be overrun by sinful men. This is fulfilled when the Chaldeans raid and destroy the temple (II Ki. 25:8-17). Compare with Romans 1:28. There, Paul states that God’s judgment against the Romans was to give them over to their desires. Here, God is saying that since the Jews have chosen man’s way over God’s way, God will remove Himself and allow men to do as they please, which will ultimately lead to their own destruction.
23-27 God repeats the beginning of the prophecy; He will treat the Jews according to their sins. Through this judgment, they will be forced to acknowledge that the Lord is the one true God.
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