Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography on Flickr
By Lisa Nordell-Detres
The focus of God’s message so far through Ezekiel was to the Jewish people of Israel and Judah. As we read towards the end of the book, the focus spreads out to include the world and the Jews’ neighbors in the Middle East and Africa. Prophecies of destruction were laid out to Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia (Ezekiel 25); Tyre (Ez. 26-28), Sidon (Ez. 28); Egypt (Ez. 29-32), Ethiopia, Libya, Lidia (Ez. 30); and Mt. Seir (Ez. 35). The destruction of Babylon was prophesied in Jeremiah 50-51. Don’t recognize some of the countries listed? That is because the prophecies came true; some were utterly destroyed while others like Egypt, Ethiopia and Libya never returned to their ancient splendor.
Why were these countries targeted for the wrath of God? Each played a part in the oppression and conquest of Israel and Judah. God kept His word that was spoken to His people way back in Genesis 12:3:
“I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (NKJV)
In Ezekiel 33:11, God makes His wishes clear, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” He then continues in the next nine verses to elaborate on how He will judge people according to the state of their hearts when they die.
• Righteous people who fall into sin will not be saved on the merits of their former virtue (verses 12, 18)
• Wicked people who turn from their evil ways will be saved because of their new found righteousness (verses 12, 14-16, 19)
• Righteous people who trust in their good works will not be saved (v.13)
God knew the hearts of humanity, because He also addressed the objections that He knew would follow, “The way of the Lord is not fair,” to which God’s response is swift and sure, “But it is their way that is not fair.” (v. 17, NKJV)
We now have the perspective of hindsight to understand that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for all was the most unfair event in the history of humanity. He did not see it as unfair, but essential to restore us to the relationship with God as originally intended. Even though we now live under the law of Grace rather than the Mosaic Law, God expects us to be holy (Leviticus 11:44), and repeats this expectation in I Peter 1:16. What this means is that we should be the same people the other 6 days and 23 hours as we are while attending church.
Many people feel this is unfair and too difficult to even try, given our sinful nature, but if we want God to be fair about that, there is nothing we could do to earn an eternity in Heaven with Him. Despite this fact, God is gracious and provided the Way. THAT is so not fair!
Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.
Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.