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Chapter 20:1-8a (ESV)

Posted on February 16, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 20:1-8a (ESV) - In the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord, and sat before me. And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God, Is it to inquire of me that you come? As I live, declares the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you. Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? Let them know the abominations of their fathers, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: On the day when I chose Israel, I swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob, making myself known to them in the land of Egypt; I swore to them, saying, I am the Lord your God. On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands. And I said to them, ‘Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.’ But they rebelled against me and were not willing to listen to me. None of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.

Question to consider: Why would God not take the inquiry of the exiled elders?

Two years had passed since Ezekiel first started receiving a word from the Lord, and one year had passed since Ezekiel had received a visit from the elders in exile to inquire of the Lord. I wish I could say that over the course of the year, the elders had heeded the warnings God had given them through Ezekiel, but God had no words for them other than to call out their continued idolatry.

From before their exodus from Egypt, their forefathers engaged in the abominations of the land of Egypt, and nothing had changed. None of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, and none of them forsook the idols of Egypt. Most of the commentators suggest that God was speaking in hyperbole by saying “none” because there were ones like Moses who did not participate in the abominations. However, ones like Moses never participated in idolatry and in the acts against God. For them, there was nothing to cast away. True Israel obeyed their God just as true Israel recognized their Messiah when He came.

Those who defiled themselves with the idols of Egypt continued to do so even after God fed them manna and quail in the desert and went before them in the pillar of smoke and pillar of fire. When Moses went up on the mountain, they were the ones who convinced Aaron to make the golden calves. 

When Jesus came, no amount of teaching or miracles could convince the idolators in that generation that He was the Messiah— even after He rose from the dead, and the disciples did miracles in His name. When Stephen gave them a word similar to that of Ezekiel, they plugged up their ears, took up stones, and murdered him. They even turned on Paul and took up his quest to arrest and persecute the Christians after Paul repented and became an apostle for Christ.

Today, there are those who inquire for a new word from the Lord but refuse to turn away from idols. The Lord has given us His written word, and there is nothing else to add to it, for it leads us to the point in which Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead. The heavens and the earth will pass away, but God’s word will never pass away. Once all has been completed, and Christ has finished His work in us, we will walk with Him and converse with Him and receive every good and perfect gift. Until that day comes, we get to know Him through what He has already revealed to us.

Prayer

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for giving us Your revealed word. Help us to know and understand it so that it can change us from the inside out. Amen.