Ezekiel 14



1 “Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me. 

2  And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,”As the result, probably,

of the previous utterances, certain elders of Israel, i.e. of the exiles in Tel-Abib,

came to consult Ezekiel, wishing to know what counsels or what predictions he

had for them. In ch. 8:1 we have “the elders of Judah,” and it is possible that there

were two groups in the Population of the town, and that these represented

Israel as distinct from Judah — a deputation, as it were, from the earlier

exiles. The term appears again in ch.20:1. More probably, however, the terms are

used interchangeably.


3  “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the

stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of

at all by them?” These men, etc. The prophet, taught by the word of the Lord,

reads the hearts of those who came to him. The words do not imply, rather

they exclude, the open practice of idolatry. The sin of the inquirers was

that they had set up idols (gillulim, Ezekiel’s favorite word; see note on (ch.6:4)

in their hearts. The Septuagint. gives διανοήματα dianoaemata - thoughts of

their hearts -  as if to express this. They were hankering after the old false

worships in which they had once, taken part. The stumbling block (see

ch.3:20) of their iniquity was set up there. That divided heart,

the “double mind” of James 1:8, made true inquiry, as it made true

prayer for guidance, IMPOSSIBLE!   Shall I be inquired of at all, etc.? The

“at all” represents the emphatic iteration of the verb in the Hebrew. The

Vulgate, Numquid interrogatus respondebo eis? gives a fair paraphrase.


Idols in the Heart (v. 3)


  • THE HEART IS THE SEAT OF IDOLATRY. There may be splendid

temples in a city, containing innumerable idols — horrible monsters or

beautiful statues, works of marble, ivory, or gold. Yet if the people do not

worship them no sin is committed. We have many idols in our museums.

The idols in a missionary society’s museum do no harm to its custodians.

On the other hand, though no idol temple stands in our land, and the last

vestige of the old heathenism has been swept away centuries ago, and the

very notion of worshipping stocks and stones seems to us ridiculous, yet in

our hearts there may be things which alienate us from God. The essential

question is as to what is there enthroned as in the citadel of the soul.



HEART IS AN IDOL. It is not everything loved that we are to regard as

an idol. God does not claim the only affection of our hearts. We may love

God through the love we bear to those earthly friends who are dear to us.

But God claims the first place, the throne within. Whatever stands first in

our estimation is our god. If some human affection, pleasure, or sin takes

this pre-eminent position, and refuses to yield, when required, to the

supreme will of God, that is our god, our idol.



It is in reference to people who cherish such idols that God asks, “Should I

be inquired of at all by them?” it is not likely that such people would be

disposed to seek counsel from the true spiritual God. The idols would seem

to be sufficient. But if they should think to add the worship of the supreme

God to that of their idols, they would find that this is impossible. There are

men for whom all access to God is cut off. They who cherish evil things or

any rival affections, made evil by rivalry with the true love of the soul for

God, find that they cannot reach to God. “Ye cannot serve God and

mammon” (Luke 16:13).  Observe, however, this only applies to idolatry

in the heart.  Heathen people who follow the instincts of natural religion

and feel after the unseen spiritual God may find Him (Acts 17:27), though

they have scores of idols in their houses, because such a genuine search for

God implies the expulsion of idols from the heart.



GOD. We may disown God and substitute our idols. But He will not,

cannot, give us up. (“If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful:  He

cannot deny Himself”  - II Timothy 2:13).   He is still our Lord, and

He must take note of the rebellion of His people. But He is also still our

Father, and, though we may not care for Him, He has not ceased to love

us. Therefore He will seek His idolatrous children and plague them with

many a trouble, until He has induced them to see their folly, cast their idols

out of their hearts, and welcome back their Lord to His rightful throne.


4 “Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord

GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in

his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his

face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that

cometh according to the multitude of his idols;”  I will answer him that

cometh, etc. The two last words represent the K’ri, or marginal reading of the

Hebrew; the “therein” of the Revised Version, the Kh’-tib, or written text.

Probably we should read, as in v. 7, “I will answer him by myself.


5 “That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they

are all estranged from me through their idols.” The words are a threat

rather than a promise. The “double-hearted” shall be taken in the

snare which they have made for themselves.





                                    Idolatry (vs. 1-5)


It certainly seems strange that, at this period of their national history, the

Israelites should be chargeable with the folly and sin of idolatry. The

admonitions against this offence had been so numerous, and the

chastisements following its commission had been so severe, that the reader

of Old Testament history is surprised to find that at so late a period the

temptation had not been outgrown.



ISRAEL. The chosen people were exposed to corruption from

neighboring peoples — from the Phoenicians upon the north, the Syrians

and Chaldeans upon the east, and the Egyptians upon the south. Each of

these idolatries had its own characteristics, and in some way sprang from,

and ministered to, the evil passions of human nature. It would almost seem

as if the kings, the great men of the land, and the common people

generally, chose such idols as harmonized with their own tastes or suited

their own convenience. At all events, the prophet speaks of idols, in the

plural, of the multitude of the idols, and of every idolater’s own special and

peculiar divinities.


·         THE SEAT OF THESE IDOLATRIES. The people are said to have

set them up “in their heart.” Hills, valleys, groves, high places, and altars

and temples, were indeed consecrated, or rather desecrated, by idol

worship. But all this was external. There was something much worse; the

idols were set up in the inner nature of the worshippers, and there were

honored and served. That is to say, the belief in the government of a

righteous and holy God having been abandoned, many of the Israelites

exalted the vices and crimes which the deities of the heathen embodied,

sanctioned, and encouraged, and came in their hearts to love the evils

against which, as a nation, they were called to witness.



PRODUCED. In setting up the idols in their hearts the people had been

patting “a stumbling block of iniquity” before their face. The idols came

between them and their God. The house of Israel, Jehovah exclaims, “are

all estranged from me through their idols.” There can be no rivalry between

the false gods and the true. The choice has ever to be made. To exalt an

idol, a passion, a taste, a habit, an association, to a position above that

occupied by the supreme Lord of all, is to dethrone Him from His rightful

place, to forfeit His regard, to ensure His displeasure.



DONE TO HIM. It was presumed that, with wicked inconsistency, some

of the Israelites who had been seduced into idolatrous practices would

nevertheless in some time of perplexity or affliction resort to the prophets

of Jehovah to seek counsel, guidance, and comfort. In such circumstances,

how would their conduct be regarded by the Lord? The word of the Lord

to the prophet should be attentively considered, “Should I be inquired of at

all by them?...I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the

multitude of his idols.” We are not to believe that any sincere, lowly,

penitent, and believing suppliant would be rejected. But those who in their

hearts cherished the idolatry which was their shame, and yet for some

selfish purposes had the effrontery to approach the Lord for counsel and

for help, were assured that their application should meet with no favorable

response. They were double-hearted and insincere; and for such there is no

blessing, and indeed no tolerance.


·         APPLICATION. It is the same today. If with all your hearts ye truly seek

Him, the request shall not be offered in vain. But it is useless to draw near

            to God with the lips while the heart is far from Him.


6 “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD;

Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your

faces from all your abominations.”  Turn yourselves, etc.; literally, turn them.

But there is no sufficient ground for the margin, “Turn others,” the objective

suffix being the “faces” of the following clause. In ch. 18:30, 32 the verb is

used by itself. The prophet’s call is to a direct personal repentance, not to

the work of preaching that repentance to others.


Repentance (v.6)



true that God has moved towards us before we have thought of turning to

Him. It is His goodness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Ibid. ch.5:8). But all

this precedes our action. When we begin to see salvation, the first step

must lead us to the wicket gate of repentance, and until that has been

passed through THERE IS NO HOPE FOR US!   John the Baptist

prepares the way for Christ. “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”

(Matthew 3:2).  We may try the short cut of pride, and think to begin the

happy Christian life without owning our sins and turning from them.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!   The result will only be a miserable hypocrisy.



“Repent, and turn yourselves,” etc. It is an action, not merely a feeling. It

cannot be without deep grief of soul, yet it does not consist in the grief;

that is but an accompaniment, though undoubtedly an inevitable

accompaniment. We cannot measure our repentance by the number of tears

shed, but by the thoroughness of our revolt against our past. Neither is

there any value in the amount of time spent in abject contrition. We are not

in this way to consider whether we have repented sufficiently. The sole

question is as to the reality and thoroughness of the change by which we

turn from the old way and seek a better way.  (When I first came to

Hopkinsville in the fall of 1966, I still remember a sermon at First Baptist

Church by Sydney Maddox on repentance.  He preached that “repentance

is a turning!” – CY – 2014)



THE EVIL ONCE LOVED. The penitents are to turn from their “idols.”

Insincere repentance weeps for the sins it still clings to. The action of

repentance is inward. But its consequences are seen in outward conduct.

