Praise our Wonderful and Mighty Maker – יהוה our Elohim, we are to praise His Name, and our ability to truly praise Him and worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, despite the circumstances we find ourselves in, becomes greater the more we walk in and trust in His Word. Shabbat Shalom everyone, blessed be יהוה our Elohim who has given us His Shabbat! This week I was intrigued by a passage in Yeḥezqĕl and the more I meditated on it, the more I saw this is for us living today as much as it was for Yisra’ĕl back then. We are entering in to a season that is a much worshipped and served pagan festival, yes we all know what I am talking about – Christmas. A very pagan feast that has sadly been adopted by many well-meaning confessed followers of the Saviour. This is nothing other than a pure abomination unto יהוה and should be to us too. The sin that is so prevalent in our time – in worshipping false deities must come to an end – at least for those who claim to be followers of Messiah. Yeḥezqĕl was a watchmen for Yisra’ĕl and he continually warned them of coming judgement that would come upon the land – the whole land that is where none would be able to escape. In two messages that Yeḥezqĕl delivered unto Yisra’ĕl, we see that יהוה was the source of these messages given in chapters 6 & 7 as they both began with, “And the word of יהוה came to me, saying.” The first message was on Yisra’ĕl’s idolatry and the cause for judgement and the second, in chapter 7, depicted the nature of the judgement. It is chapter 7 that I want us to look at tonight in a message entitled, “A lesson on sin”. What jumped out at me while reading this was the repetition of יהוה repaying for their abominations, abominations that were in their midst – in other words – sin that was still very much alive and active! Turn with me to Yeḥezqĕl 7 and let us look at this very stern message of יהוה spoken through His prophet. (Read)
Yeḥezqĕl‘s message was that the end had come on the four corners of the land. He used the word ‘end’ five times, at the beginning of this message. The events about to unfold on Yisra’ĕl would bring a new revelation of יהוה’s character; the people would realize that יהוה, being righteous, punishes sin. יהוה vowed to unleash His anger against Yisra’ĕl without pity. He would judge her according to her conduct and repay her for her detestable practices. These judgments were repeated for emphasis. Then she would know that He is יהוה, a clause that appears again at the end of this message.
So what is this passage all about? Well, we know that יהוה hates sin and that there will come a day where he will judge all according to their works. This is an eschatological message, speaking of the day of יהוה – it is at hand. And it was a warning to Yisra’ĕl to turn from their wickedness or else… as we have just read what would happen!
We know from the messages Yeḥezqĕl gave to Yisra’ĕl that the sin that caused the judgment of יהוה was:
1 – Idolatry – at which he called the people to account for their disgusting behaviour – they had set up sun-pillars, were worshipping false idols and had high places of worship and slaughter-places unto pagan deities. Sounds the same today, especially as we see the pagan feast of Christmas, also known as saturnalia approaching! Mixing worship is an abomination to יהוה.
2 – Greed – the love of money made them stumble in sin.
3 – Bloodshed – the land was filled with crimes of bloodshed and violence.
4 – Pride – יהוה was going to break down their pride and destroy their set-apart places of adulterous worship!
The severity of this impending judgment would be:
1 – Continuous disaster and calamity – there would be terror after terror with no one to guide – they would seek peace yet not find any.
2 – Without יהוה’s pity
3 – Death by plagues in the city and by sword outside the city.
The words here in Yeḥezqĕl can be very alarming and should be, as the message is very clear regarding יהוה’s view on sin and idolatry – He will not tolerate it and the day is coming when He will repay according to the abominations that are in the midst of His people.
I would like us to look at sin, which as we know is the Hebrew word “ḥa-ta – א ט ח” means to miss the mark. What mark? The Torah! Torah in its root meaning carries the understanding of aiming in the right direction and moving in that direction. How do we aim – we fix our eyes on the author and Prince or Perfector of our faith – יהושע Messiah – the Living Torah! So if we are not looking intently in to the Torah of יהוה and moving in that direction, where are we looking and moving to? Well you would be missing the mark and so be in ‘sin’. This chapter shows us a lot of lessons regarding sin, lessons that ought to help us adjust our focus on to the right mark – His Torah!
