Ezekiel 12 & Psalm 51

Ezekiel 12

    The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house. As for you, son of man, prepare for yourself an exile's baggage, and go into exile by day in their sight. You shall go like an exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house. You shall bring out your baggage by day in their sight, as baggage for exile, and you shall go out yourself at evening in their sight, as those do who must go into exile. In their sight dig through the wall, and bring your baggage out through it. In their sight you shall lift the baggage upon your shoulder and carry it out at dusk. You shall cover your face that you may not see the land, for I have made you a sign for the house of Israel.”

    And I did as I was commanded. I brought out my baggage by day, as baggage for exile, and in the evening I dug through the wall with my own hands. I brought out my baggage at dusk, carrying it on my shoulder in their sight.

    In the morning the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, ‘What are you doing?’ Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: This oracle concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel who are in it.’ Say, ‘I am a sign for you: as I have done, so shall it be done to them. They shall go into exile, into captivity.’ And the prince who is among them shall lift his baggage upon his shoulder at dusk, and shall go out. They shall dig through the wall to bring him out through it. He shall cover his face, that he may not see the land with his eyes. And I will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare. And I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, yet he shall not see it, and he shall die there. And I will scatter toward every wind all who are around him, his helpers and all his troops, and I will unsheathe the sword after them. And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them among the countries. But I will let a few of them escape from the sword, from famine and pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the nations where they go, and may know that I am the LORD.”

    And the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink water with trembling and with anxiety. And say to the people of the land, Thus says the Lord GOD concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the land of Israel: They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink water in dismay. In this way her land will be stripped of all it contains, on account of the violence of all those who dwell in it. And the inhabited cities shall be laid waste, and the land shall become a desolation; and you shall know that I am the LORD.”

    And the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, what is this proverb that you have about the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days grow long, and every vision comes to nothing’? Tell them therefore, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: I will put an end to this proverb, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.’ But say to them, The days are near, and the fulfillment of every vision. For there shall be no more any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD; I will speak the word that I will speak, and it will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, but in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it, declares the Lord GOD.”

    And the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, ‘The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off.’ Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: None of my words will be delayed any longer, but the word that I speak will be performed, declares the Lord GOD.”

(Ezekiel 12 ESV)

Psalm 51

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

    Have mercy on me, O God,
        according to your steadfast love;
    according to your abundant mercy
        blot out my transgressions.
    Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
        and cleanse me from my sin!
    For I know my transgressions,
        and my sin is ever before me.
    Against you, you only, have I sinned
        and done what is evil in your sight,
    so that you may be justified in your words
        and blameless in your judgment.
    Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
        and in sin did my mother conceive me.
    Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
        and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
    Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
        wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
    Let me hear joy and gladness;
        let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
    Hide your face from my sins,
        and blot out all my iniquities.
    Create in me a clean heart, O God,
        and renew a right spirit within me.
    Cast me not away from your presence,
        and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
    Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
        and uphold me with a willing spirit.
    Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
        and sinners will return to you.
    Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
        O God of my salvation,
        and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
    O Lord, open my lips,
        and my mouth will declare your praise.
    For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
        you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
    The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
        a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
    Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
        build up the walls of Jerusalem;
    then will you delight in right sacrifices,
        in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
        then bulls will be offered on your altar.

(Psalm 51 ESV)

The following is taken from D.A. Carson's For the Love of God...


THE SUBSTANCE OF EZEKIEL 12 is easy to understand.

One can imagine the power in Ezekiel’s symbol-laden actions. In full view of the exiles, he packs his meager belongings in exactly the same way he would if he were a Jerusalemite preparing for a seven-hundred-mile march into exile. What he could bring would have to be carried on his shoulders. At night he digs through the mud-brick walls of his own house. Probably this symbolizes the futile attempt at breakout made by Zedekiah and those immediately around him (2 Kings 25:4; Jer. 39:4): they fled, but they could not escape. All of this Ezekiel does without saying a word, and then the next morning he delivers his message: “I am a sign to you. As I have done, so it will be done to them. They will go into exile as captives” (12:11)—with further explanations following (12:12-16).

The second symbol-laden action adds a layer to something already in place. So far as his public eating is concerned, Ezekiel is still restricted to the starvation rations imposed in 4:9-17. Now as he eats them, he shudders and puts on a dis- play of terror and despair (12:17-20).

And then the stunning application. The people have heard a lot of prophets, and they have grown so cynical that they are circulating a couple of proverbs: “The days go by and every vision comes to nothing” (12:22); “The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future” (12:27). After all, not only are there false prophets around, but even the true prophets like Ezekiel and (in Jerusalem) Jeremiah keep promising the destruction of the city while years pass with its mighty walls intact. Jeremiah has been at it for decades. Doubtless God sees the long delay as powerful evidence of his forbearance and mercy, providing multiplied opportunities for repentance; the people simply grow cynical. So judgment will certainly fall, Ezekiel says—and the popular proverbs will be destroyed.

Peter applies the same point to Christians, drawing from another Old Testament account. After the warnings began, the Flood was decades coming, and no one was ready for it except Noah and his family. So it is not surprising that in the “last days”—the days between the first and second comings of Christ, the days in which we live—new generations of scoffers arise and make a virtue of the same wretched cynicism: “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:3-4). But the Flood came. And so will the fire.