THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Ezekiel: Effective Ministry To The Spiritually Rebellious
Part XXVIII: God's Complaint About Jerusalem's Great Violations Of The Ten Commandments
A. The Mosaic Law in practice by sinful man exposes man's sin, Romans 3:19-20, and the Ten Commandments present the key principles of God's righteousness in a society. Thus, just focusing on how well a people heeds or fails to heed the Ten Commandments gives insight into their overall spiritual welfare.
B. Ezekiel 22:1-12 applies the Ten Commandments and other laws to the functions of the nation, revealing that the people of Israel were in ghastly violation of God's righteousness and deserved His severe discipline.
C. We thus view the passage for our insight and edification (as follows):
II. God's Complaint About Jerusalem's Great Violations Of The Ten Commandments, Ezekiel 22:1-12.
A. As in Ezekiel 20:4 when God asked Ezekiel if he would judge Israel's elders, The Lord again asked Ezekiel if he would judge Jerusalem, the city that sheds blood, Ezekiel 22:1-2a ESV. This question "has the force of a command, 'Judge these people!'" full of intense emotion. (Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1263-1264)
B. God then directed Ezekiel to confront the city with all of her abominations (Ezekiel 22:2b), and in doing so in Ezekiel 22:3-12, we see a great array of wicked abominations of the Law that was occurring in Jerusalem:
1. First, God pointed to two major sins that summarized Jerusalem's violation of the Law, Ezekiel 22:2b-5:
a. Jerusalem was guilty of the shedding of blood and idolatry, and these two sins are repeated for emphasis with the conclusion that the appointed time of the city's judgment had arrived, Ezekiel 22:2b-4a.
b. These sins corresponded to the two major requirements of the Law -- love of God with one's entire being and love for one's neighbor as himself (Matthew 22:34-40). However, in place of loving God, Jerusalem had turned to idols, and in place of loving one's neighbor, Jerusalem was full of murder, Ibid., p. 1269.
c. Consequently, in judgment, God was about to make Jerusalem a reproach among the Gentile nations, a mockery to all the countries round about her, for she was a city full of tumult due to her sin, Ezek. 22:4b-5.
2. Then, the Lord listed specific, great violations of the Mosaic Law in Ezekiel 22:6-12 (as follows):
a. The officials in the city, those responsible for keeping law and order in society, had themselves used their powers as government officials abusively to kill innocent people for personal gain, Ezekiel 22:6.
b. Fathers and mothers who were supposed to be honored according to Exodus 20:12 were being treated with contempt in great violation not only of the Mosaic Law, but of Middle Eastern culture, Ezekiel 22:7a.
c. Aliens, orphans and widows, vulnerable people God had charged Israel not to mistreat in Exodus 22:21-22, suffered extortion and wrongs in violation of the Exodus 20:15 prohibition against theft, Ezek. 22:7b.
d. God charged Jerusalem's people with despising His holy things and violating His Sabbaths in violation of the Exodus 20:9-11 command, Ezekiel 22:8.
e. Men in the city had slandered others in order to have them killed, a violation of the Exodus 20:16 that forbade bearing false witness against one's neighbor and Exodus 20:13 that forbade murder, Ezek. 22:9a.
f. People in the city had eaten on the mountains, a reference to practicing idol worship that involved eating foods shared with false deities in pagan high places in violation of Exodus 20:3; Ezek. 22:9b; Ibid., 1269.
g. Men in the city had committed sexually lewd acts in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 22:9) in extensive violation of the Exodus 20:14 prohibition against adultery, and the vile forms of this sin are noted in Ezekiel 22:10-11:
i. Some men committed adultery with their father's wives, Ezekiel 22:10a.
ii. Some men violated women during their period in violation of Leviticus 18:19; Ezekiel 22:10b.
iii. Some men committed adultery with their neighbor's wives, Ezekiel 22:11a.
iv. Some committed incest with a daughter-in-law or a sister versus Leviticus 18:9, 15; Ezek. 22:11b.
h. Men had sinned in complex ways, taking bribes to murder (Exodus 20:13) or taking unjust interest (Leviticus 18:25) to steal by extortion (Exodus 20:15) from others, Ezekiel 22:12a.
i. In all these things, they had forgotten the Lord, turning from Him unto great wickedness, Ezek. 22:12b.
Lesson: The Lord revealed a list of great sins the people of Jerusalem had committed in abandoning Him, which abandonment had eventually led to a totally corrupt society marked by tumult and ripe for God's judgment.
Application: Since any departure from the Lord, due to the dangerous sin nature that dwells within us, is the first step toward eventual great, catastrophic evil, may we cleave to God by faith for His righteousness and blessing.