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As we observed yesterday, Ezekiel 25—the text before us this morning—moves us into a new section in the prophecy. Until now, Ezekiel has focused us largely on God’s judgement against Judah. In chapters 25–32, he shifts focus to God’s punishment on surrounding nations. Chapters 25–28 contain oracles against Judah’s immediate neighbours (Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, and Sidon), while chapters 29–32 record an oracle against Israel’s historic enemy: Egypt.

Chapter 25 contains brief oracles against the first four nations, while the oracles against Tyre (chapters 26–28, with a brief word against Sidon in 28:20–24) and Egypt (chapters 29–32) are more extended. We will consider chapter 25 as a unit and the other chapters separately.

Ezekiel begins with a word against Ammon (vv. 1–7). Ammon’s sin was gloating over Judah’s downfall. “Aha” (v. 3) is equivalent to today’s “hooray.” Rather than lamenting the overthrow of the holy city and its holy sanctuary, they cheered as they saw Babylonia come against Jerusalem and its temple. The result would be the overthrow of Ammon itself, which would be so shocking that it would be obvious that it was by the hand of Yahweh.

Ezekiel turns his attention next to Moab (vv. 8–11). Moab angered God when it claimed that Judah had become like the surrounding nations. Of course, God’s people had, in many respects, begun to imitate the surrounding nations, but Moab’s claim was more significant than that. By claiming that Judah had become just like the surrounding nations, they meant that the nation’s claim as the Lord’s special people was proven to be false. She had no more special relationship with the living God than any other nation. For this arrogant claim, Moab would face judgement.

Ezekiel then turns his attention to Edom (vv. 12–14), which not only gloated in, but actively participated in, Judah’s downfall. “Edom acted revengefully against the house of Judah.” Obadiah fills in some of the details. In essence, because the Edomites had assisted Babylon in subduing Judah, God would execute vengeance on the boastful people.

Ezekiel finally focuses his attention on Philistia (vv. 15–17), which was likewise charged with having “acted revengefully and took vengeance with malice of soul to destroy in never-ending enmity.” “Never-ending enmity” suggests that Philistia’s goal was to settle ancient grudges. Philistia would likewise face divine judgement.

It may strike you as strange that Ezekiel took the time to address the surrounding nations. Particularly from a New Testament perspective, we know we should love our enemies and pray for them. Does it not seem a little too gloating for Ezekiel to focus on the punishment of Israel’s enemies? Is this not particularly so when we consider the Judah, rather than the nations themselves, were the recipients of this oracle? Word may have reached the nations, but Ezekiel was a prophet to the Jewish exiles in Babylon. What was Gd’s purpose in revealing these oracles of judgement? And what relevance do they have for us? I think we can determine perhaps three purposes.

The first, and perhaps most obvious, purpose of these oracles was to reveal that God did have a special relationship with Judah. Though Judah was experiencing divine displeasure, it was dangerous for God’s enemies to touch his people and they would suffer the consequences. We do well to remember that God treats his covenant people like the apple of his eye, and while he will certainly chasten, his enemies must be careful of mistreating his people.

A second purpose was to assure God’s people that he did not operate by a double standard. He was not harsh on their sin while ignoring the sin of others. To be sure, judgement would begin with the house of God, but God will prove to deal justly with all sin. God’s judgement extends to all who refuse to acknowledge his lordship.

A third purpose was to reveal to everyone listening that God’s primary concern was to glorify his own name. He would implement judgement on his people and his enemies alike if that is what it took for people to recognise his holiness and sovereignty. God is far more interested in his glory than our comfort.

As you meditate on Ezekiel 25 this morning, ask God to drive home these three truths to you. Be thankful for a special, covenant relationship with him. Recognise that he always acts justly. And commit to giving him glory above all else.