Galatiyim/Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be led astray: Elohim is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he shall also reap.
8 Because he who sows to his own flesh shall reap corruption from the flesh, but he who sows to the Spirit shall reap everlasting life from the Spirit.”
May we be found to be a people who sow to the Spirit – and we know that as Sha’ul tells us that the Torah is spiritual – that we may reap everlasting life from the Spirit!
As we look at this chapter we can certainly see the result of sowing to the flesh – the results of sin, so let us briefly take a closer look at sin as we find the inescapable truth that we find woven through this chapter and that is יהוה’s judgment is a result of sin -Sow righteousness and reap mercy, sow sin and reap judgment.
Yisra’ĕl were about to bring in a bumper crop of judgment, at the end of which they would acknowledge that יהוה is Elohim and there is none besides Him. What we can learn from these words is clear – get under grace – that is receiving his free gift and sow righteousness – that is to guard to do all His commands, for we do not want to reap the crop that sin grows! Let us look at 6 aspects of sin here in Yeḥezqĕl 7:
1 – THE JUDGMENT OF SIN (v1-4)
Micah had spoken about a hundred years earlier that יהוה would destroy the entire nation, yet because of His great mercy he had withheld judgment until NOW! יהוה has His appointed times – He has a day appointed for judgment. We know that יהוה is longsuffering with us – He put up with our sin since the Garden and has done everything necessary to save us from the consequences of our sin – giving us His Word in the flesh, yet His appointed time is drawing near. As in the days of Noaḥ – it is יהוה who shut the door and sealed it – so too will it be Him who ‘closes the door’ so to speak before He pours out His judgment and all who are not ‘in the boat’ will suffer the result of judgment of sin!
Sha’ul in Romiyim/Romans 1:18-32 makes it clear that those who continually refuse to accept the grace of Elohim will eventually cross a line of no return – a point at which they have given themselves so wholly over to sin that יהוה gives them over to it and the judgment that it brings.
Pharaoh first hardened his heart and then יהוה hardened his heart! As long as we have breath, may we praise our Elohim!
2 – WAGES OF SIN (v5-9)
It is interesting to note the repetition of the word repay is used four times here in regards to their sin. Listen I know there are a lot of things we would like repayment for but sin is not one of them! In Romiyim/Romans 6:23 Sha’ul reminds us that ‘the wages of sin are death, but the favourable gift of Elohim is everlasting life in Messiah יהושע our Master’.
The point is this, disobedience in whatever form – be it a wrong thought, motive or every ungodly word spoken earns itself a wage – death and judgement. There are some today who are six figure sinners and have earned a whole lot of death. A price we could never pay – but thanks be to יהושע who became our sacrifice and paid the price for our sin and given us access to His unlimited grace which teaches us to say no to sin and yes to His Torah. יהוה’s judgment on Yisra’ĕl here is a sober wake-up call that sin increases our spiritual debt and if not dealt with can bring about a very bitter ‘pay-day’!
The only way to avoid יהוה’s repayment of our sin debt is to have our debt cancelled by the Blood of יהושע, aměn!
The choice is clear – either choose to walk in His favour and sow righteousness through obedient living according to His Torah or sow sin and reap its wages!!!
3 – HARVEST OF SIN (v10-13)
Here in verse 10 יהוה uses an interesting picture of a budding rod of pride. The budding rod is certainly a picture Yisra’ĕl would understand and know! Remember Aharon’s rod – when there had been a rebellion among the people who thought that they should have a share of the ministry of the priesthood. יהוה judged Qoraḥ and his followers and set up a unique demonstration to show which people יהוה had chosen to serve as priests. Each tribe placed a rod in the Tabernacle and the miracle of Aharon’s budding rod demonstrated יהוה’s selection. Now in view of that understanding, to which Yisra’ĕl was very familiar, here in verse 10 we see that יהוה has selected Yisra’ĕl, not for service unto Him but for judgment!