Savonarola, when called to the dying bed of Lorenzo di Medici, refused to

offer any hope of pardon to the great Florentine, because, though he

professed great concern for his soul, and deep grief for his sins, he refused

to give back their liberties to the citizens. He would not act according to

the profession of repentance, and therefore the stern reformer justly judged

that the penitence could not be true and thorough.



calls upon us to repent, hut He des not require us to create new hearts in

ourselves. He expects a sincere desire for a better way. We must show our

loathing for our old past by doing all in our power to relinquish it. Then

God gives that redeeming grace which is the new birth, and whence springs

the power for better living (“But as many as received Him, to them gave

He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His

Name.”  - John 1:12). Still, after receiving the grace, we need to

preserve the lowliness of the penitent, although all tears are wiped away by

the pardon of God. For we are always in danger of being dragged back into

out old selves. Illusion is brief but repentance is long.




                                                Repent! (v. 6)


This was the admonition of every herald of God, whether under the old

covenant or the new. It was the burden of Isaiah and Ezekiel, and it was

also the burden of John the forerunner and of Jesus the Messiah. From this

it may be inferred that human nature and life, on the one hand, and the

character and government of God on the other hand, are such that

repentance is an indispensable condition of the establishment of right

relations between God and man.


·         THE NEED OF REPENTANCE. If we are upon Divine authority

summoned to change, this must be because there is something wrong and

reprehensible and dangerous in man’s heart and condition; if called upon

to turn, we must be going the wrong way. The admonition of the text follows

upon a picture of Israel’s idolatry and rebellion against A RIGHTEOUS

GOD!  The form of the sin may vary, but the principle of sin is ever the same.

Whether in ancient or in modern times, in barbarous or in civilized states of

society, men are universally prone to sin and guilty of sin. Where there is

no sin, repentance is needless. It is in the departure of the heart’s affection

and the life’s loyalty from the righteous God that man’s error lies. Israel’s

idolatry symbolizes human iniquity.


·         THE NATURE OF REPENTANCE. As more fully explained in New

Testament Scripture, this is a change of heart, of disposition, leading to a

change of character and of life. Mere sorrow for sin is not repentance,

inasmuch as emotion of every kind is to some extent matter of

temperament, and sorrow does not always lead to reformation. True

repentance goes much deeper, and prepares the way for every spiritual

blessing. He who repents looks at things otherwise than before, turus his

thoughts into another channel, his steps into another path.




Ø      It is a gracious call. The justly offended sovereign may leave the rebel to

the consequences of his acts. It is not thus that God deals with us. It is not

His wish that any should perish. He sends His messengers to the offending

race, with a summons to submission, with proffers of mercy.


Ø      It is an authoritative call. He commandeth men everywhere to repent. It

is true that our Creator and Judge does not interfere with our liberty. Yet

He publishes His will as binding upon every moral agent. He has a right to

our repentance. It is our place to obey His summons, to offer the

repentance which He demands and requires at our hands.


·         THE DIFFICULTY OF REPENTANCE. This lies in the very

character itself of the change. If verbal submission or outward conformity

only were required, this would be comparatively easy. But God, who

searcheth the heart, will not be satisfied save with the heart’s subjection

and conversion. Old habits of unspirituality, worldliness, and selfishness

are not readily abandoned. Especially in advanced life a radical and inward

change is effected, for the most part, only with effort and difficulty. (Therefore,

“Today is the day of salvation. (I Corinthiaqns 6:2)   Call upon Him while

He is near.” - (Isaiah 55:6)  It needs a supernatural motive and a

supernatural  power to cause old things to pass away and all things

to become new, to exchange darkness for light, and the service of Satan

for God. Such a supernatural motive we have in the gospel; such a

supernatural power and agency in the Holy Spirit.  “But as many as

received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even

to them that believe on His name.”  (John 1:12)




1. These are exactly opposed in character to the fruits of self-indulgence.

     Other seed in other soil yields other harvest.


2. Reconciliation with God replaces enmity towards God. The conditions

     of salvation, as laid down in the New Testament, are “repentance towards

     God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Acts 20:21)


3. Repentance works a change in a man’s own character; the principles and

     motives and ends of life are all new.


4. Through the power of repentance a man’s relations to his fellow men are

     changed — justice takes the place of wrong, and love that of hatred and



7  “For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that

sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth

up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his

iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him

concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:”

The stranger that sojourneth among you. It is noticeable that

Ezekiel uses here and elsewhere (ch.47:22-23) the familiar phrase

of the books which most influenced his teaching (Leviticus chps.16-25.;

Numbers chps.9,15; Deuteronomy passim). It is probable that some such

proselytes were found among the exiles of Tel Abib. I the Lord will

answer him by myself, etc. This, as has been seen, was probably the right

reading in v. 4. What it means is that, instead of a spoken answer by the

mouth of the prophet, there should be an answer in the discipline of life, in

the immediate utterance through the conscience, which was the voice of

God. The inquirer who came with unconfessed and unrepented hankerings

after the worship of other gods deserved and would receive no other answer.




God’s Answer (v. 7)


“I the Lord will answer him by myself.” The people inquire of the false

prophets, but God Himself will answer them. The question concerning the

coming danger will be settled by the event. That will be God’s answer, and

it will put an end to all doubt on the one side, and to all deception on the other.


  • THE PROMISE OF GOD’S ANSWER. There are questions which

grievously perplex us, and to which, as yet, we can get no reply. Those that

are frivolous may never be answered; e.g. Clement’s illustration, “Whether

the number of the stars be odd or even?” It can be of no use for us to know

the answer to such a question. No doubt there are also greater problems

which still do not concern us personally, and of these we may never have

the solution. There is no reason to suppose that we shall ever become

omniscient. But, on the other hand, there are deep, heart-searching

questions, which bear directly upon our life. We crave an answer to such

questions, and God will not leave us forever in the dark concerning them.

We may have our patience tried for a season, but at length the light will



  • THE SOURCE OF GOD’S ANSWER. It will come direct from

Himself. The foolish Jews inquired of false prophets. (Many people

today are getting their information that they live by from false prophets,

such as college professors, philosophers, movie directors, celebrities,

politicians, propagandists guised as newsmen, etc. – CY  - 2014).  But not

even a true prophet such as Ezekiel would be entrusted with the reply.

GOD HIMSELF is to answer them. God does not act by proxy. He has

servants and agents.  But He is in them, and He can dispense with them

altogether whenever He chooses. He has direct dealings with souls. If the

answer comes from God, it must be true and sufficient. In momentous

questions concerning the soul and its ETERNAL LIFE we cannot be

satisfied with a reply from any delegated authority, not from the greatest

prophet, apostle, or archangel. We want to hear THE VOICE OF



  • THE CHARACTER OF GOD’S ANSWER. In the present case it was

to be given by events. The destruction of Jerusalem was to be God’s

answer to the disputing Jews. That was as truly a Divine answer as a voice

from heaven would have been, for the voice would have been a shaping of

air waves, a work of God in nature. This event was God’s working in

providence. God speaks to us through His providence. History is a record

of God’s answers to man’s questions. Such an answer has many merits.


Ø      It is perceptible to all. The fall of Jerusalem sent a shock through the

Jewish world.

Ø      It is clear and unmistakable. God had threatened judgment. Would His

threat prove true? Who could doubt the meaning of the terrible response?

Ø      It is irreversible. An event which has once occurred can never be

undone. The lessons of history are eternal.




Ø      It may come unsought. The faithless Jews neglected their God, and

inquired for oracles from the false prophets. Yet He of whom they

sought no word spoke by the awful thunders of judgment.

Ø      It may come from an unexpected quarter. These unbelieving Jews

were not expecting to hear the voice of God. Therefore they were

made to hear it in most terrible tones. It is better not to wait for such

a startling reply.  God has spoken in the great events of Bethlehem

and Calvary, and there His voice is one of grace and benediction.


8 “And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign

and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people;

and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” To make him, add, with Revised

Version, an astonishment; or better, I will make him amazed, as in ch.32:10.

The words are an echo of Deuteronomy 28:37. The man’s punishment shall be

open and notorious, so as to strike terror into others.


9 “And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the

LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand

upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

10 And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the

punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him

that seeketh unto him;” I the Lord have deceived that prophet, etc. The teaching

of modern thought is to soften language like this into “I have permitted him to

be deceived.” The distinction was seldom, if ever, present to the mind of

the Old Testament, or indeed of the New Testament, writers. It is Jehovah

who sends the “lying spirit” in I Kings 22:20 -23. It is He who in the

latter days shall send men “strong delusions” that they shall believe a lie

(II Thessalonians 2:11). In both cases it is implied that the delusion is a

righteous punishment, is indeed the natural, because the divinely appointed,

punishment of the sin. Populus vult decipi et decipiatur, but the very

deception is a means for undeceiving them. At last their eyes shall be

opened. The punishment of the false prophet and of those who trust him is

at once retributive, and a discipline, and, if the discipline fails for them, at

least a warning for others.


