Ezekiel 25:17  “I will carry out great vengeance on [the Philistines] and punish them in my wrath.  Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.”

In this section of his prophecy (Chapters 25-32) Ezekiel is called upon to declare the LORD’s Judgement on the nations surrounding Israel for the way they have treated the Covenant People on whom he constantly poured out his love and mercy.

In our own culture we might find it difficult to process such strong expressions of God’s wrath against Man’s rebellion, but it is a reality, and there are two important lessons we must draw from it.

The first (but perhaps less important) is that the Covenant People whom he loves are now his Church, and all those who are militant in their attempts to undermine and destroy Jesus’ ‘bride’ will one day be the recipients of the full force of divine judgment.  Psalm 2 makes this very clear!

The more important lesson for us, however, is what is implied by this declaration of judgment on the nations.  It is clear that this divine judgment is what we all deserve because of our rebellious hearts.  What Ezekiel is saying calls on us to reflect on why we are not under this judgment which we really deserve, and therefore which a perfectly just and holy God ought to inflict upon us!  The only reason he doesn’t do this is that he has already inflicted it upon the One who came and stood in our place to receive it upon himself upon the cross so that we might be protected from it.

“How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that he should send his only Son to make a wretch his treasure.  How great the pain of searing loss, the Father turns his face away, as wounds which mar the Chosen One bring many sons to glory.  Behold the Man upon a cross, MY sin upon his shoulders; ashamed, I hear MY mocking voice call out among the scoffers.  It was MY sin that held him there until it was accomplished; his dying breath has brought me life – I know that it is finished.  I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no pow’r, no wisdom; but I will boast in Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection. Why should I gain from his reward?  I cannot give an answer; but this I know with all my heart, HIS wounds have paid MY ransom” (Stuart Townend).

It is interesting that the chapter that follows this section (Chapter 33) is a repetition of the warning given earlier to Ezekiel (Chapter 3) of the need to be a faithful watchman in alerting everyone (God’s People as well as the surrounding hostile nations) about the serious consequences of rejecting God’s amazing Saving Grace.

– Bruce Christian