8 “‘But I will spare some, for some of you will escape the sword when you are scattered among the lands and nations. 9 Then in the nations where they have been carried captive, those who escape will remember Me—how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from Me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after their idols. They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done and for all their detestable practices. 10 And they will know that I am the Lord; I did not threaten in vain to bring this calamity on them.
Now we turn to the book of Ezekiel which was written while he was in exile in Babylon from 593 to 571 BC. A little background on Ezekiel and Judah – in 597, following a rebellion against Babylon, Ezekiel was among the large group of Judeans taken into captivity by the Babylonians where he spent the rest of his life. A further deportation of Jews from Jerusalem to Babylon occurred in 586 when a second unsuccessful rebellion resulted in the destruction of the city and its Temple and the exile of the remaining elements of the royal court. The various dates given in the book suggest that Ezekiel was 25 when he went into exile, 30 when he received his prophetic call. Ezekiel’s full name was Ezekiel ben-Buzi and some statements found in rabbinic literature posit that Ezekiel was the son of Jeremiah, who was (also) called “Buzi” because he was despised by the Jews.
Now with all of that being said for background let’s look at today’s verses. It may not appear so, but verse eight above is a positive statement by God after many general statements of judgment that He is bringing against Israel. A remnant will be saved! If you wonder what caused such a seemingly harsh judgment we only have to read the next verse where God states He had been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from Me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after their idols as well as the evil they have done and for all their detestable practices which included child sacrifice among all the other evil practices. Of course as verse ten shows us this should not have been a surprise because He, through His prophets, had let His people know this calamity would come if they did not change their ways.
Through these verses we see God’s divine direction in handling sin and national sin especially. Specifically sin leads to judgment, judgment leads to repentance, repentance leads to forgiveness, forgiveness leads to reconciliation and reconciliation leads to a return to communion with God. This sin was very specific in the sense it caused by adulterous hearts and their eyes, which have lusted after their idols. It was all about chasing after other gods and idols.
We need to be careful as we can be seduced in chasing after other idols such as success, money, possessions, sports (football, basketball, baseball, golf, racing, etc.), and even fitness. The question is where do we place God compared to these? Do our eyes and hearts still place God and the worship of Him as first in our lives or do some of these other things begin to replace and eventually replace God? Ezekiel has let those in exile know exactly why they ended up in exile.
It’s Monday, have a Great Week and remember how blessed we are by the Free Gift of Grace God has provided for us. Our heavenly Father is an incredibly loving God to offer such a Free Gift.
Added Note: On Monday I wrote Ezekiel’s full name was Ezekiel ben-Buzi and some statements found in rabbinic literature posit that Ezekiel was the son of Jeremiah, who was (also) called “Buzi” because he was despised by the Jews. Some have asked for a source for that information. It may be found here in Wikipedia for Ezekiel under World Views/Jewish tradition.