We must recognise that the harvest is coming. There are two harvests – the good kind and the bad kind. Yoḥanan (John) 4 speaks of a harvest that is ripe now of those souls, whom יהוה has called, for which we may not have laboured yet we can go out and reap. Ḥazon (Revelation) 14 speaks of the harvest of the wicked who will be put into the winepress of the wrath of Elohim. As we know in farming, harvest time is dictated by the ripeness of the fruit, and one thing is sure the fruit of sin and rebellion against יהוה is very ripe. Our prayer should be that before that harvest comes that יהוה would grant us more of the harvest of salvation of souls for righteousness.
What you sow you shall reap; may we not be found sowing to the flesh and reap corruption but rather sowing righteousness and be secure in our faithful endurance of everlasting life.
4 – WEAKNESS OF SIN (v14-17)
A severe consequence of sin is that it weakens the sinner in their ability to stand against the enemy, and will cause you to fall before your enemies! In verse 14 it says the trumpet call for battle has gone out, but no one goes out to battle – why? Because their sin had weakened them and they had no strength whatsoever to fight. How many of you have found this true in your life that when you are not walking wholeheartedly in His will, in other words you are in sin, that you just cannot muster up the strength to fight the very sin that is weakening your ability to stand in Truth?
You see the reality of Yisra’ĕl’s strength was not in their great numbers or in their military power, or even in their leaders – it was in their ability to walk in obedience to יהוה’ instructions! Walking in right relationship with יהוה strengthens you for the battles of this life, yet sin weakens!!!
In Wayyiqra/Leviticus 26:7-8 we see the promise of victorious results through faithful obedience:
“And you shall pursue your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. 8 ‘And five of you shall pursue a hundred, and a hundred of you pursue ten thousand. And your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.”
Gideon and his 300 men against 150 000 is a testimony to this truth! Yet here Yeḥezqĕl is predicting that Yisra’ĕl would, as a result of their sin, find themselves weak and so would see a fulfilment of יהוה’s Word in the event of disobedience:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 26:17 “And I shall set My face against you, and you shall be smitten before your enemies. And those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you.”
What is the Word showing us here? The answer is simple – sin weakens you for battle and you will not be able to stand, however walking in His Torah will cause you to stand, stand and continue to stand dressed in the full armour of His Word, able to endure the battles that rage against you in the spirit! We see in verse 17 that he says that all hands go limp and all knees become as water! In Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:12-13 we are told to strengthen the hands that hang down and the weak knees and make straight paths for your feet – that is to walk in the Torah and do the good works of Torah that He has prepared in advance for us to do – do not be found weakened by lawlessness or sin!
5 – SHAME OF SIN (v18-23)
Sin brings shame, for we know as Dawiḏ says that our sin is forever before Him. Yisra’ĕl would recognise their weakness and shame would be on every face and they would shave their heads. They would put on sackcloth, which was a course cloth woven form long goat or camel hair and its dark colour rendered it appropriate for serious somber occasions, and to put on sackcloth was a sign of grief and mourning and repentance.
Yaʽaqoḇ/James 4:8-10 “Draw near to Elohim and He shall draw near to you. Cleanse hands, sinners. And cleanse the hearts, you double-minded! 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Master, and He shall lift you up.”
When the shame of sin hits home the result must be one of repentance and not merely being sorry because you got caught, but rather a true turning away from sin. Too many people today are ‘laughing’ at their sin or rather their ‘lawlessness’ and take lightly the wickedness of their ways! There are so many who profess to ‘know’ יהושע yet they are not keeping His Torah – they have brought His Name to naught and replaced it with pagan deity titles and incorrectly translated names that speak not of our Saviour but rather of false pagan deities. The Sabbath is not being kept by the ‘masses’ who claim they ‘know’ Him – in other words I see a picture here of the ‘church’ as we know it today are by their ‘lawless’ actions ‘laughing’ at their sin and have not seen the shame of their sin.
Here, in Yeḥezqĕl 7, we see what the result would be from their shame and disgrace of their disobedience and lawlessness. They would ‘throw out’ their silver in the streets and their gold become ‘as filth’! The idea here is that they would recognise that they had allowed materialism or rather the worries of this life (you know the ‘I got to have’ pressure) and the deceitfulness of wealth to become sin in their lives, and so would throw it out realising that those things cannot save them on the day of יהוה’s wrath. They would realise that the very wealth that they had pursued could not provide them security from their enemies, nor bring satisfaction in life nor buy food in the famine. And so throwing it in the streets they were recognising its lack of true value.
