26 August 2008

No More Prolonged – 8.26.08

Ezekiel 12:21-28 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD. Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel had been forewarned that his ministry was to be carried out among a "rebellious house." And so it was. The people ignored the message of Ezekiel, who prophesied in Babylon during the time of the captivity, just as much as they had ignored the message of his predecessor, Jeremiah, who prophesied in Jerusalem just prior to the Babylonian captivity.

Now, in the passage at hand we learn of a curious proverb that was spoken in those days, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth. This was the excuse they gave for disregarding the word of God. Basically, they said, "Ezekiel, you're doing all this preaching on the judgment of God, and you're warning us of the consequences of our evil ways, but we don't believe you because we can't see anything bad that's happened to us as a result of how we're living." They brushed off all the prophecies by saying, he prophesieth of the times that are far off. (Keep in mind that the whole time they were making these excuses they were living in captivity in Babylon – as a direct result of their rebellion against the word of God!)

So God instructed Ezekiel to respond to Israel's excuses by letting them know that the days when His word would be validated and His judgment would fall would be no more prolonged. Ezekiel was to preach the message of Galatians 6:7, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

This message is needed in our day as well. Far too often our own lives echo this proverb of the Israelites and confirm the words of Ecclesiastes 8:11, Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

We need to be warned that just because God doesn't chasten us immediately doesn't mean there won't be consequences for our actions. When you put a seed in the ground, it takes time for that thing to germinate and grow before it can be harvested, but there will eventually be a harvest.

Young man, young lady, be assured that if you sow to the flesh, then of the flesh you will reap corruption (Galatians 6:8). Remember there will be a payday someday. Recognize that you just might be at that point – like Judah was – where God's forbearance will be no more prolonged. Then repent and seek His mercy (Proverbs 28:13).

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