Ezekiel 12:17-20 (NIV) 17 The word of the LORD came to me: 18 “Son of man, tremble as you eat your food, and shudder in fear as you drink your water. 19 Say to the people of the land: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says about those living in Jerusalem and in the land of Israel: They will eat their food in anxiety and drink their water in despair, for their land will be stripped of everything in it because of the violence of all who live there. 20 The inhabited towns will be laid waste and the land will be desolate. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'”
On verses 17-20: The Lord gives Ezekiel a message for the people still living in Jerusalem and in the land of Israel. The Lord tells Ezekiel to act out the fear and the trembling that these people will experience because of the coming desolation that they will face. In this case they“will know that I am the LORD” not by His presence but by His absence from the city.
What can we learn from this? Sometimes, for those who are especially stubborn and slow to learn, the only way to teach them that they have taken a great blessing for granted is to take the blessing away, at least temporarily. This is what God did with the people living in Jerusalem and the land of Israel, as He removes His presence and protection from them and allows the people living there to feel the fear and trembling of not having God’s presence and protection in the city.
Ezekiel 12:21-25 (NIV) 21 The word of the LORD came to me: 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb you have in the land of Israel: ‘The days go by and every vision comes to nothing’? 23 Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to put an end to this proverb, and they will no longer quote it in Israel.’ Say to them, ‘The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled. 24 For there will be no more false visions or flattering divinations among the people of Israel. 25 But I the LORD will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay. For in your days, you rebellious house, I will fulfill whatever I say, declares the Sovereign LORD.'”
On verses 21-25: The spiritual atmosphere of the people living in Jerusalem and the land of Israel was one of apathy and unbelief. One reason is because so many of them had turned to false religions which did not deliver on their promises. They would consult idols but would only receive “false visions” and “flattering divinations” (v24). Another reason is because they were not patient enough to wait for the real God and to trust in Him. As a result a common saying they would say about prophets (whether it was God’s prophets or false prophets) was “The days go by and every vision comes to nothing” (v22).
In response to their apathy and unbelief toward visions and prophecy, God says that He will put an end to false visions and flattering divinations among the people of Israel (v24). God also says that the visions God inspires “shall be fulfilled without delay (v25).
What can we learn from this?
The spiritual atmosphere of any environment is heavily dependent on what the people in that environment believe about God and His Word and to what extent they truly depend on the Lord versus depending on idols. For example, if you want the atmosphere of your home to be filled with God’s presence, be a family that worships, prays, and talks about Jesus.
God is faithful to keep His promises (v25). We should be as well.
When we place our trust in idols, all we get are false visions and flattery.
Ezekiel 12:26-28 (NIV) 26 The word of the LORD came to me: 27 “Son of man, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future.’ 28 “Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign LORD.'”
On verses 26-28: Here we see another layer to the apathy and unbelief of those living in Jerusalem and the land of Israel. They assumed that the visions Ezekiel was sharing were “for many years from now”, “about the distant future” (v27) and did not concern them. In response, the Lord says that none of His promises will be delayed any longer and will be fulfilled (v28).
What can we learn from this? God is not slow in keeping His Word, but is patiently waiting for everyone to come to repentance. As 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God is more patient and more compassionate than we are. Thus He waits for people to respond to Him.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always faithful to keep Your Words and that at the right time You will fulfill every one of them. Thank You for sending us Your Son Jesus so that we could be forgiven, accepted and brought close to You. Thank You for all Your patience with me. May my home and the places where I have influence be filled with an atmosphere that believes God, worships God and trusts God, believing that with Him all things are possible. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!