This is a picture for us to ‘throw out’ the old life – throw out that which does not truly satisfy, but only steals away your obedience to יהוה! What things do you value so much that actually has become a stumbling block or sin in your life? By that I mean what has such value to you that it steals away your time and obedience unto יהוה? Have you found that because of those things your ability to endure battles is almost non-existent? You see until you see the shame of it – you will not throw it out, and it may continue to weaken you, emotionally, spiritually and physically!
6 – DESOLATION/ DESTRUCTION OF SIN (v24-27)
Sin not dealt with will only lead to desolation and destruction! יהוה said that their enemies would possess their houses and their pride would cease and their set-apart places be profaned. They would seek peace yet find none! They would seek a Word from יהוה and find none! And a result of this entire calamity would be that they would know who יהוה is!
Now I do not know about you but I want to know who יהוה is through obedient living, not through calamity and destruction because of disobedient living! Sin leads to destruction and we are to have no part in it.
When Yeḥezqĕl speaks saying 5 times the end has come, may we realise that there is an end that should come now, and that is:
1 – An end to our sin
2 – An end to indecision – how long will you waver between two opinions?
3 – An end to the gloom of doubt and half-hearted service! The night is far spent and the day is at hand, so wake up o sleeper!
Hear these words from Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John:
1:7-10 “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, (we can ‘fellowship with one another as we walk in the Light – as we walk in Torah we can be in unity and able to truly fellowship – it is His Torah that unites us in fellowship as a body in Him!) And the blood of יהושע Messiah His Son cleanses us from all sin (a progression if walking in the Torah and in fellowship is the ability for His Torah to teach and guide us and cleanse us from lawlessness). If we say that we have no sin, we are misleading ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is trustworthy and righteous to forgive us the sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”
2:1-2 “My little children, I write this to you, so that you do not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Intercessor with the Father, יהושע Messiah, a righteous One. And He Himself is an atoning offering for our sins, and not for ours only but also for all the world.”
2:12 “I write to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His Name.”
3:4-6 “Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Everyone staying in Him does not sin. Everyone sinning has neither seen Him nor known Him.”(יהושע is the Living Torah – if we are in Him then we are not in lawlessness or sin! If we are walking in sin (that is apart from His Torah), we are then not ‘staying’ in Him – I spoke a message last week on ‘staying in Him’)
3:8-9 “The one doing sin is of the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of Elohim was manifested: to destroy the works of the devil. Everyone having been born of Elohim does not sin, because His seed stays in him, and he is powerless to sin, because he has been born of Elohim.”
4:10 “In this is love, not that we loved Elohim, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be an atoning offering for our sins.”
5:18 “We know that everyone having been born of Elohim does not sin,1 but the one having been born of Elohim guards himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.”
We know that the righteous Torah of Elohim is eternal and will never end, and His Love is eternal and there is no end to His grace – for His loving-kindness endures forever! We also know that there is a day of judgement of יהוה. May we receive His favour (grace) with great joy, not as a licence to sin or walk torahless, but to walk in obedience!
We know that this word speaks clear today – a call to righteous living. The role of the prophet was to lead people back to Torah, and if they would not listen then they were told what their end would be. May we take this message of Yeḥezqĕl to heart and make sure that we are done with sin!
We all reap a harvest – what kind of crop do you want to bring in? Will you sow righteousness and fully walk in His ways, throwing out that which is not pleasing to Him, or will you sow to your own flesh reaping the corruption of the flesh. This chapter 7 in Yeḥezqĕl is a lesson in sin, a lesson we all need to heed and take careful note of and may we truly walk in the fullness of His righteousness and so guard ourselves that the wicked one will not touch us. Realise that on account of His Wonderful Name, our sins have been forgiven and let us therefore be strengthened to stand, enduring faithfully through every battle that lies ahead. Let the ‘end’ that we hear here be the end of unrighteousness, that we may bear much fruit – fruit that will last.
יהוה bless you and guard you, יהוה make His face shine on you and give you favour, יהוה lift up His face to you and give you peace!