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The Prophet is here, at the Lord's command, preaching by type. Several situations he is placed in, purposely to follow up the more advantageously, the Lord's purposes.
It is very proper for the Reader to remark what the Lord so often repeats to his servant the Prophet concerning his people, that they are a rebellious house. For this consideration will help the Reader to make a double improvement of the subject; first, of their unworthiness; and secondly, of the divine mercy, and long sufferings, manifested towards them. What, but covenant faithfulness in Jehovah, could have held out against such hardened wickedness? And what but Jesus's person, blood, and righteousness, could have been found to plead forbearance? Oh! how precious thus to behold the efficacy of salvation in Jesus, to the old Church, before that Jesus came to render it effectual both to the old and new? The figure of Ezekiel's removing his stuff, was happily chosen, to show the removal of all Israel into captivity. Probably the captives in Babylon hoped somewhat might yet be done by the prince Zedekiah, and the people that still remained at Jerusalem, for bringing them back. And therefore these false hopes Ezekiel is here, by type, throwing down; and showing, that even Zedekiah himself, with all that remained in Jerusalem, except a few, should follow the captives into Babylon.
We have here another sermon of the Prophet; which though short is solemn, and full of significance. The whole nation of Israel is under divine correction. The portion already carried away into Babylon, and those that remained at Jerusalem, were all alike brought under the rod. In such seasons, fear, and sorrow, and distress of mind, are the suited and becoming feelings of the heart. Ezekiel is to set the example. For it is highly proper the prophets of the Lord should be first in having a lively sense of divine judgments, who are to speak of them to the people. It is well both in joy, and sorrow, that they should take the lead. I beg the Reader not to overlook the grand design of all, in the Lord's chastisements of his people, with which this sermon closeth, like the former, namely, that they may know Jehovah to be the Lord. It is a blessed close to every ordination, and to every event, when this is induced!
Here is a third sermon of the Prophet; and it is to the same purport as the former. It should seem, that it was become almost proverbial, if judgments did not immediately follow the commission of sin, the sinner took confidence, and said, the days are prolonged, and every vision faileth. Solomon had remarked, much to the same purpose, long before. Ecclesiastes 8:11 . But the Lord here reproves the presumptuous thought. One of the Apostles had it in commission to tell the sinner, in yet more awful terms, the sad mistake of such reasoning. See 2 Peter 3:3-11 .
This fourth Sermon closeth as the former, and the purport is to the same amount. The Lord's ways are sure, and none of his words can fall to the ground. And what a sweet thought is this, to the believer in Jesus: how alarming soever it becomes to the despiser of His great name! Precious Lord Jesus! be it my portion ever to keep in remembrance thy word, and do Thou fulfil that sweet promise to my heart. John 14:23 .
READER! if we spiritualize this chapter, in the several sermons contained in it, may not you and I read the Lord's word as addressed to ourselves? Child of man, saith Jehovah, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house; yea, we may answer, true, Lord, for we carry about with us, in ourselves, a rebellious heart. Everything, indeed, both within and without; the remains of indwelling corruption, the whole world that lieth in wickedness, and the great enemy of souls, make open rebellion but too often in the soul. And ought we not, under such circumstances, to do as the Prophet was commanded, prepare for removing; and from one place to another, from strength to strength, in the sight of all the people, testify to every beholder, that here we have no continuing city, but are seeking for one to come. Surely the people of God should be for signs and wonders, as Joshua and his fellows were, men wondered at! yea! the bread of life and the water of life, even while the children of God receive it, and live upon it, in the review of our unworthiness, and distinguishing grace, which makes all the difference between the precious and the vile, may well be eaten with holy fear and with Godly astonishment. Believers, while they rejoice, rejoice with trembling. Precious Lord Jesus! how increasingly precious dost thou appear, when the undeservings of thy redeemed are kept in remembrance. Well may every child of God cry out with the Prophet, on beholding visions of his glory, woe is me for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for mine eyes have seen the King the Lord of Hosts. What a relief to a soul under these awakening views of sin and uncleanliness is it to behold, and with an eye of faith, the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ezekiel 12". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany