Chapter 25:1-11 (ESV) - The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face toward the Ammonites and prophesy against them. Say to the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord God: Thus says the Lord God, Because you said, ‘Aha!’ over my sanctuary when it was profaned, and over the land of Israel when it was made desolate, and over the house of Judah when they went into exile, therefore behold, I am handing you over to the people of the East for a possession, and they shall set their encampments among you and make their dwellings in your midst. They shall eat your fruit, and they shall drink your milk. I will make Rabbah a pasture for camels and Ammon a fold for flocks. Then you will know that I am the Lord. For thus says the Lord God: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet and rejoiced with all the malice within your soul against the land of Israel, therefore, behold, I have stretched out my hand against you, and will hand you over as plunder to the nations. And I will cut you off from the peoples and will make you perish out of the countries; I will destroy you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
Thus says the Lord God: “Because Moab and Seir said, ‘Behold, the house of Judah is like all the other nations,’ therefore I will lay open the flank of Moab from the cities, from its cities on its frontier, the glory of the country, Beth-jeshimoth, Baal-meon, and Kiriathaim. I will give it along with the Ammonites to the people of the East as a possession, that the Ammonites may be remembered no more among the nations, and I will execute judgments upon Moab. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
Question to consider: Why does God let the nations know about their coming judgment rather than just destroying them?
When God set His face against Israel and judged them by the Babylonians, it was not for their ultimate destruction but to purify them in the same way silver is refined in the fire. They would be captive for 70 years and survive in exile among the nations until the faithful could return and rebuild the city and temple. Before that time came, the instrument of God’s judgment, Babylon, would be toppled by the Medes and the Persians. During the reign of King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah, cupbearer to the king, would intercede for Israel in a prayer of repentance according to Leviticus 26 (much like Daniel) and be given permission to begin the restoration process.
About five years after Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians, this prophecy against the Ammonites came to pass, for they rejoiced in the destruction of Jerusalem. Even though nations rose and fell, and the destruction of those nations was believed to be a toppling of their gods as well, Israel was unique. Other nations had those who claimed to be prophets, but the true prophets of Israel actually spoke words of God which sovereignly came to pass. Other nations had sorcerers who professed to do miraculous signs, but none of them were able to part the Red Sea or provide bread and quail in the desert or water from a rock.
In truth, the God of Israel was not just the God of Israel but the one who created the earth and everything in it. His power was not dependent on a temple, and His concern was not just for Israel but the surrounding nations as well. The destruction of Israel was to serve as a warning to all nations, and God gave these warnings through Ezekiel to Ammon so that they might repent and turn to Him as well.
Though Ammon and Moab would no longer exist as nations once they were destroyed by the Babylonians, God would restore their fortunes according to Jeremiah 49:6. Ammon and Moab would be absorbed by the Arabs, and ultimately, God would show love to all nations by sending His Son to die for the sins of the world and offer salvation to all who would call upon His name.
The death and resurrection of Christ is the pivotal event in all of history. The message of the gospel uniquely diagnoses the fallen state of mankind and uniquely provides the only solution for sin. Christ served as the prophetic fulfillment of the Old Testament and still works in the hearts of people today to reconcile us to God and provide the hope of eternal life.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for speaking through Your word which still exposes our need for Christ. May we not harden our hearts to this word as was done by Israel, Ammon, and Moab, and may we heed the warnings that You gave through Ezekiel and Jeremiah. Thank You that Your offer of mercy still stands today. Amen.