Rev. David Fleming, associate pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids, MI and Executive Director of Spiritual Care with DOXOLOGY, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study Ezekiel 20:45-21:17. Learn more about DOXOLOGY at doxology.us.
The LORD continues to speak words of judgment to His people through His prophet. Though these words may be hard to hear and read, they are an act of the LORD’s love to call His people back to Himself in repentance and faith. The LORD speaks of a fire that will burn indiscriminately as a way of picturing the way He will wield His sword against His people. Although the righteous do remain the LORD’s eternally, they will suffer in the destruction of Jerusalem alongside the wicked. From this riddle of the sword, the LORD gives Ezekiel the song of His sword. Though the poetry is difficult, the picture is plain that the LORD of hosts will use His sword to punish His people for their rebellion against Him. Though the LORD’s sword brings judgment at this moment in history, the day does come when the LORD sheathes His sword by satisfying His wrath upon Jesus on the cross when He cries out, “It is finished!”
“The Faithful Watchman” is a mini-series on Sharper Iron that goes through the book of Ezekiel. Just when Ezekiel should have begun his service as priest in the temple in Jerusalem, the LORD called him to be a prophet in exile in Babylon. Through fantastic visions and attention-grabbing action prophecies, the prophet Ezekiel is a faithful watchman who proclaims the word of the LORD to bring people to repentance over their sins and to faith in the coming Savior, Jesus Christ, the glory of the LORD made flesh.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
45 [a] And the word of the Lord came to me: 46 “Son of man, set your face toward the southland;[b] preach against the south, and prophesy against the forest land in the Negeb. 47 Say to the forest of the Negeb, Hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree in you and every dry tree. The blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from south to north shall be scorched by it. 48 All flesh shall see that I the Lord have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.” 49 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! They are saying of me, ‘Is he not a maker of parables?’”
The Lord Has Drawn His Sword
21 [c] The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuaries.[d] Prophesy against the land of Israel 3 and say to the land of Israel, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am against you and will draw my sword from its sheath and will cut off from you both righteous and wicked. 4 Because I will cut off from you both righteous and wicked, therefore my sword shall be drawn from its sheath against all flesh from south to north. 5 And all flesh shall know that I am the Lord. I have drawn my sword from its sheath; it shall not be sheathed again.
6 “As for you, son of man, groan; with breaking heart and bitter grief, groan before their eyes. 7 And when they say to you, ‘Why do you groan?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that it is coming. Every heart will melt, and all hands will be feeble; every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it is coming, and it will be fulfilled,’” declares the Lord God.
8 And the word of the Lord came to me: 9 “Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus says the Lord, say:
“A sword, a sword is sharpened
and also polished,
10 sharpened for slaughter,
polished to flash like lightning!
(Or shall we rejoice? You have despised the rod, my son, with everything of wood.)[e] 11 So the sword is given to be polished, that it may be grasped in the hand. It is sharpened and polished to be given into the hand of the slayer. 12 Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is against my people. It is against all the princes of Israel. They are delivered over to the sword with my people. Strike therefore upon your thigh. 13 For it will not be a testing—what could it do if you despise the rod?”[f] declares the Lord God.
14 “As for you, son of man, prophesy. Clap your hands and let the sword come down twice, yes, three times,[g] the sword for those to be slain. It is the sword for the great slaughter, which surrounds them, 15 that their hearts may melt, and many stumble.[h] At all their gates I have given the glittering sword. Ah, it is made like lightning; it is taken up[i] for slaughter. 16 Cut sharply to the right; set yourself to the left, wherever your face is directed. 17 I also will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury; I the Lord have spoken.”
- Ezekiel 20:45 Ch 21:1 in Hebrew
- Ezekiel 20:46 Or toward Teman
- Ezekiel 21:1 Ch 21:6 in Hebrew
- Ezekiel 21:2 Some Hebrew manuscripts, compare Septuagint, Syriac against their sanctuary
- Ezekiel 21:10 Probable reading; Hebrew The rod of my son despises everything of wood
- Ezekiel 21:13 Or For it is a testing; and what if even the rod despises? It shall not be!
- Ezekiel 21:14 Hebrew its third
- Ezekiel 21:15 Hebrew many stumbling blocks
- Ezekiel 21:15 The meaning of the Hebrew word rendered taken up is uncertain
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.