The false prophets of Israel were popular men but their doom was to suffer

the fate of the people they fawned upon. A moment’s reflection must make it

apparent that the favor of the world, and even the favor of the Church, are no

guarantees for the favor of Heaven; for men may be deceived or may judge by

low, unworthy standards. But appearances are so flattering that people fall into

the snare, and take comfort from the thought that all is going well with them

among men. The one vital question is, “How do we stand before God?”




                                    The Prophet’s Punishment (v. 10)


The prophet is to be punished equally with the rest of the people, because

his guilt is equal to theirs. The pleas and excuses which he might suggest

are all swept away as so many refuges or lies.


·         ECCLESIASTICAL RANK. There was a recognized professional

distinction between the prophets and the people; the prophets belonged to

a separate order. But “orders” have no saving efficacy. The status of the

Christian ministry affords certain earthly privileges, while it confers certain

spiritual obligations. But it is only economic, temporary, and for this

world’s service. Before God the distraction between cleric and laic

vanishes, and each soul stands in its simple human character. God judges

an archbishop as a man, not as a dignitary. His office appertains to his

powers and duties, the talents for which he will have to account. But in this

respect it is like the office of any other person — a measure for his service,

not a shelter for his sinfulness. In the world beyond the grave each soul is

but a soul; rank and office are left behind like castoff vestments. Therefore

the sinful ecclesiastic will be treated as any other sinner.


·         DIVINE GIFTS. The false prophets of Ezekiel’s day do not appear to

have had any peculiar Divine gifts. They were mere pretenders. But even

those men who are especially endowed are not to consider themselves as

thereby lifted above common standards of judgment. The prophet of Bethel

was a true messenger from God, yet a lion met him in the way and slew

him for his disobedience (1 Kings 13:26). The apostle may “have the

gift of prophecy,” yet if he “have not charity” he is “nothing”

(1 Corinthians 13:2).


·         KNOWLEDGE. If the prophets did not know the right way, they

should have made themselves acquainted with it, for they were supposed to

hold the keys of revelation. But as the signpost never reaches the city to

which it is constantly pointing, the man who knows the way, and who is

capable of showing it to others, may yet be never treading it himself. Then

his knowledge will not save him. It is the same in respect to those who are

enlightened by Divine teaching, though they are not called upon to teach

others. A clear conception of “the plan of salvation” will not save a man. If

a prophet will be punished like any other man, surely the merely orthodox

believer in the dogmas of the Church will stand in a similar position of peril

if he does not add practice to creed.


·         POPULARITY. Those guilty prophets of Israel were popular men.

Their doom was to suffer the fate of the people they fawned upon. A

moment’s reflection must make it apparent that the favor of the world,

and even the favor of the Church, are no guarantees for the favor of

Heaven; for men may be deceived or may judge by low, unworthy

standards. But appearances are so flattering that people fall into the snare,

and take .comfort from the thought that all is going well with them among

men. The one vital question is, “How do we stand before God?”




The Misleader and the Misled (v. 10)


One of the features of Israelitish life at this epoch of the Captivity was the

evident number and power of false prophets. General excitement and

change are, of course, favorable to imposture. Men sought everywhere

for guidance, comfort, hope; but, instead of having recourse to the

authorized prophets of the Lord, they went to the pretentious and

deceptive religious guides who seem to have traded upon the misfortunes

of their country. (Does not the “Secular Press” today fit this mold? – CY –

2014).  These men were in the habit of saying what was expected

and desired, of uttering smooth things, of buoying up the people with the

hope that threatening calamities might be averted. Thus the effect of these

men’s counsels was to prevent the people from true repentance and TO

HASTEN THE COUNTRY’S RUIN!   Ezekiel was directed to denounce

These misleaders of the nation, and to declare that they should participate

in the approaching calamities. “The punishment of the prophet shall be even

as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him.”



essence was DEPARTURE FROM GOD!   Those who should have repaired

to the Source of all wisdom and authority turned aside, and “sought unto”

ignorant, self-seeking impostors. In this they sinned; and the sin was shared

by those to whom they had recourse. These pretended prophets knowingly

misled the people; for they saw no vision and heard no voice, and their

utterances were dictated, not by the law of Divine righteousness, but by the

aims of human policy. People and prophets sinned together, and suffered




ERROR. The counsel which was thus given and accepted, and

consequently acted upon, led the people astray. The only hope for

Jerusalem and for the Jews was a general humiliation, confession, and

repentance, A TURNING UNTO THE LORD!   From such a course they

were deterred by the deception which they practiced upon one another,

and the delusion which they mutually encouraged. Hence the error into

which they were misled, the error of continued idolatry, unbelief, and

rebellion.  (Contrast the New Testament teaching: 


Ø      “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge

God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things

which are not convenient……..”  - Romans 1:28-32;


Ø      “they received not the love of the truth…..And for this cause

God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe

A lie” – II Thessalonians 2:10-11 – CY – 2014)



PUNISHMENT. It would have been unjust to punish only those who were

led astray, for their false guides and evil counselors were to blame for

misleading them. It would have been unjust to punish only the false

prophets; for these men were induced and encouraged to practice their

deceiving arts by the readiness of their dupes to receive and to act upon

their advice. Hence COMMON GUILT entailed COMMON PENALTY!

There was little distinction in crime; there was little distinction in punishment.

Retribution is a fact in the government of the Supreme, who can never look

upon iniquity. “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not go

unpunished.”  (Proverbs 11:21)  “but the seed of the righteous shall

be delivered!”  (Ibid.)


11 “That the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be

polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may

be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord GOD.”

The words come as a gleam of light through the darkness. A

restored nation, walking in the truth, the true people of God, — this lies

beyond the mystery of the evil which is allowed, or even made, to work

itself out to the bitter end.


God owns the souls of His people. “That they may be my people” is the

expression in regard to God’s design in the discipline of Israel. God

regards His people as His “inheritance” (Psalm 28:9).  He values them, as

His jewels (Malachi 3:17), as the “apple of his eye” (Psalm 17:8).

God’s people have rights of access and privileges to God as reconciled children.

It is indeed a great joy to be able to say, “My God.”  (I highly recommend

Deuteronomy ch. 32 v. 9 – God’s Inheritance by Arthur Pink – this web site –

CY – 2014)




                                    Disastrous Answers to Prayer (vs. 1-11)


Ezekiel’s predictions had been so gloomy and adverse, that the ciders of

Israel in Babylon were staggered. They could not acquiesce in their

nation’s ruin. Hopeful that some message more favorable might come

from God, they sought (it may be on the sabbath day) the prophet’s

presence. We must not place these elders in the same category with those

in Jerusalem who preferred the flattering speeches of the false prophets.

Nevertheless, they were not right at heart. The taint of idolatry was upon

these also. Good and evil may be mingled in men’s hearts in different




always so. It sometimes chafes and exasperates men. In their pain they

sometimes curse God and blaspheme Him yet the more. Perhaps affliction,

in itself, has no softening, subduing influence. But the Spirit of God

frequently uses affliction as His instrument, His pruning knife, in order to

make the soul fruitful. This much is certain, that many have found a season

of affliction a season of salvation. Certain it is that “whom the Lord loveth

He correcteth;” and not a few of the redeemed adopt David’s language as

their own, “Before I was afflicted, I went astray; but now have I kept thy

Word.”  (Psa.m 119:67)



COMPLETE. In human nature there is a strong bias to be satisfied with

what is merely outward in religion. To utter words of prayer, we imagine,

must be successful To come into God’s house, no matter what may be our

motives or intentions, we think, must please God. Do we not confer a

favor on Him? Has He not engaged to do us good? Yet how often is the

heart away when the body is present? How often do We bring our idols

with us into that sacred place? How often do we worship mammon, or

pleasure, or fashion, under pretence of worshipping God? How often do

our words far exceed our desires? Hypocrisy and idolatry are as common in

sanctuaries now as in the days of ancient Israel. Frequently the heart is

preoccupied with its own wishes and plans and ambitions, while we are

using the words, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” We want our own

ends, while we profess to yield unto God.



OF MIND. Ihe Lord will answer him that cometh according to the

multitude of his idols.” Men often think that they lay a trap for God, but

God takes them in their own snare. We try to use God for the attainment of

some worldly end, and we think sometimes that we succeed, but we are

always outwitted. Men’s words are often veils to hide the facts, and we

may deceive others; we cannot deceive God. To give to such men blessing

would be to do them harm. For such the only real blessing is self-humiliation,

inward contrition. True faith in God is the only measure of

success, and faith is loyal, candid, self-submissive. Four sympathetic men

brought a paralytic to Jesus; but Jesus first read the yearning desire of the

sufferer’s heart, and said, “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.” (Luke 520)

For God is a Spirit, and deals with the human spirit. Therefore in prayer

we should\ always imitate David, “I lift up my soul unto thee.”



