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‘Out of their own hearts.’
In the previous chapter Ezekiel denounced the false expectations of the people; here he denounces the false leaders who fed those expectations. Jeremiah joined in the denunciations ( Jeremiah 29:21; Jeremiah 29:31).
I. Some of these prophets were conscious knaves, but others were the dupes of their own fancies.—They prophesied what they and the people wished, and not what God revealed to them. The source of their messages was ‘their own spirit.’ Perpetually we are meeting those who have mistaken the voice of their own spirit for that of God. When you wish a thing very much, take care that your wishes do not colour your anticipations. The prophets are compared to foxes, which spoil the vines ( Song of Solomon 2:15), when they ought to have been the repairers of the breaches which had been caused in God’s protecting care by the sins and backslidings of the people.
II. Instead of a work of solid repair, the prophets made a show of making the breaches good.—They filled them in only with the untempered cement of their false and vain prognostications, and covered the whole with whitewash. They said, ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ when God had not spoken. But their words would be swept away as a wall falls before wind, rain, and hailstones. The invasion of the Chaldeans would be the destroying storm before which they and their wall would disappear.
III. Modern counterparts.—There are always plenty of false prophets to be found, who, whatever doctrine is in vogue, are ready to countenance and sustain it. But all their work is only to entrap unwary souls, and add to their personal condemnation. The great hailstones and the stormy wind will work their wild fury, in spite of wall or mortar. It becomes us, who are set to be the ministers of God’s Holy Word, to ask ourselves very anxiously, whether we are proclaiming the whole purpose of God, or are pandering to the tastes and whims, the loose doctrine and loose living of our people? It becomes every servant of God to be very watchful, and not to make pillows for carnal ease, nor kerchiefs for ashamed faces. Ah, the lies with which the hearts of God’s people are being made sad! Truly, the Master suffers most at the hands of His friends.
‘In the two classes of prophets here presented to our notice, the one could lay claim, as well as the other, to the internal consciousness of some spiritual thought or idea; the only question was, Whence came the idea? Did it spring up from within, as of itself? or was it presented there by the Spirit of God? Was the mind’s consciousness of the thoughts and feelings it experienced of its own awakening, or was it awakened by a divine and formal communication from above? If we lose sight of this important distinction, we virtually make no account of what constitutes the fundamental element of a divine revelation, and leave ourselves without a fixed landmark between the movements of God’s Spirit and the capricious workings of human fancy. And confounding thus things that essentially differ in regard to the origin of a revelation, we lay ourselves open to the further error of disparaging the value of a revelation, when made! we totally change it, indeed, and lower its character, and assign it only a kind of higher room among the views and cogitations of men’s own imagining.’
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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Ezekiel 13". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany