By Benjamin H. Liles
I admit to being gone a while on teaching God's word on here, and for that I do apologize. Another part that I admit on this is due to my lack of understanding what God is saying to Ezekiel about the nations surrounding Israel. When I look at the breakdown of Ezekiel, as Chuck Swindoll looks at the book, his thoughts are that the first three chapters, 1-3, are Ezekiel's call and commission. Chapters four through twenty-four focuses on why God's glory departs from Israel, which we have covered.
Starting at chapter twenty-five, God starts to dispense his judgment on the nations that not only surround Israel, His people, but have led Israel away from Him. His judgment is on these nations not simply because of how they enticed Israel to do wrong, but how they treated His people, Israel, overall. Yes, His people Israel sinned against them, but it never gives any one nation the right to enslave and mistreat His people.
At some point I plan on doing Bible studies on all the books of the Bible, and that includes Genesis, where God tells Abraham concerning his son Isaac, and the future nation of Israel, "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you; and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you" (Genesis 12:2-3, Berean Study).
So, where am I going with this when Ezekiel 27 is about God's lamentation over the city of Tyre, Lebanon? Considering the fact that Ammon (Ezekiel 25:1-7), Moab (25:8-11), Edom (25:12-14), and Philistia (25:15-17) have already been judged by God, His continuing judgment goes on to include that of Tyre and her sister city of Sidon (Ezekiel 26:1-28:26). Then lastly Egypt is judged by God.
His lament of Tyre is that she saw the beauty she had and was so overwhelmed with her beauty, with her ability to sell the riches she was imbued with and became arrogant and prideful. Remember what scripture says on this: "Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18, Holman Christian Standard). If we go back a moment and look at what God told Abraham it seems none of the nations around Israel want to bless Abraham in the least bit. Ammon and Moab descended from Abraham's nephew Lot through his daughters. Another name for Egypt is Mizraim whose father was Ham, one of Noah's sons; Philistia is a Canaanite nation whose father was also Ham.
When looking at all of this Tyre's chief sin is that of pride. We read here in Ezekiel 27, "O Tyre, you have said, ‘I am perfect in beauty’" (Ezekiel 27:3, New King James). While it isn't a huge sin to be proud, to remain proud and to boast of your accomplishments without acknowledging the hand of God is. After all, why else would God give the command, "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3)?
What I can tell you is this: God loves you enough to tell you when your sins have been enough to Him. He desires to be glorified over anything and everything. Lay down whatever thing takes up the most of your life. My main problem is using technology far more than I handle the word of God and doing so in an accurate manner. The pure and simple reason it took so long for a new article was that I struggled a great deal with my own pride as it concerned this chapter. I thought I didn't have anything to say about why God chose to judge Tyre. And now we know why. Tyre rested on the fact her beauty made her well-known and people came to her from other nations to trade with her, to make her rich, and to give her the best of their wares.
The nations listed as being complicit in Tyre's beauty and pride are Cyprus, Egypt, Persia, Libya (one of the North African countries), as far away as Spain (Tarshish is another name), Turkey (names associated with Turkey are Tubal, Meshech, and Togarmah), Greece (Javan), Arabia (Dedan), and Yemen (Sheba), Assyria is mentioned within these verses as well (modern day Iraq, northwest portion of it).
I don't hold it against anyone, personally, for being proud of an achievement, but let's be truthful here: who gave you the ability to gain that achievement? If you said in your heart of hearts that God did that, then there's no excuse for not giving Him the glory. That's God's point towards Tyre. We can be proud of what we have done, but let's put it in its proper context and thank God for all He's done through us.
You're reading this today because in some way, some how, you know you got prideful over a situation and you see the writing on the wall. Maybe you took credit for your part on a project and didn't give the rest of the credit where it was due and now you're facing a backlash. Perhaps it was something you said or did and the comment was made such as, "Quite being proud." As i said it's okay to know you did something right and good, but let's allow God to have a proper place. We're told to "Live justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with God" (Micah 6:8).
Above all, Jesus Christ has set us free from being caught in the sin of pride. He took the pressure and pain off you so you can find freedom in God. No longer are you made enslaved to sin and its effects. This means you can live life within Christ, to be humble, not proud, arrogant and puffed up. It is a measure of knowing God set you free through His son that enables you to do all things by His Spirit, for it is through the Spirit we do amazing things. Jesus told us, "Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" (John 14:12, Berean Study).
Really and truly, we can have the peace of mind to do everything we put our mind to when we keep our mind and attitude off ourselves and live in the fact God loves us. When we live in the freedom of His conquering love over our sin and sinful behavior, we can thus be more like Him in Jesus Christ. By humbling ourselves before God we're saying to Him, "Lord, I rather You exalt me in your own time, and not in mine." It is my hope, my prayer that this blesses and encourages you in such a way that you remain untouched by God's justice and live within the light of His mercy and grace. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, amen.