The aim of the suppliant is usually temporary relief — deliverance from

some present evil. But God sees that present trouble is the best blessing —

the rough husk that contains nourishing meat. Our object is enjoyment;

God’s object is soul profit. He yearns to see repentance — the first cry of

the new life. “Thus saith the Lord God; Repent.” God’s aim is remote, but

right noble. His design is that “the house of Israel may go no more astray.”

His purpose is that “they may be my people, and I may be their God.” If we

will not allow God’s purpose to prevail, He will not allow our low and vain

purposes to succeed. If we set ourselves in hostility against God, only ruin

can result. If God sends us to Nineveh, and we sail away to Tarshish, we

may expect to meet an overwhelming storm. God’s will must become our

will; then only shall we have rest.



“I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a

proverb.” As battlefields, saturated with human gore, yield larger crops of

grain, so out of all evil God will bring ultimate good. Cain’s published sin

served as a restraint upon others. Lot’s wife became a standing witness for

God and for righteousness. In the long run, everything contributes to the

good of mankind. The wrath of man shall bring praise to God. Man’s crime

at Calvary has become the fount of greatest blessing. Even human sin shall

serve as a dark background, the better to set forth the brilliant hues of

Divine mercy. Yet how slow men are to note the various warnings which

God sets up! Self-examination is a rare virtue,



Gadarenes prayed that Jesus would depart out of their coasts, and He

departed. The man who has practiced deceit shall be himself deceived.

Pharaoh hardened his heart against God until at length God joined in the

process: “The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” He who will not accept any

answer from God except that which chimes in with his own wishes shall

have his wish gratified, but it will prove his ruin. To Ephraim God at last

said, “He is joined to his idols: let him alone.” He who blasphemes against

the Holy Spirit is “in danger of eternal fire.” And this is the heaviest

punishment a man can receive. “He that is filthy, let him be filthy still.”

(Revelation 22:11)  The most notable example of this principle in God’s

government is seen in the case of Ahab. He had set his heart upon war

against Ramoth-Gilead. He would not be dissuaded. Yet he wished to

have the appearance of God’s approval, in order to gain allies. At length

the Lord said, “Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at

Ramoth-Gilead?” “And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the

Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said, Wherewith? And

he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his

prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and shalt prevail also.”

(I Kings 22:20-22)  If foolish men prefer flattering delusions to the naked

truth, God will at length abandon them to this fatal influence. He punishes

sin with sin.



EXEMPTION. Pauper and prince are amenable to the same law in the

kingdom of God. “The punishment of the prophet shall be even as the

punishment of him that seeketh unto him.” No office, however honorable,

will serve as a cloak for sin, nor alleviate the weight of punishment.

Righteousness deals with man as man, and takes no note of names or titles.

If a king drinks poison, it produces the selfsame effect as if a ploughboy

drank it. It will avail us nothing to say to the white-robed Judge, “Lord,

Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?”  (Matthew 7:22)  Office may

increase our responsibility; it does not add to our purity; it gives no passport

to heaven. Not genius, nor power, commends men to God; only moral

goodness. “In this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you;

but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”  (Luke 10:20)




Hypocritical Inquirers of God (vs. 1-11)


“Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me,” etc.

In the former chapter false prophets and prophetesses were severely

rebuked by the Lord God through His true prophet. In this one certain

elders who came to Ezekiel to inquire of the Lord through him, while their

hearts were given up to idols, are reproved, exhorted, and warned. The

paragraph before us presents the following connected topics for

consideration, which we will notice in the order in which they are

presented by the prophet.



came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me. And the

word of the Lord came unto me, saying,” etc. (vs. 1-3). These elders

who came to inquire of God through His prophet were probably of the

number of his fellow exiles. They came to consult the prophet of Jehovah,

yet they were idolaters at heart. They had “set up their idols in their heart,”

etc. (v. 3). Their idolatry involved practical atheism. Genuine belief in the

existence of the Lord Jehovah would have effectually precluded idolatry.

Men of such character could not sincerely inquire of God. There can be no

real approach unto Him without faith in the reality of His being. “He that

cometh to God must believe that he is, and that He is a rewarder of

them that diligently seek Him.” etc. (Hebrews 11:6). Their

seeking information or counsel of the Lord was not true; they were not

whole-hearted in so doing, but hypocritical. They are, says Hengstenherg,

the “representatives of those who only outwardly fear God, but inwardly

serve the spirit of the world and the age.” How many meet in God’s house,

unite in His worship, and listen to the ministry of His holy Word, as though

they were genuine inquirers of His will, who yet have idols in their hearts!

Seeming to sincerely “inquire in his temple,” yet they are devoted to the

pursuit of rank or riches, power or pleasure, etc.



ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN HEART. “Therefore speak unto them,

and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Every man of the house of

Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart,” etc. (vs 4, 5). Different

interpretations are given of these two verses. Thus Hengstenberg: “The

question in v. 4” (he places a note of interrogation at the end of that

verse; so also does Schroder) “is in the sense of a negative, ‘I will not

answer;’ and this negative has its ground in v. 5. God leaves sinners

without answer or help, that they may come to a knowledge of their sin.

‘To take in the heart’ (v. 5) is to touch the conscience.” Another

interpretation is that He would give them an answer as delusive as the idols

which they had taken into their hearts. The case presents itself to us thus:

The spiritual state of these elders prevented them from truly hearing the

word of the Lord. They were not sincere in their inquiries of Him. They

would not receive the truth which His servants Jeremiah and Ezekiel

proclaimed. Nay, more, in their then moral condition they could not receive

the truth of God. With their hearts devoted to idols, how could they

apprehend and hold fast the pure words of the Lord? So He would send

them a message answerable to their own character. These “idolatrous

oracle seekers have to expect what corresponds to their state.” Hence their

own hearts were their seducers. God deals with men according to their

character. “With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful, .....and with

the froward, thou will show thyself froward.” (Psalm 18:25-26). “The sin

and shame, the pain and ruin, of sinners are all from themselves, and their

own hearts are the snares in which they are taken; they seduce them, they

betray them; their own consciences witness against them, condemn them,

and are a terror to them. If God take them, if He discover them, if He convict

them, if He bind them over to His judgment, it is all by ‘their own heart.’

‘O Israeli thou hast destroyed thyself.’  (Hosea 13:9) The house of Israel

is ruined by  its own hands, ‘because they are all estranged from me

through their idols’” (Matthew Henry).




UNTO HIM. “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord

God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your

faces from all your abominations.” Here is a true message from God for

them if they will accept it. Repentance towards God was their present and

imperative duty. From the Lord the house of Israel had grievously

departed, and their true repentance would be a returning to Him, and

renunciation of their abominable idolatries. Repentance is not mere regret,

or self-reproach, or sorrow, or tears. It is that grief for sin which leads to

reformation of life. “Repentance,” says Shakespeare, “is heart’s sorrow,

and a clear life ensuing.” Now, this was necessary as a condition of

approaching God acceptably. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will

not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). Men should “pray in every place, lifting up

holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8). “Let us

draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith,” etc. (Hebrews 10:22).

When men inquire of God in this spirit, He will grant unto them gracious





house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which

separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and

putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh

 to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer

him by myself:  And I will set my face against that man, and will make him

a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people;

and ye shall know that I am the LORD.  And if the prophet be deceived

when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet,

and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the

midst of my people Israel.  And they shall bear the punishment of their

iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment

of him that seeketh unto him;  That the house of Israel may go no more

astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions;

but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord

GOD.”  (vs. 7-11). Here they are solemnly warned that, if they would

not turn from sin unto God:


Ø      They should encounter the Divine displeasure.I will set my face

against that man,” etc. (v. 8). God cannot look upon sin with

indifference. He hates it. And if sinners persist in it, He will set His face

against them, and visit them because of their transgressions.  He did this in

the case of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.


o        Siege,

o        famine,

o        pestilence,

o        slaughter, and

o         captivity


were the consequences of their aggravated and long continued

sins and crimes.


Ø      They should become the victims of their chosen delusions. “If the

prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have

deceived that prophet,” etc. (vs. 9, 10). They had chosen idols for their

gods; they believed the false prophets rather than the true ones; and if they

persisted in their choice they must take the consequences thereof. This was

God’s answer to their inquiries. He had shown them that by true

repentance they would put themselves into right relations with Him. But if

they would not repent, He would no more speak to them by His prophets,

but by His judgments in the just consequences of their sins. Their chosen

prophets would be deceived, and would deceive those who inquired of

them, and both the prophets and the inquirers should “bear the punishment

of their iniquity.” But in what sense can the Lord be said to deceive the

false prophet, and then to punish him? It is certain that He cannot sin, and

that He is not the author of sin. “The deception proceeds originally from

indwelling sin (James 1:14), otherwise it could not be the object of

punishment.” But it was both permitted and regulated by God. He controls

both sin and the consequences thereof for the accomplishment of his own

glorious purposes (compare Psalm 76:10). When Nebuchadnezzar besieged

Jerusalem, he did so of his own accord, with no thought of doing the will

of the Lord Jehovah, yet unconsciously he was doing that will; and

frequently the Lord says that he would do those things which the army of

the Chaldean monarch did (compare ch. 4:16; 5:8-17). God employed

the Chaldeans, and regulated and controlled their movements, for the

working out of His own plans; yet they were free in those movements, and

had no idea that in them they were the agents of the Lord God of Israel. So

these false prophets were used by Him in the way of judgment, and were

controlled by Him; but they acted voluntarily in the course which they

pursued, and they who consulted them did so of their own will; and both of

them should become the victims of their cherished delusions, and “bear the

punishment of their iniquity.”


