When the Prophets Prophesy from Their Own Hearts

Some weeks ago, I was led to study the book of Ezekiel. It’s a hard book. The prophet Ezekiel is sent to deliver a word of judgment to Israel while they are in Babylonian exile. The picture God paints of Israel’s departure from Him is stinging :

Ezekiel 16:30-33 (ESV)

30 “How sick is your heart, declares the Lord God, because you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen prostitute, 31 building your vaulted chamber at the head of every street, and making your lofty place in every square. Yet you were not like a prostitute, because you scorned payment. 32 Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband! 33 Men give gifts to all prostitutes, but you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from every side with your whorings.

God actually said that Israel’s sin was so bad that they made Sodom look good! Of course, as I read these things, I never thought they applied to me. Not me. If anything, I put myself in the place of Ezekiel in the story, conveniently forgetting that just last month I got a very serious warning from God in a dream reminding me that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. Yes that’s right… It took less than 30 days for me to lose that sense of fallibility and dependency on grace and to step into pride. It is much easier than we would like to admit (that I would to admit) to become comfortable in a state of sin, all the while believing we are right with God.

As I read God’s indictments to Israel, three passages stood out to me:

  1. Ezekiel 5:7-8 (ESV)

Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my rules, and have not even acted according to the rules of the nations that are all around you, therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. 

  1. Ezekiel 13:2-7 (ESV)

“Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’ Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! Your prophets have been like jackals among ruins, O Israel. You have not gone up into the breaches, or built up a wall for the house of Israel, that it might stand in battle in the day of the Lord. They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the Lord,’ although I have not spoken?”

  1. Ezekiel 16:48-51 (ESV)

48 As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it. 51 Samaria has not committed half your sins. You have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations that you have committed.

If we are to allow the word of God to reveal our blind spots and transform us, then we have to prayerfully reflect on scripture even when we do not think it applies to us. In this case:

  1. Are we lawless? Are we living by our own rules instead of God’s?
  2. Are the words we speak out of our own desires of our hearts? Do we speak God’s words or our own?
  3. Are we comfortable and prideful? Are we living in excess while indifferent to the poor and needy?

I encourage all of us to really spend some time before God with these questions. It is way easier to see the log in the other person’s eye. Much more humility and painful self-awareness are necessary to see the splinters in our own eyes and to allow God to remove them.

For those that would allow God to search their hearts and make a change there is good news:

Ezekiel 18:30-32 (ESV)

30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin.  31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

This is great news. God’s anger is but for a moment but his mercy and love from everlasting to everlasting! He only disciplines those He loves, and His steadfast love endures forever! Let us be zealous to examine our hearts and turn from our transgressions. Our God takes no pleasure in the death of anyone. Let us turn and live!

Copyright 2020, Matik Nicholls. All rights reserved.

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