+27 (11) 867 3505 church@bbcmail.co.za

For generations, the people of God in Judah had ignored prophetic calls to repentance, believing that judgement would never fall as predicted. That confidence was rattled when Nebuchadnezzar first invaded Jerusalem in 605 BC and took, among others, Daniel and his friends captive. The illusion of security was further shaken in 597 BC when Babylon attacked for a second time, then capturing, among others, Ezekiel. Every last semblance of confidence would crumble at Babylon’s final attack in 586 BC, when the city and the temple would be completely destroyed.

Ezekiel’s prophetic ministry, as we have seen, commenced between the second and third attacks. In chapters 5–6, he warned, with vivid symbolism, of further impending judgement on Jerusalem and of God’s deaf ear toward interceding prayers. He pictured this by placing an iron griddle between himself (representing God) and the model of Jerusalem he had constructed (representing the people) (4:1–3). In case they missed the significance of that imagery, Yahweh makes it plain, in the text before us this morning (chapter 7), that it was too late to intercede anymore. Judgement was at the door and no amount of prayer would stop it.

Ezekiel warns, over and again, in this chapter that the end had come. “Behold, the day! Behold, it comes! Your doom has come; the rod has blossomed; pride has budded” (v. 10). God had warned of coming judgement for centuries and judgement day had finally and irrevocably arrived.

If this chapter teaches us anything, it reminds us of the truth that, while it may be delayed, judgement against sin is as certain as the holy character of God. In his patience, and because of his desire to see people come to repentance, God frequently exercises longsuffering. But judgement will eventually fall and, when it does, it will be both inescapable and impartial. Stated another way, God’s judgement, though delayed, is both certain and entirely just.

The certainty of judgement is highlighted in vv. 1–13. The end was inescapable. Indeed, as Ezekiel summarised it, “the vision concerning her whole crowd will not be revoked, and because of the iniquity of each one, none will preserve his life” (v. 13, CSB).

The justice of God’s judgement is highlighted in vv. 14–27. Essentially (as in much of chapters 5–6), these verses repeat the language of God’s covenant curses in Leviticus 26. The point is that the judgement to come would not be random. Yahweh had not flown off the handle and struck out at his people with uncontrollable anger. The people had been warned for centuries of the consequences of covenant faithlessness. The consequences they had already experienced, and would continue to experience, were exactly what Yahweh had told them.

We must learn from this chapter that God’s judgement is inescapable and impartial. A day of final judgement is coming in which everyone who has ever lived will stand before God. On that day, every person will recognise the validity of the judgement passed against them. On that day, it will be too late to object innocence. It will be too late to make amends. The judgement will be final and irreversible—and perfectly just. And that should transform the way we live our lives in the present.

For centuries, Judah had held onto its idols. On the day judgement fell, they realised the vanity of those idols—but too late. They realised, in the words of an earlier prophet, that the regard they had paid to vain idols had meant that they had forsaken their hope of steadfast love (Jonah 2:9). Had they believed in the certainty of the judgement promised, they might well have viewed their futile idols in a different light.

The certainty of judgement should certainly expose the futility of our idols—before it’s too late. On the day of judgement, our career advancement, and our flashy possessions, and our well-behaved family, and our theological acumen will mean very little. The things that we value above a living relationship with God will be consumed with the flames of judgement as we find ourselves standing before the perfect, righteous Judge of the living and the dead. We will be overcome with sorrow—but it will be too late. The sooner we realise that, the more our lives will be transformed for God’s glory.

As you meditate on Ezekiel 7 this morning, ask God to give you a healthy understanding of the certainty of future judgement and the grace to transform your present life in the light of that future certainty—before it’s too late.