Ø      They should become the means, under God, of leading his people to

fidelity unto him. “That the house of Israel may go no more astray from

me,” etc. (ver. 11). This was the Divine design in the punishment of the

sinful people. “‘God punishes sins by means of sins,’ but the end is the


of righteousness. His people, purified by trials, will cleave to

him whom they have forsaken, and become a converted, sanctified people,

joined unto their God by a covenant which they will not break” (‘Speaker’s

Commentary’). The judgments of God aim at the promotion of the well

being of man.


·         CONCLUSION.


1. Here is solemn warning against insincere approach unto God.

2. Here is encouragement to approach God sincerely and humbly. (Vers.

6, 11.) — W.J.






                                       Religious Reciprocity (v. 11)


The relations of the soul with God are reciprocal. There is first of all a

mutual approach, and there will be a communion so long as the religion is a

living fact. The mutual relationship may be looked at from either of its

centers. But first its common character must be considered.



appropriation on both sides. This involves certain important facts.


Ø      Close connection. We hold what we own. It is true a man in England

may be the proprietor of an estate in New Zealand, but even then he is

connected with it by immediate agency. Religion implies a close relation

between the soul and God.


Ø      Powers of use. We have rights over what we own. The inheritance

which is so tied up that the heir cannot touch it or do anything with it, is

scarcely to be called property; the rights of ownership are shadowy indeed

in such a case. Real ownership confers rights and powers. So it is in

religion. The mutual ownership here confers mutual rights and powers.


Ø      Value. A man may own what is worthless — leagues of Siberia or tons

of desert sand. Still, as a rule, he makes the most of his property, and if

he is proud of owning anything, we may be sure that he values it. Now,

the mutual religious ownership of God and the soul is referred to in a

way to show that it is prized.




Ø      God owns the souls of His people. “That they may be my people” is the

expression in regard to God’s design in the discipline of Israel. God

regards His people as His “inheritance” (Psalm 28:9). See v. 11 in

exposition above - CY - 2021)


o       He has close relations with them. Truly connected with all His

children, He draws more near to His own people, and

communicates Himself especially to them.


o       He exercises special powers over them. God has a double

right to command His confessed servants.


o       He values them, as His jewels (Malachi 3:17), as the “apple

of His eye” (Psalm 17:8).


Ø      Gods people own God. They do not only confess His Name.


o       They realize a close fellowship with Him.

o       They have rights of access and privileges of reconciled

children in the home which do not as yet belong to the poor,

wandering prodigals.

o       They value these privileges, or, if they do not, they are like

the elder son of the parable, and do not truly realize their

ownership in God. It is indeed a great joy to be able to say,

“My God.”




      DISCIPLINE OF LIFE. It is the re-establishing of an old broken

connection. Israel had once stood in this happy relation with God;

she had lost it by sin. We are all God’s children by birth; but by sin we

too have lost the privileges of sonship. The great hindrance lies in our

rebellion against God. Israel could not boast of her descent from

Abraham, nor of her covenant relationship with God, for the covenant

was broken by sin, and the family claim disowned. The only way to secure

this happy condition again is to give up the newer connection with sin.

Now, God sends severe discipline to lead to that result (v. 10). He uses His

rod to drive the wanderer home.




The Purposes of Punishment (v. 11)


No thoughtful person can believe that the supreme Lord of all inflicts

punishments upon men because He delights in the sufferings of His

creatures, or is indifferent to those sufferings. This passage of Scripture,

like other passages, teaches us that, when God punishes, it is with a view

to the good of those who are punished, or of others, or of both.



It is a question how far punishment should aim at the correction of the

individual offender, how far at the production of A WHOLESOME

IMPRESSION UPON SOCIETY!   Whether the false prophets and those

who resorted to them were spared to profit by the chastisement which

befell them, we have not the means of judging. But in any case the

punitive afflictions were intended for the general good of the house of Israel.


Ø      Radical error is corrected. “That the house of Israel may go no more

astray from me.”


Ø      The habits of transgressors are reformed. “Neither defile themselves

any more with all their transgressions.”



The remedy for disease must first be applied, then health will follow. So it

is in spiritual things. Forgiveness is a means to sanctification. Salvation is

both from sin and unto obedience and holiness. Accordingly, the prophet

represents the re-establishment, the fresh ratification, of the covenant

between God and Israel as the final purpose of all the chastening inflicted.

The two sides of this covenant are presented as in their harmony and

completeness justifying the discipline appointed by Divine wisdom and



Ø      “That they may be my people.” That is, not only in name, but in

reality; not only de jure, but de facto.


Ø      “That I maybe their God.” That is, theirs to acknowledge with

sincere reverence, to love with devotion and fervor, and to serve

with diligence and fidelity.


12 “The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,  13 Son of man, when

the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out

mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send

famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:  14 Though these three

men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls

by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.”  A new section begins, implying as

before an interval of silence. What follows presents a striking parallelism to Jeremiah

15:l-2.  There also we have the “four sore judgments,” the declaration that not

even the presence of Moses and Samuel would avail to save the people.

They were obviously selected by Jeremiah as examples of the power of

intercession (Exodus 32:11-14; I Samuel 7:9; 12:23). Ezekiel’s

selection of names proceeds on a different footing. He chooses exceptional

instances of saintliness that had been powerless to save the generation in

which they lived; perhaps, also, such as were well known, not only in the

records of Israel, but among other nations. Noah had not saved the evil

race before the Flood; Job had not saved his sons (Job 1:18); Daniel,

though high in the king’s favor, had not been able to influence

Nebuchadnezzar to spare the people of Judah and Jerusalem. The mention

of this last name is significant, as showing the reputation which even then

Daniel had acquired. In v. 13, for the land, read “a land.” For staff of bread,

see ch.4:16. The phrase comes from Leviticus 26:26.



Noah, Daniel, and Job (v. 14)



These three men are selected from ages far apart, and from the greatest

diversity of circumstances. In temperament and external history there is

little resemblance between them. Noah the patriarch, looms on the horizon

of history in epic grandeur; Daniel is the brave hero in a tyrant’s court, and

the man of skill and science in a civilized society; Job belongs to the region

of pastoral life, and his tragic story carries us out among the Bedouin. So

wide is the range of excellence! Good men are not confined to one age, nor

to one set of circumstances, nor to one school of thought, nor to one style

of life. They are not found exclusively in antiquity, in modern times, in

town, in the country, among the great, among the simple. There is a

breadth and a variety in the possibilities of saintliness. We need not all copy

one type. He who cannot emulate the knowledge of Daniel may follow the

patience of Job. Nevertheless, in spite of these diversities, there are certain

great common features that belong to the three Old Testament saints, and

account for the present association of their names.


Ø      All three were holy men, true to God and upright in life. His goodness

is the greatest fact in a good man’s character, and it constitutes a bond

of union between all the true people of God.


Ø      All three were faithful in circumstances of isolation. They all had to

break from prevalent habits, and dare to stand alone:


o       Noah against the world’s sin and impenitence,

o       Daniel against heathenism,

o       Job against a false orthodoxy.


Ø      All three were sorely tried. The faith of each was assailed in a severe

and most exceptional manner.


Ø      All three were victorious by means of firm fidelity. They conquered,

and they conquered in quiet ways — by obedience, patience, faith,

and steadfastness.




Daniel, and Job united to plead for Jerusalem, their intercession would be

all in vain.


Ø      This was contrary to expectation. There is power in intercession; there is

a special power in the intercession of a “righteous man” (James 5:16);

there is a still greater power in united prayer (Matthew 18:20).

Yet here the union of three of the very best men, selected from all ages,

could not secure the safety of Jerusalem (after her departure from God!)


Ø      The cause of the predicted failure of such an intercession was hardened

impenitence. God is not inexorable. He is ready to listen to prayer; nay,

He is more anxious to save than we are to plead for salvation. (“The

Lord ……is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should

Perish, but that all should come to repentance.” -  II Peter 3:9).  He

sent His Son to save the world, an infinitely greater act than the most

impassioned pleading of the best men. Therefore the failure cannot

be attributed to His hardness. But it would be unjust and injurious to

spare the impenitent on any plea.


Ø      The intercession of Christ succeeds where that of the best of men fail.

His prayers are worth those of ten thousand Noahs and Daniels and

Jobs. “He ever liveth to make intercession for us” (Hebrews 7:25),

and HE ALONE, bearing the weight of the whole world’s guilt,


ample sufficiency. We could not trust to the intercession of the

saints, even if we were sure of obtaining it; and the words of

Ezekiel are only hypothetical, merely by way of illustration.


(I John 2:1)  Nevertheless, for the impenitent even His mighty

intercession, which shakes the very gates of hell, is ineffectual.

Christ shed tears over Jerusalem, yet Jerusalem perished.



Illustrious Piety (v. 14)


Ezekiel was especially commissioned to set forth and to impress upon the

people the individual, the personal, aspect of religion. In many places, as

here, he lays stress upon the accountability of each several man to God.

One cannot deliver another from deserved punishment. Each must answer

for himself, must reap the reward of his deeds, whether good or evil. A

man’s piety cannot save his ungodly neighbor when the time of reckoning

and judgment arrives. No matter how good our friends may be, their

goodness does not excuse our irreligion. If the city has sinned, the city

must suffer. Even if the wisest and the best of men are in it and plead for it,

the city cannot be justified or spared for their sake. Men so conspicuous

for virtue and piety as Noah, Daniel, and Job have not power to save the

land from famine, from the sword, from noisome beasts, from the

pestilence, when these are sent as chastisements from the Lord of all.



CELEBRATED. Why these, rather than other illustrious instances of

human goodness, were selected is a question which cannot be answered

with certainty. But the context disposes the student of this passage of

prophecy to consider these men as instances of remarkable piety in the

midst of surrounding ungodliness.


Ø      Thus Noah stands in contrast with the self-indulgent and irreligious

population of the world immediately before the Flood; as a preacher

of righteousness, he protested against the sins and the secularism

and unbelief of his time.


Ø      Daniel also was “faithful among the faithless;” he and a selected few

were called upon to witness against the idolatry of their heathen rulers

and masters, and against much unfaithfulness on the part of their

companions in captivity.


Ø      Job was a true servant of Jehovah, who was encompassed by idolatries

to which he did not yield, and who alone of his own kindred was

faithful to his God in all his ways.


These three men all saw disasters come upon those with whom

they were associated. If they could not deliver their neighbors in the day

of judgment, if their virtues and piety availed only for themselves, was it

credible that their presence in Jerusalem would save the city and the land

from destruction? It is observable that the “righteousness” of these three

men is admitted, and with commendation, by the Lord God Himself. There

may be danger in praising and flattering the good because of their

goodness. But there are occasions when it is just and right to acknowledge

the moral excellence, the human merit, of men, always with a clear

understanding that all goodness is from God, that in His view all human

character is imperfect, and that nothing can be claimed from Him as a just

reward even by the purest and the most useful among mankind.



REGARDED. It was an honor to be selected by a good man and a

prophet like Ezekiel for special approval and commendation. But it was a

higher honor to be mentioned thus by the direction of THE LORD

GOD HIMSELF!  It is not erroneous to attribute to the Eternal a personal

interest in the sons of time, a regard of that nature with which one who

judges with justice and appreciation esteems the excellent among his fellow

beings. On the contrary, Scripture justifies us in taking such a view of our

Father God, who is never represented as indifferent and heartless, but rather

as looking with satisfaction and favor upon those who delight in His Law

and do His will. There have been occasions upon which the intercessory

prayers offered by such have been received with favor, and have been

graciously answered, to the relief and comfort of those for whom they

have been presented.




FROM PUNISHMENT. It is evidently intended to convey the impression

that God was willing to do great things at the intercession of men so good

and so favored as those named; but that He would not for their sake

contradict His own declarations, reverse His own laws, and abandon His

own moral government. Hence the lesson may be learned that “every man

shall bear his own burden”  (Galatians 6:5), that in the day of account no

man shall deliver his brother. No hope can be vainer than that of those who

rely for their salvation upon the merits and influence of their family, their

friends, their Church, however dear to God. It is plain that, as religion is a

personal matter, as its claims come home to the individual, every hearer of

God’s Word is bound to use for himself those means by which he may,

BY GOD’S GRACE, be delivered from the chain of sin and THE DOOM



15 “If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it,

so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the

beasts:”  Noisome beasts (see note on ch.5:17).


16 “Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD,

they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters; they only shall be

delivered, but the land shall be desolate.  17 Or if I bring a sword upon

that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and

beast from it:  18 Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the

Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only

shall be delivered themselves.”


19 “Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon

it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast:”  Pestilence is joined with blood,

as in ch.5:17; 38:22, as indicating its death-bearing character.


20 “Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord

GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but

deliver their own souls by their righteousness.  21 For thus saith the

Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments

upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast,

and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?”



The Privilege and Power of the Godly,

  Their Nature and Limitation (v. 20)


“Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God,”

etc. Three very distinguished men are here mentioned, two of whom had

long passed away from this world and all its scenes, the other was yet

amongst men upon earth. Yet Noah and Job are spoken of as still in being.

Absent from this world, they were yet living and present in the great

universe of God. These undesigned testimonies to man’s immortality, to be

met with frequently in the Scriptures, afford the basis for a strong

argument in support of that fact.


“The dead are like the stars by day,

Withdrawn from mortal eye;

But not extinct, they hold their way

In glory through the sky.

Spirits from bondage thus set free

Vanish amidst immensity,

Where human thought, like human sight,

Fails to pursue their trackless flight.”


Daniel at this time, like Ezekiel, was an exile in Babylon, and was eminent

both for his piety and his position. Noah, Daniel, and Job were all good

men and great men; they are enrolled amongst the most illustrious of our

race. The prophet in this paragraph predicts “four sore judgments upon

Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the

pestilence,” by reason of their idolatry and other sins.  And in the text he

declares that, when the hour of judgment arrives, even the presence of such

men as Noah, Daniel, and Job in the doomed city would not avail to save

any but their own souls.


  • THE PRIVILEGES OF GOOD MEN. Our text announces the safety of

good men even in the extremest dangers and the most irresistible

judgments. “They shall… deliver their own souls by their righteousness.”

History affords remarkable examples of the deliverance of the good in

times of sore peril (compare Noah -Genesis 7:23;  Lot – Ibid. 19:15-25).

But it is not often that the godly are exempted from the calamities and

judgments which befall the wicked. Thus Daniel, Ezekiel, and other holy

men were carried into Chaldea with those to whom the exile was the

punishment of idolatry, and were now suffering that exile with them.

But invariably “they deliver their own souls by their righteousness.”

If their bodies be not delivered, yet their souls are. Amid the overthrow

of cities, the ruin of countries, or even the wreck of the world, their

spiritual interests are secure. Moreover, though they are not exempt

from general calamities, yet to them the calamities wear a different

aspect from that which they present to the wicked. They are sustained

under them, and enabled to bear them with heroic patience. The suffering

which comes to the wicked as the judgment of a stern Ruler comes to

the righteous as the chastisement of a loving Father. And, by His grace,

out of the scars of suffering, God will bring  the beauties of holiness.

The darkness and anguish which embitter and  harden the heart of the

wicked (for example, Revelation 16:9), will  increase the trust and

tenderness and refine the graces of the righteous.  “Say ye to the

righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit

 of their doings.  Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him:

for the reward of his hands shall be given him.”  (Isaiah 3:10-11)


  • THE POWER OF GOOD MEN. Our text implies that Noah, Daniel,

and Job had power to do much for their fellow men; that they could do

much in averting destruction and saving man. The warning that these three

saints would not be able to screen them from this judgment implies the

belief on the part of the people of Jerusalem that the good men amongst

them, by their lives and prayers, would turn aside the threatening storm. If

any can turn away the judgments of Heaven from a nation of evil doers,

good men can do it. God may spare the wicked because of the righteous.

The power of good men to avert Divine wrath from a people has at least

two branches.


Ø      The power of moral influence with men. They are “the salt of

 the earth”  (Matthew 5:13).  Were it not for their influence society

would become hopelessly corrupt, and the storm of God’s judgment

would sweep the guilty race from the earth.


Ø      The power of intercession with God. We have illustrious examples of

this (compare Genesis 18:23-32; Exodus 32:11-14, 30-34; Numbers

11:1-3; 14:13-20; 16:44-50). Who can estimate the power of the

intercession of good men?



Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall

deliver neither son nor daughter.” When the sin of a people has come to

its height, and the decree has gone forth for their ruin, the piety and prayers

of the best men shall not prevail to finish the controversy. This is here

asserted again and again, that, though these three men were in Jerusalem at

this time, yet they should deliver neither son nor daughter, not so much as

the little ones should be spared for their sakes. This shows how DARK AND

TERRIBLE  the guilt of the inhabitants of Jerusalem must have been

(compare Jeremiah 7:16; 11:14; 15:1). When the forbearance of God is

exhausted, any number of the holiest of men cannot ward off the stroke of

doom. Character may become so utterly depraved that REFORMATION

IS IMPOSSIBLE (This is why God meant for men to train up their

children in the fear and admonition of the Lord and WHY IT IS SUCH




and then NOTHING BUT JUDGMENT REMAINS! Moral disease may

become so deeply rooted and strong that no influence can overcome it, no

power eradicate it, and THEN DESTRUCTION IS INEVITABLE!

