PUT THE POT ON THE FIRE...2600 years ago, on the 10th day of God's appointed 10th month, December 18th on our 2018 Gregorian calendar, The Almighty spoke these eternal words: “The people there refuse to obey me. I have a story with a message for them. Tell them, "This is what the Lord God says: 'Put the pot on the fire.' "
It appears that the self-righteous, so-called "religious" people of the day had chosen to believe that God’s continuing hand of benevolence surely meant He would always bless them as a nation, no matter what. Three years earlier, folks had been convinced of it by the "princes of the people", governing leaders with golden rhetoric who were actually "plotting evil and giving wicked advice in this city. They say, 'Haven’t our houses been recently rebuilt? This city is a pot, and we are the meat in it.' " Ezekiel 11:2-3.
The Almighty’s reply of judgment upon these leaders not only attacked their skewed logic, but laid it bare. “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: The bodies you have thrown there are the meat and this city is the pot, but I will drive you out of it. You fear the sword, and the sword is what I will bring against you, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will drive you out of the city and deliver you into the hands of foreigners and inflict punishment on you. You will fall by the sword, and I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord. This city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be the meat in it; I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. And you will know that I am the Lord, for you have not followed my decrees or kept my laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you.” Ezekiel 11:7-12
Ezekiel 8 records God speaking to Ezekiel, pointing out their serious idolatry was provoking the Almighty's jealousy.
In fact, God specifically pointed out that the idol that provoked His jealousy was STANDING AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE GATE OF THE SACRIFICIAL ALTAR. The leaders of the people who called on God Almighty were essentially identifying HIS house of worship with an entity of their own choosing. As they proudly displayed it for the whole world to see, they were, in effect, linking it to the altar sacrifice of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ Himself.
God's Word continued by exposing leaders in His temple, who were effectively turning their backs on Him by worshipping in ways which served their own desires and needs, and leading the people to do the same. Read about it in the August 17th, 2018 lesson post: https://www.facebook.com/394745103939018/posts/1836368226443358/
Yes, the people heard the Word of the Lord over and over again. And so did their leadership. But they didn’t repent. Today’s lesson begins with an announcement from the Almighty of the consequences. “In the ninth year, in the tenth month on the tenth day, the word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, record this date, this very date, because the king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day.’” Ezekiel 24:1-2.
What they thought would never happen had now become their worst nightmare. In judgment, God withheld His hand of protection from their nation, and their enemies were at the gate of their capital city. Not only that, but as the Word of the Lord continued, He showed them that His judgment would include giving them exactly what they wanted more than anything else: to be in His “pot”, feeling safe and secure.
“The people there refuse to obey me. I have a story with a message for them. Tell them, "This is what the Lord God says: 'Put the pot on the fire. Put on the pot and pour in the water. Put in the pieces of meat. Put in every good piece, the thighs and the shoulders. Fill the pot with the best bones…” Ezekiel 24:2-4
Yes, God is filling His pot with the people of the nation who wanted to be there: the haughty, self-righteous folks and their leaders who thought they were the best of all the nations and had pronounced themselves safe in the security of His protective pot, Jerusalem.
Nothing could be further from the truth. God will set the Jerusalem pot upon the fire of His judgment, along with all the people who boasted of being in its safety.
God makes the parable clearer in Ezekiel 24:6-7 and 9-14. “’It will be bad for Jerusalem. It will be bad for that city of murderers. Jerusalem is like a pot with rust on it, and those spots of rust cannot be removed! That pot is not clean, and the rust cannot be removed, so the meat must be thrown out and not divided among the priests. Jerusalem is like a pot with rust on it…’
"So this is what the Lord God says: ‘It will be bad for that city of murderers! I will pile up plenty of wood for the fire. Put plenty of wood under the pot. Light the fire. Cook the meat until it is well done. Mix in the spices, and let the bones be burned up. Then let the pot stand empty on the coals. Let it become so hot that its stains begin to glow. Those stains will be melted away. The rust will be destroyed. Jerusalem might work hard to scrub away her stains. But that ‘rust’ will not go away! Only the fire of punishment will remove it."
“‘You sinned against me and became stained with sin. I wanted to wash you and make you clean, but the stains would not come out. I will not try washing you again until my hot anger is finished with you! I am the Lord. I said your punishment would come, and I will make it happen. I will not hold back the punishment or feel sorry for you. I will punish you for the evil things you did.' This is what the Lord God said.”
God continues to convict ALL mankind of sin against Him through heart-wrenching instructions to the prophet, Ezekiel: “Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Son of man, you love your wife very much, but I am going to take her away from you. Your wife will die suddenly, but you must not show your sadness. You must not cry loudly. You will cry and your tears will fall, but you must mourn quietly. Dress as you normally do; wear your turban and sandals; don’t cover your mustache, and don’t eat the food people normally eat when someone dies.”
"The next morning I told the people what God had said. That evening, my wife died. The next morning I did what God commanded. Then the people said to me, “Why are you doing this? What does it mean? Then I said to them, “The word of the Lord came to me. He told me to speak to the family of Israel. The Lord God said, ‘Look, I will destroy my holy place. You are proud of that place and sing songs of praise about it. You love to see it. You really love that place. But I will destroy it, and your children that you left behind will be killed in battle. But you will do the same things that I have done about my dead wife. You will not cover your mustache or eat the food people normally eat when someone dies. You will wear your turbans and your sandals. You will not show your sadness publicly or cry publicly, but you will waste away with guilt and talk to each other quietly about your grief. So Ezekiel is an example for you. You will do all the same things he did. That time of punishment will come, and then you will know that I am the Lord God.’”
"The Lord said, 'Son of man, I will take away the place that makes the people feel safe—Jerusalem, that beautiful city that makes them so happy. They really love that place. They love to look at it. But I will take it away from them, and I will also take their children. On that day one of the survivors will come to you with the bad news about Jerusalem. That same day you will be able to talk to the messenger. You will not be silent anymore. This will be a sign to the people, and they will know that I am the Lord.' ” Ezekiel 24:15-27,
The prophecies and visions of Ezekiel are so powerful some are even recognized by other religions. The version of the story of Ezekiel's vision of the resurrection of dry bones in chapter 37 is included in the Muslim collection “Stories of the Prophets”. It's even more incredible that they occurred while Ezekiel was in Babylonian exile along the Chebar River in what is now modern day Iraq. His purported tomb is also located in south Iraq near Kefil and has been a place of pilgrimage for both Jews and Muslims for centuries.
We Christians in the USA would do well to humbly receive this very serious warning from the Almighty through the prophet Ezekiel. We should keep in mind that the Almighty's final judgment on the remnant of Israel occurred less than 3 short years after His announcement to the nation's leaders that they had provoked His jealousy.
If judgment is on the horizon for our nation, it won't be something we can blame on anyone else. Very clearly, it will be because we Christians who claim to call on the name of the Lord have foolishly and arrogantly turned our backs on the God of the Universe, essentially identifying HIS House of Worship with gods of national politics, pride and self-preservation.
“The people there refuse to obey me. I have a story with a message for them. Tell them, 'This is what the Lord God says:
"Put the pot on the fire.’”