Archive for October 26th, 2017

I remember an incident from my childhood where allegedly, (I still maintain!) I’d done something which merited punishment and where there was nothing I could do or say that would change my parents’ minds. The matter had reached the point of no return, and nothing would avert the punishment.

There’s a similar dynamic at work as we begin this passage. As the regime in Judah reaches its sad anti-climax, Ezekiel conveys the message that not even the protestations of a faithful remnant (Noah, Daniel and Job) could avert the coming disaster (v.12-23). It’s tempting to compare and contrast the passage with Genesis 18: compare, because of the reference in both passages to a larger group being saved by the presence of a righteous minority; contrast, because arguably, the residents of Judah, as the people of God, should have known better (see Ezekiel 16:48, for example).

Anyway, back in Ezekiel 14, the ‘Daniel’ referenced in v.3 is not universally acknowledged as the Daniel of Old Testament prophetic fame, but possibly a more ancient figure. This would explain the otherwise strange order of appearance of the three names, Daniel sandwiched as he is between Noah and Job. Both Noah (Genesis 6:9) and Job (in his own book, 1:1) are commended for their righteousness. By inference, at least, Daniel is too – either through his own book (directly following that of his contemporary, Ezekiel), or just by his inclusion amongst such illustrious company, if indeed he is a more mysterious alternative. Either way, the righteous group is described as unable to fend off what’s coming.

And what’s coming is decidedly unpalatable. Ezekiel’s first image is that of a useless vine (the ‘vine’ being a routinely used picture of Israel when faithless, a picture that is beautifully redeemed by Jesus in John 15:1, “I am the true vine”). For Judah, for now, there is to be no escape, no obvious redemption. The judgment will fall, and they are past the point of no return, but even here (and yes, with the benefit of hindsight) hope is not completely lost.

How encouraging, as we pray for situations that we face ourselves or that others face or those we face as communities and nations, that nothing is beyond redemption, even if it appears that it is and even if the ‘prophetic indicators’ (as in this passage) seem to paint a gloomy picture.

Surely, we must still pray, even if all seems lost!










Father God, thank you that you are always faithful. Please show me the situations that you would have me pray for today. Amen.

October 2017
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