Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’—when the Lord has not spoken. The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice.
Have you ever waited for a judge to release a decision? Maybe it was your personal case, maybe it was the whole country awaiting a verdict or decision. We hope the facts are being weighed with restorative justice in mind, because once the gavel drops, the judge’s word is final.
Today we have God’s judgement in the full sense of the word. Not only is Ezekiel describing the consequences of evil, he tells it in such a way that we can imagine a judge reading out the case for his decision. And the list of crimes is long indeed.
For my entire life, I’ve heard Christians worry loudly that God’s judgement is coming on America for pulling further away from God’s intention. Some of the common concerns I hear are echoed in this chapter: violence and sexual sins, for instance. But most of what God is going on about here are sins that we also readily commit—but don’t seem to worry much about: economic injustice and failure to care for the poor, the needy, and the foreigner.
When I hear Christians in sermons, speeches, or media worrying that we are sliding away from God’s will, I almost never hear these things mentioned.
If God were to sit in judgement on us, would He find that we were busy caring for the poor, the needy, and the foreigners in our community? Plenty of our brothers and sisters fit into all three categories, right here in our own neighborhoods. Do we realize that this is foundational to Christian morality and identity?
Questions for reflection and discussion: What are some of the sins God is judging in this chapter? Do they seem like the sort of things we worry about? What here is convicting to you? Can you identify “false prophets” that obscure what God has actually asked of us in the Bible? How do you, your family, and your community choose to obey God in these ways?