When the Divine means of reformation have all been tried, and all have

failed, what remains is UTTER RUIN!    Abused patience will turn at last





Ø      Our subject speaks earnestly to parents concerning the salvation of

their children. If you would have your children saved you must begin

to work early and wisely (Deuteronomy 6:4-12; Ephesians 6:4).

While the chains of evil habits are unforged, and the heart

is susceptible of sacred impressions, and the conscience sensitive,

and the sympathies tender, we must seek the salvation of our children

if we would secure it. (Remember that “The chains of habit are

too light to be felt until they are too strong to be broken!!  Also,

“It is easier to take your children in to Sodom than to lead them

Out!” – CY  - 2014).  Oh, the time may come when the holiest of

men “shall deliver neither son nor daughter” from the storms of

God’s judgment!


Ø      Our text reminds us all that salvation is a personal concern. Our

continuance in sin may lead, nay, must lead, to a moral condition in

which the prayers of the most loving and sainted parents may avail

nothing for their own son or daughter. You must believe on

Jesus Christ for yourself, repent of your sins yourself. You must

“work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” 

(Philippians 2:12).  There is no working by proxy here. “Each one

of us shall give account of himself to God.”  (Romans 14:12).

Therefore “strive to enter in by the narrow gate,” (Matthew 7:13).

“Give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure.”

(II Peter 1:10)


22 “Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought

forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto

you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be

comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem,

even concerning all that I have brought upon it. 23 And they shall comfort

you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have

not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD.”

The words end with a gleam of hope shining through the judgments. For Ezekiel,

as for Isaiah, there is the thought of a “remnant that shall return” (Isaiah 10:20-22).

It has been questioned whether “the ways and the doings” which are to bring

comfort to men’s minds are those of the evil past or of the subsequent repentance.

I incline to the view that they include both. Men should see at once the severity

and the goodness of Jehovah (Romans 11:22). His punishments had not been

arbitrary nor excessive. They had also been as a discipline leading men to repentance.

In each of those facts there was a ground of comfort for men who asked the

question, which Abraham asked of old, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth

do right?” (Genesis 18:25). In either aspect men will recognize that

God has not done without cause all that He has done. In this way the

prophet seeks, as others have done since, to justify the ways of God to

man. Ezekiel’s word for “remnant” is, it may be noted, not the same as

Isaiah’s, its primary significance being “these that escape.” Ezekiel does

not quote the earlier prophet, though his thoughts are in harmony with him.



Human Atonement Valueless (vs. 12-23)


The hopeful among the Jews probably remembered that in times of former

correction God had yielded, in some measure, to the intercessions of the

saints. If they had not gained all that they asked, they had gained some

advantage. Why might that not occur again? Might not God concede some

of His demand? This was impossible, for the first necessity was that

righteous government be maintained. No good can ever come to men by




thing for men to affect surprise at the severity of God’s chastisement.

(How can a Just God allow such thing to happen?  I heard this often

in secular circles in comments on various things that happen in our society!

CY – 2014).  Yet this is only an outcome of their ignorance. They have no

conception of THE TREMENDOUS EVIL OF SIN!  Its magnitude defies

all human measurement. We cannot follow it into all its ramifications of

mischief. We see the beginning of the vicious stream; the ending is beyond

our sight. It is an injury to the moral universe, and we cannot estimate it.

Had Eve foreseen all the painful results of taking the forbidden fruit,

surely she would have resisted the tempter.  (Had Abraham known

of the modern jealousies between the Jews and the Arabs, no doubt

he would have thought twice before going into Hagar! – CY – 2014)



not always possible for men to discriminate between great sins and small;

yet even men can discover when sin becomes rapidly contagious, and when

it is largely influential for evil!  When a man, by a plausible embellishment of

vice, entraps ten thousand others into the snare, and makes his vice

fashionable, popular, universal, — his sin is heinous.   (Like “Jeroboam,

who made Israel to sin.”  (I Kings 14:16 and many other places – CY – 2014).

As for a disease that has become epidemic the severest remedies are employed,

so when a sin becomes national, terrible chastisement is demanded. To

vindicate His righteous law, God sometimes employs the scourge of pestilence;

sometimes famine; sometimes war; sometimes a plague of locusts. But

when iniquity breaks out with virulence, or becomes aggravated and

stubborn, He will combine all his methods of chastisement, in order to

cleanse the land. Always His punishments are well apportioned, never

excessive. The balance is in the hand of Infinite Wisdom.



RIGHTEOUSNESS. The messenger of Jehovah singles out for mention

three men who were eminent for piety and faith. His language implies that

if any men could prevail with God to abate His penalties, these were the

men. It was useless for him to make mention of men of inferior piety. Any

righteous man would not suffice. To have any hope of success, he must be

a man of transcendent purity. This conviction was universal in the minds of

the people. It was founded on reason, on experience, on the records of past



Ø      Had not Moses gained a respite for the nation by his righteous


Ø      Had not Samuel averted the stroke of Divine anger from Israel?

Ø      Had not Noah’s righteousness secured the safety of seven persons

beside himself? Why should it not be so again?

Ø      Daniel was living among them — a man eminent for loyalty to Jehovah.

Ø      Were not Jeremiah and Ezekiel interceding for the people?


If anything could save the nation from utter destruction, surely it was the

righteous zeal of these godly men!



A SINGLE PENALTY FROM OTHERS. A man’s personal righteousness

will always serve as a screen for himself, never as a shield for others. Far

be it from God to destroy the righteous with the wicked!  (Genesis 18:25).

This would be to obliterate eternal distinctions. This would be for God

to act against Himself.  The righteous are safe when dangers are thickest.

They have an invulnerable panoply. And the prayers of the righteous have

often gained temporary advantages for the unrighteous. Such intercession

has obtained a brief respite for repentance — has obtained a postponement

of the catastrophe. Yet as a righteous man, however zealous, has no power

to transform the moral nature of another man, he cannot deliver him WHEN


THE MAIN PILLAR OF THE UNIVERSE,  and, if justice fails, the

universe wilt be shivered.



MEN ALL DIVINE PENALTIES. This is an argument ad hominem. If the

righteousness of the best men that ever lived cannot quench one fiery dart

of God’s vengeance, much less can it quench all the darts in God’s quiver.

There was a propriety in every particular form of chastisement which God

employed; it would therefore be unbecoming every attribute of His nature

to suspend that chastisement, while the causal sin yet remained. Men little

surmise the terrible necessity there is for retribution, because THEY DO

NOT PERCEIVE THE MAGNITUDE OF SIN!   It is a fearful thing

to provoke the anger of the living God.  (“For our God is a consuming

fire! - Hebrews 12:29)



RIGHTEOUSNESS CLEAR TO MEN. It is possible that the elders of

Israel did not immediately acquiesce in the first necessity for this severe

course. They did not know the full extent of Israel’s sin. Ignorance is often

the root of discord. But God would spare a few — most probably the best

— of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. These should in due time be conveyed

to Tel-Abib, and join the older members of the Captivity. But so base and

intolerable will the characters of this remnant appear, that the elders

themselves will confess that God’s judgments were not a whit too severe

— that a less chastisement would be inadequate. This act of God exhibits

the graciousness of His character. He deigns to explain and to justify His

ways unto His trustful children. “The secret of the Lord is with them that

fear Him, and He will show them His covenant”   (Psalm 25:14).  He

takes them into his fullest confidence.



Purpose in Providence (v. 23)




discover design in all the movements of nature so easily as we may detect

this in its structure. Though we may be startled at times by the aptness of

the providential overruling of history, too often we are perplexed,

dismayed, confounded. The wicked man flourishes like a green bay tree,

and the good man is persecuted or perishes in a vain conflict with adverse

circumstances. Psalmists of old noticed this familiar fact, and grieved over

it (e.g. Psalm 17:10). of his power who can understand?”  There is mystery

in God’s  providence in nature and in the world.  There are difficulties which

puzzle and perplex us when we are suddenly confronted with situations in life!  

Job said, “Lo, these are but the outskirts of His ways:  and how small a

whisper do we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power  who can

understand?”  (Job 26:14).  We know that God has mind, and that

            He exercises what with us would be called forethought.  The righteousness

            and love of God make it certain that he does not act without a cause..




Ø      The failure to discover a cause is no proof that it does not exist. We

cannot limit the range of existence to the scope of our knowledge. There

are hidden physical causes which the most searching scientific analysis

has failed to trace: why may there not be also hidden final causes, deep

purposes of God, which no mind of man can reach?


Ø      The proved purpose of God in known regions suggests the existence of

a like purpose in unknown regions. We can trace more purpose in

creation than in providence; but since the same God rules over both,

it is to be presumed that the spirit of design which pervades the one

runs through the other. We know that God has mind, and that He

exercises what with us would be called forethought. Moreover, it is

impossible to suppose that His principal dealings with His own

children will be aimless when His less momentous works are instinct

with purpose.


Ø      The righteousness and love of God make it certain that he does not act

without a cause. Reckless action is morally defective. Ethics bears

directly on motive and purpose. A just God must have a righteous

object with which to act. The love of God emphasizes the assurance

of purpose in providence, for no one would treat those dear to him

with heedless indifference. This is especially applicable to the infliction

of chastisement. A just and merciful God cannot send chastisement

without adequate cause.



DECLARED. It is impossible for us to see it yet, for we cannot look

beyond the grave, nor can we scale the heights of Divine thought in the

infancy of our spiritual experience. The schoolboy cannot see the utility of

all his lessons. But if he has been well taught in boyhood, when he is a man

he will look back on the hard training with appreciative satisfaction, and

will therefore order a similar process for his children. It would not be well

for us to see the end yet, for we must be trained by faith. But earthly

experience often throws back light on dark passages of life, and they then

flash into a new meaning which calls forth gratitude as well as wonder.

Beyond this world the fuller explanation will come. (I personally believe

that it will take eternity to understand it all!  - CY – 2014)  “For our

light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more

exceeding and ETERNAL WEIGHT OF GLORY!”  (II Corinthians 4:17).





                        The Reasonableness of God’s Action (vs. 22-23)


There is that in human nature to which religion appeals, and by which

religion asks to be judged. Religion does indeed speak with authority, but

the authority is that of wisdom and righteousness. Man’s judgment and

conscience approve the order of Divine providence, and the tenor of Divine

revelation. More particularly, upon the suggestion of this passage, it should

be remarked that:



SPARING MERCY. The prophet speaks both of “the sore judgments upon

Jerusalem,” and also of “the remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons





in the great waters.” “Who can by searching find out God?”  (Job 11:7)

The firmest believer in Divine providence has frequent occasion to confess his

utter inability to explain the events which happen around him. Why are some

men prosperous, whilst others pass through affliction and calamity? Why

do some escape in seasons of disaster, whilst others are overwhelmed?

Why are God’s ways often to all appearance inconsistent with a regard to

the equitable treatment of the wicked and the good? Such questions ever

recur. They may, indeed, in the case of some observers, never be put; but

when put they cannot be answered.




RIGHTEOUSNESS. Individual facts may be difficult to reconcile with our

religious beliefs, but general principles and laws, when we rise to them, are

recognized as just and good. And the higher the view we take of human

nature and human life, the more do anomalies disappear. If we clearly

perceive that man is made for goodness, and not for enjoyment, that the

earthly life is a discipline and a preparation, that the great end of all is that

man may share the Divine nature and the Divine life, — such convictions

will help us to see and feel the wisdom and the goodness that distinguish

God’s government of men. There is in God’s ways no error and no caprice.




expression used is very remarkable. The Lord assures those who observe

His treatment of Israel that upon reflection they shall be “comforted”

concerning the evil brought upon Jerusalem. The wisdom, and even the

true benevolence, of the Divine ways shall in due time be made apparent.

The cause for which what has been done has been ordered by providence

shall be recognized and shall be approved as justifying the great Ruler and

His government. Thus shall His Name be glorified.



The Righteousness of God Doubted and Vindicated

                                    (vs. 22-23)


 “Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth,”

etc. Our text, as Fairbairn points out, “is addressed to the people already in

exile, who are regarded as viewing the destruction about to be executed on

Jerusalem with astonishment and some degree of dissatisfaction. The

prophet tells such there would certainly be a remnant — not, however, in

the proper sense, as if they were themselves deserving persons, or spared

for blessing for the sake of the pious among them — but a remnant still so

wedded to sin, and so manifestly deserving of severe chastisement, that

every one would recognize the justice of God’s dealings toward them.Ye

shall see,’ to use the language of Calvin, ‘the men to be so wicked, that ye

shall be forced to confess the city was deserving of destruction, and the

men themselves worthy of death. And instead of murmuring and fretting

against God, ye shall be satisfied it could not have been otherwise ordered,

their wickedness was of so desperate a nature; so that with soothed and

tranquil minds, ye shall henceforth proclaim my righteousness, and cease

any more to utter the complaints which now disturb your minds!’” Let us




GOD IN HIS JUDGMENTS. Ezekiel foresaw that his fellow exiles would

be amazed at the sternness of the judgments of God upon Jerusalem. Those

judgments would be of great severity. And amongst the exiles there were

some pious persons who would be troubled with doubts as to whether the

Lord had sufficient cause for what He had done there. They would be

distressed with the suspicion that perhaps the visitation of God had been

disproportionate in its severity — that the sins of the people had not

merited such punishment. And they would be distressed with misgivings as

to the righteousness of God in the matter. “So long as we do not

understand that God on just grounds acts sternly, so long are our souls

distressed and tormented.” Somewhat thus Abraham felt respecting the

doom pronounced on Sodom and Gomorrah. “That be far from thee to do

after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked, that so the

righteous should be as the wicked; that be far from thee: shall not the

Judge of all the earth do right?” We have here, as Robertson, in

fragmentary but striking and suggestive notes, remarks, “a suspicion of the

Divine justice: the most horrible with which the mind of man can be

tempted. Dreadful to doubt one’s own salvation, and feel suspended over

the gulf! But a more terrible gulf when we doubt whether all is right here.

‘Oh, to see the misery of this bleeding world!’ Consider for a moment the

misconception of these words, ‘Shall not the Judge of all the earth do

right?’ They have been used to prove the sovereignty of God. God is

Judge, therefore what He does is right. He has a right, and therefore it is

right. But Abraham does not say that. So far from acquiescing in the

predestinarian feeling — it is to be, and therefore it is right; God is a

sovereign, and may do what He pleases — (“....our God is in the heavens:

He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased.”  Psalm 115:3)  He is precisely

doubting this, whether, though God be Judge, His deeds are right, taking the

moral sense of Abraham as a text, and considering it horrible if God’s acts

do not agree with it. It is a perilous way of speaking, ‘God has a right to decree

what He will; my salvation, your damnation.’ It is not so the Bible speaks. It

appeals to the sense of justice, ‘Are not my ways equal?’ (ch. 18:25)  God

never says, ‘I create a thing right, therefore I do it.’ God’s will does not make

a thing right. It is God’s character which determines His will. For else, if the

devil had created this world, wrong would be right, because his will, and we

should have the terrible doctrine — might makes right” (‘Life and Letters,’

Appendix 3.) This is as applicable to the doubts and fears of the exiles as to

the righteousness of God in His judgments upon Jerusalem, as to the doubts

of Abraham as to the doom of the cities of the plain. This concern of godly

men for the righteousness of God’s dealings implies:


1. An inward sense of righteousness. It is a testimony to the existence and

exercise and majesty of the moral sense in man. It is an outcome of the

working of conscience.


2. Deep solicitude for the honor of God. Any doubt of His holiness, or of

     the rectitude of His doings, causes sore pain to His people, and it does so

     because the glory of His character is unspeakably dear to them!




      GOD IN HIS JUDGMENTS.  The Lord, by the prophet, assures the troubled

exiles that they should know that  He had not done without cause all that He

had done in Jerusalem.


Ø      This conviction would be wrought by the manifestation of the

wickedness of the people. “Therein shall be left a remnant that shall be

carried forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto

you, and ye shall see their way and their doings,” etc. The remnant that

should be carried into captivity would make it clear, from their degradation

and sin, that the judgments inflicted upon Jerusalem were deserved by the

guilty inhabitants thereof. The exhibition of their wickedness would

manifest the justice of God in their punishment. The pious exiles in Chaldea

would perceive “that such corruption had deserved such destruction.”

God’s righteousness is clearly manifest in those that perish, as well as by

means of those that escape.”


Ø      This conviction would bring peace to the good. “Ye shall be comforted

concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem,” etc. The comfort

lies in the justification of the ways of God. Their painful doubts as to His

righteousness would be destroyed. Their faith in Him would be established.

And faith brings PEACE and REST to the soul.


Ø      The production of this conviction was ordered by God. He did not chide

or condemn them for their painful doubts; but promised them evidence for

the invigoration and confirmation of their faith. And He so controlled

events as to bring about this result. It appears from this that He is



o        for the vindication of His own righteousness, and

o        for the peace of His people.


Wherefore in His own time He will remove every cloud that veils the

rectitude of His works and ways, and make it apparent to the whole

intelligent universe that all His purposes and operations are just and true.

Jesus said, “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed;

 neither hid, that shall not be known.  (Luke 12:2)


·         CONCLUSION.


            1. Let us cherish a strong assurance of the righteousness of God in all His

                designs and deeds.


            2. If in anything His righteousness seems hidden from us, let us wait

               patiently for His own vindication thereof.









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