By Benjamin H. Liles
The word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house...Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God, "None of my words will be delayed any longer. Whatever word I speak will be performed,"'" declares the Lord God. ~ Ezekiel 12:1-28, New American Standard
I find it interesting that the word God gives to Ezekiel are the same God gave to Isaiah as well as Jeremiah: "Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed. His this now, O foolish people, without understanding, who have eyes and see not, and who have ears and hear not" (Isaiah 6:10; Jeremiah 5:21, New King James).
It is the same as Jesus tells the disciples, "And the disciples came and said to Him, 'Why do You speak to them in parables?' Jesus answered them, 'To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted...Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand...But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it" (Matthew 12:10-17, New American Standard).
So, what is it Jesus is talking about here? He's talking about the parables that He gives the religious leaders and a portion of the Jewish people. And yet at the same time He's telling the disciples, "You are blessed because you you see with your eyes; and hear with your ears." Why is this so important? Follow me here: Certain people will hear and obey the voice of God. Let's take a look at something real quick. "The word of the Lord came..." John says almost the same thing in His gospel. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).
We see that John is saying that Jesus is God's Word that is being fulfilled. When we look at what God is saying to the people of the house of Israel, "None of My words will be delayed any longer. Whatever word I speak will be performed" (Ezekiel 12:28). For the people of the house of Israel to be blind and deaf towards their God means they have cut themselves off from understanding (hearing) the words of the Law of Moses as well as forgetting what God has done (seeing).
The reason for the people of Israel to be exiled into foreign hands by the hand of God is that they no longer desire to not just do His word (having faith) but they also do not want to stop with their sinfulness and evil ways (they are proud and disobedient). What does the word say, "Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18, Holman Christian Standard, whatever is in bold is for emphasis).
Then what we see is that when the people of the house of Israel are incredulous as to what Ezekiel is doing as to what the Lord God has told him to do: "I did so, as I had been commanded. By day I brought out my baggage like the baggage of an exile. Then in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands; I went out in the dark and carried the baggage on my shoulder in their sight" (Ezekiel 12:7). Ezekiel is acting out what God is about to do to the land of Israel. "The prince who is among them will load his baggage on his shoulder in the dark and go out. They will dig a hole through the wall to bring it out. He will cover his face so that he can not see the land with his eyes. I will also spread My net over him, and he will be caught in My snare. And I will bring him to Babylon in the land of the Chaldeans; yet he will not see it, though he will die there. I will scatter to every wind all who are around him, his helpers and all his troops; and I will draw out a sword after them. So they will know that I am the Lord when I scatter them among the nations and spread them among the countries. But I will spare a few of them from the sword, the famine and the pestilence that they may tell all their abominations among the nations where they go, and may know that I am the Lord" (Ezekiel 12:12-16).
Jesus, likewise, gives the parable of the Sower to show the people who they actually are. Those who are hard of heart are like road where the seed falls. God's word is the seed sown. When the birds come they are like Satan, eating up the seed. That's how hard of heart the people are. Then there are those who are like scattered rocks. The sprouts from the seeds spring up due to the soil is shallow; it lacks any real depth. Because of this when the sun scorches the sprouts, these sprouts wither away. When troubles and persecution come these people fall away as the word of God had not taken proper root. And yet there are still other people who are like thorns and brambles. These people care a bit too much for the ways of the world. When the seed is sown in this soil it is choked out. In this circumstance, since these people care more for the world, they hear the word, but due to their cares of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke out what could have been theirs. Then there is the best soil. This soil has been tilled up. It is been so worked over that there is a great deal of depth. Stones have been taken out, thorns and brambles have been rooted out, so that when the seed is sown here it has the ability to allow the sprouts to fully take root. These sprouts send shoots towards the water, where they are firmly grounded and planted. This is the word given to those who are fully ready for the word of God. It takes hold in these people. It finds such depth within the hearts of the people that when trials and persecution come they still keep on producing a huge and bountiful crop (based on Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23).
Since the people of Israel aren't actively listening to the word God is giving them, due to their pride and rebellious nature, God is going to hand them over to Babylon. The people of Israel clearly have so cut themselves off from God, when they see what Ezekiel is doing they ask him, "What are you doing?" (Ezekiel 12:8). They are so disbelieving that God would do such a thing Ezekiel not only tells them what God is allowing to get their attention. Even though it doesn't seem God's word will be fulfilled due to the nature God plans on doing this to them when they least expect it.
How many people these days are told God will send His Son back with tens of thousands of angels to bring all people out of this world, bringing judgment and terror on all lands of the world? Not only has it been prophesied that nations will come against Israel, but the future third temple will be made completely desolate. The prince of this world will come in looking like he is the messiah, but in fact he is the Antichrist. He will deceive many through a charming and deceitful tongue. He will make promises to the inhabitants of the earth that he will not keep. This man will seek to destroy Israel and those who oppose him. And here's the thing, we're given this prophecy from God Almighty. From Joel and Daniel, among other Old Testament prophets, to Jesus Christ telling the disciples about End Time events, to what John records in Revelation, ALL things God has said will come to pass. If you don't believe me, read the following portions of scripture: Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39; Isaiah 1:2-31, 2:1-22, 3:3-26; Joel 1:15-20; Daniel 9:20-12:12; Matthew 24:3-31; Revelation 6:1-22-27. And there are scores of other verses and books as well.
And yet in spite of all of that there are still some, even today, who say to those of us who obey the word of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, "Where is the promise of His coming? Ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation?" (2 Peter 3:4). And this generation we live in now, as of this time, is what Jesus Christ revealed to Peter! Now, let's think on this. If God shows Ezekiel the judgment that is about to come on them, which was fulfilled when Babylon destroyed Jerusalem, carrying its inhabitants to the land of Chaldea, then shouldn't we be concerned when God will perform His judgment upon the earth? We need to allow our hearts to be soft and tender, allowing Him and His word to comfort us, to give us peace, to restore us to Himself. By remaining in our current condition we're not just thumbing our noses at God, but we're saying He has no right to do what He's about to do.
We need to allow God the right to show us we have broken His commands, the Ten Commandments. We need to see His judgment is upon us due to our pride and rebellion. We need to see our need for a Savior, who has died and given His blood so we won't have to endure the wrath of God Almighty. Jesus Christ came so we can have, and not as the world gives. He came so we can see and hear what He is saying to each of us, "Give up your ways! Allow the word of God to change your heart. You can have access to the Father, but only by Me." If we remain in pride and in our rebellious nature we are asking for His justice upon us and not His tender mercy. Come, O sinner! Come and "Rend your hearts and not your garments!" (Joel 2:13). "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17). "The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor" (Matthew 11:5).
So, how can we lay down our pride and our rebellious ways? We ask Jesus to restore our sight, seeing our sinful ways and our need for a heart change. We need our ears healed so we can hear the Good News (the gospel of Jesus Christ) being preached and taught. We need out leprosy cured so we can be made whole by the word of God, by Jesus Christ. We need our feet healed so we can take the gospel message to those who desperately need it. We need the dead raised to life so they can show that in fact, God raised Jesus from the dead to life. And I am also one of many who preach the Good News to those in great and dire need--the poor. I pray this all makes sense, that God has a right to pronounce judgment, that we need to listen and obey Him and do those things by faith so we can have eternal life. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.