Ezekiel 25:1-11 (NIV) 1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face against the Ammonites and prophesy against them. 3 Say to them, ‘Hear the word of the Sovereign LORD. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you said “Aha!” over my sanctuary when it was desecrated and over the land of Israel when it was laid waste and over the people of Judah when they went into exile, 4 therefore I am going to give you to the people of the East as a possession. They will set up their camps and pitch their tents among you; they will eat your fruit and drink your milk. 5 I will turn Rabbah into a pasture for camels and Ammon into a resting place for sheep. Then you will know that I am the LORD. 6 For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet, rejoicing with all the malice of your heart against the land of Israel, 7 therefore I will stretch out my hand against you and give you as plunder to the nations. I will cut you off from the nations and exterminate you from the countries. I will destroy you, and you will know that I am the LORD.'” 8 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘Because Moab and Seir said, “Look, the house of Judah has become like all the other nations,” 9 therefore I will expose the flank of Moab, beginning at its frontier towns–Beth Jeshimoth, Baal Meon and Kiriathaim–the glory of that land. 10 I will give Moab along with the Ammonites to the people of the East as a possession, so that the Ammonites will not be remembered among the nations; 11 and I will inflict punishment on Moab. Then they will know that I am the LORD.'”
On verses 1-11: After previously prophesying at length about the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem and such destruction coming to pass, Ezekiel here receives messages from the Lord for nations that were historically enemies of Judah and Jerusalem. The first nation God has a message for is the Ammonites. Because the Ammonites gloated and rejoiced over the deportation of the Israelites, the desecration of the temple and the destruction of the land of Israel, God will cause the Ammonites to be cut off and exterminated.
The second nation was Moab. Because Moab looked down on Israel and spoke with contempt about Israel’s downfall, God would punish the Moabites and give them over to other nations.
What can we learn from this? God watches how we respond to the misfortune or loss of others. When others suffer loss, including people you would consider your enemies or your competitors, do not gloat boastfully about it. Rather, have a heart of humility and compassion toward them.
Ezekiel 25:12-17 (NIV) 12 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘Because Edom took revenge on the house of Judah and became very guilty by doing so, 13 therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will stretch out my hand against Edom and kill its men and their animals. I will lay it waste, and from Teman to Dedan they will fall by the sword. 14 I will take vengeance on Edom by the hand of my people Israel, and they will deal with Edom in accordance with my anger and my wrath; they will know my vengeance, declares the Sovereign LORD.'” 15 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘Because the Philistines acted in vengeance and took revenge with malice in their hearts, and with ancient hostility sought to destroy Judah, 16 therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to stretch out my hand against the Philistines, and I will cut off the Kerethites and destroy those remaining along the coast. 17 I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.'”
On verses 12-17: The third nation God addresses is Edom. God mentioned Edom earlier in verse 8 (“Seir” being another name for Edom) when talking about Moab. In other words, like Moab, Edom also spoke contemptuously about the Israelites and their downfall. However, in verses 12 to 14 God brings up another issue He has with the Edomites. Because Edom took revenge on the house of Judah (v12), God will take vengeance on Edom. The same goes for the fourth nation mentioned here, the Philistines. Because the Philistines “took revenge with malice in their hearts, and with ancient hostility sought to destroy Judah” (v15), God will take vengeance on the Philistines.
What can we learn from this? God will hold us accountable when we harbour grudges and try to seek revenge. If you have been badly hurt, instead of taking vengeance into your own hands, trust God to avenge you and ask Him to help you forgive those who hurt you. For despite how attractive and satisfying as Hollywood makes revenge out to be, the reality is that revenge never satisfies but only makes the situation worse. As Paul writes in Romans 12:19-21:
19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Heavenly Father, thank You for showing me that I am not to gloat or rejoice when others suffer loss, whether it’s people I like or don’t like. Please help me not to seek revenge myself against those who hurt me; instead, please help me to forgive them and to trust that You are my Defender and Avenger. Thank You for being my Shield and my Protector. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!