“and say to her: “‘This is what the LORD says: I am against you. I will draw my sword from its scabbard and cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked.”
~ Ezekiel 21:3
Hi James and Ellen,
How do you decide what television program to watch? How do you decide what game to play? How do you decide what book to read? If you have two choices of what to do, do you flip a quarter, select a playing card or draw a paper slip out of a cap to decide what television program to watch, game to play or book to read? If you were alive somewhere around 2600 years ago and if you were two Babylonia nation kids, you might see your dad writing the two choices that he has to choose from on two separate arrows, talking to his pet idol and/or carefully examining the color and configuration of sheep livers. Do you find it hard to make a choice? Do you need help to make a choice? Does your ma need your dad’s help to buy a new dress? Did your dad need your ma’s help to pick out the pants and shirt that he is wearing today?
A deliberate action that results in a consequence – either good or bad, begins with making a choice. Do you keep up on the news? If you keep up on the news, do you remember what some of yesterday’s major news stories were about? A political leader made a choice to send explicit messages to young guys who were working as pages. A young dad made a choice to drive to an Amish schoolhouse to shoot young girls. A country is making the choice to pursue the development of nuclear weaponry. The political leader disgraced himself through his choice to send lurid, inappropriate communiqués to young pages. The milk truck driver’s irrational choice to kill himself after he inexplicably murdered several little Amish girls has left three little kids no longer having a dad on planet Earth. The rogue country is facing sanctions that will negatively affect its populace because of its choice to become a world bully and because of its open rancor and animosity against guys, gals and kids who are Jews and against any country that or people group who will take the side of the country of Israel. How often do you hear a feel good news report? How often do you hear a news story being slanted to glamorize the ugliness of the story? How often do you hear a news reporter report on the root of the story that he or she is reporting? Are you learning from the consequences of the choices – both good and bad, that other kids – and guys and gals, who you know and/or hear about are making?
Have you learned anything from the choices that God’s specially chosen guys and gals – the Israelite or Jew people group guys and gals, made? Your grandpaa often writes about God giving His specially chosen guys and gals a land area to always to have to live in as their very own if . . . the caveat, qualification or forewarning of the ‘if’ is what God would do to His specially chosen guys and gals if they did not faithfully, obediently worship only Him. When God’s specially chosen guys and gals made the choice to not to only faithfully, obediently worship Him, God had no other choice but to do what He said that He would do – which would be to destroy them. Ezekiel 21 is one of the most appalling, sad chapters to read in the entire Bible. One of God’s major spokesmen – who is Ezekiel, clearly outlines in this chapter what God is going to do to His specially chosen guys and gals because of the rebellious, depraved choices that they were making. Ezekiel had to make a choice on whether or not to communicate to God’s specially chosen guys and gals who were living in the city of Jerusalem what God in verse 3 asks him to do, “and say to her: “‘This is what the LORD says: I am against you. I will draw my sword from its scabbard and cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked.” God would use guys from the country of Babylonia to do what He said that He would do. It was not an idle threat from God; this is exactly what God would do to His specially chosen guys and gals who were living in the city of Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar was God’s choice to be the king of a county – which was the country of Babylonia, to sound the battle cry against His specially chosen guys and gals who were living in the city of Jerusalem, to siege the city of Jerusalem, to build ramps against the walls of the city of Jerusalem and to use battering rams to open up breaches in the walls of the city of Jerusalem. God first let Nebuchadnezzar make a choice on whether or not to destroy the city of Jerusalem or to destroy the city of Rabbah. The city of Rabbah is today the city of Amman. The city of Amman is the country of Jordan’s capital. Nebuchadnezzar used a couple of arrows – one arrow having the city of Jerusalem written on it and the other arrow having the city of Rabbah written on it, to decide which city to destroy. Nebuchadnezzar would also ask his pet gods and look at sheep livers to know which city to destroy. As Ezekiel was telling his people group’s compatriots what was going to happen to them real soon, Ezekiel could only make groaning sounds because of the broken heart that he had and the bitter grief that he was feeling. Ezekiel knew that it would not be long before his friends – even the guys and gals who had faithfully, obediently done the ‘if’ for God’s sake, would have their hearts melt from fear, their hands fall limp from anguish, their spirits faint from distress and their knees go weak from dread. Ezekiel over and over again used a polished, sharpened sword to describe how God was going to completely destroy His specially chosen guys and gals who were living in the city of Jerusalem. Ezekiel used this polished, sharpened sword to over and over again to disclose the kind of slaughter that God was going to incur on His specially chosen guys and gals. Even though it was God’s choice to use Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian army to wreak havoc on the city of Jerusalem and on the guys and gals who were living in the city of Jerusalem, God was very clear through Ezekiel that it was His sword that He would take out of His scabbard to . . . your choice is to always obey the good news that God has given you to obey.
Ezekiel 21 (745)