Ezekiel 11:1-4 (NIV) 1 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the gate of the house of the LORD that faces east. There at the entrance to the gate were twenty-five men, and I saw among them Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, leaders of the people. 2 The LORD said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who are plotting evil and giving wicked advice in this city. 3 They say, ‘Will it not soon be time to build houses? This city is a cooking pot, and we are the meat.’ 4 Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, son of man.”
On verses 1-4: What do Jaazaniah, Pelatiah and these other 23 men mean when they say, “This city is a cooking pot, and we are the meat” (v3)? This is them bragging that they believe they are safe and secure within the walls of Jerusalem, like meat safely kept in a pot. Despite the fact that the people of Judah have already suffered attacks, invasions and deportations at the hand of the Babylonians, these 25 leaders in Jerusalem scoff at the idea that a foreign enemy would take them down again. Rather they believe it will soon be time for them to look at building houses and making long term investments in Jerusalem. As we will see, theirs was a false sense of security.
Ezekiel 11:5-12 (NIV) 5 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon me, and he told me to say: “This is what the LORD says: That is what you are saying, O house of Israel, but I know what is going through your mind. 6 You have killed many people in this city and filled its streets with the dead. 7 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: The bodies you have thrown there are the meat and this city is the pot, but I will drive you out of it. 8 You fear the sword, and the sword is what I will bring against you, declares the Sovereign LORD. 9 I will drive you out of the city and hand you over to foreigners and inflict punishment on you. 10 You will fall by the sword, and I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD. 11 This city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be the meat in it; I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. 12 And you will know that I am the LORD, for you have not followed my decrees or kept my laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you.”
On verses 5-12: Here God responds to these 25 leaders and their mistaken belief that they are safe and secure in Jerusalem. Through a prophetic message given to Ezekiel, God responds by pointing out that:
He is aware of the ways these leaders have murdered their own people in Jerusalem (v6). Apparently these leaders had capitalized on the fact that Jerusalem was in a weakened state and had taken it as an opportunity for their own personal gain;
Whereas these leaders think they are safe in Jerusalem like meat in a pot, the victims they have killed are actually the ones who are “the meat” in that their bodies will stay in Jerusalem while these 25 leaders will be driven out of Jerusalem by foreigners (v9). They will fall by the sword (v10) and be judged by God (v10-11) for failing to obey God’s laws and conforming the pattern of the nations around them (v12)
What can we learn from this? Everyone is looking for a pot, something they can hide in to feel safe and secure. But the only real “pot” there is, the only true hiding place and refuge we got, is Jesus Christ. If you really want to be safe, secure and at peace, put your hope not in your environment, your toys, or your own cleverness. Put your hope in Jesus Christ.
Ezekiel 11:13 (NIV) 13 Now as I was prophesying, Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. Then I fell facedown and cried out in a loud voice, “Ah, Sovereign LORD! Will you completely destroy the remnant of Israel?”
On verse 13: As Ezekiel is prophesying, one of the men he was prophesying against – Pelatiah son of Benaiah – dies. What a powerful proof that what Ezekiel was prophesying was true and that truly these leaders were not safe within Jerusalem’s walls as they thought. But notice Ezekiel’s reaction to Pelatiah’s death. He is not prideful but concerned and compassionate for the remnant of Israel.
What can we learn from this? When God uses you in a powerful way, do not gloat about it. Rather, with the Holy Spirit’s help, set your heart on God and have a compassionate heart toward people.
Jesus, You are my one true refuge and my only true hope. At all times may my heart be set on You and may I have a compassionate heart toward people. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!