Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Assorted Treats

  • Difficult People to Love +

    Loving others is not easy, Read More
  • River of Love +

    There's a river of love that runs through all timeBut there's a river of grief that floods through our livesIt Read More
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Don  Carson1 Samuel 26;

1 Corinthians 7; Ezekiel 5; Psalms 42 & 43

IN EZEKIEL 5, EZEKIEL EXTENDS BY one more his list of parabolic actions and then reports God's words as to their significance.

Ezekiel sharpens a sword and uses it as a straight razor. He shaves his head, beard and all. After tucking a few strands into his garments, he divides the rest into three piles. The first he puts into the city (i.e., onto the clay tablet that is the model of the city of Jerusalem, Ezek. 4:1), and sets the hairs alight, perhaps with a live coal. Another third he scatters on the ground all around the city, and then whacks them and whacks them with his sword until only tiny pieces are left. The final third he throws up into the wind, a few hairs at a time, until they have all blown away. A few strands tucked into his garments he now takes out and throws onto the smoldering coal and ashes within the model city, and they too burst into flame and are consumed.

The significance of all this is spelled out in Ezekiel 5:12: a third of the people will die within the city (from the famine of the siege), a third will die by the sword in the final breakout, and the remaining third will be scattered into exile.

The entire chapter emphasizes that it is God himself who is going to bring down this judgment on his people: highlight every instance of "I" in Ezekiel 5:8-17. This is what takes place when the Lord shoots to kill (Ezek. 5:16). "Because of all your detestable idols, I will do to you what I have never done before and will never do again" (Ezek. 5:9); the formula means that this judgment is as bad as temporal judgments get. Jesus himself uses virtually the same words with respect to the impending judgment on Jerusalem in his century (Matt. 24:21).

God says his wrath must be poured out. Yet this wrath is not ungovernable temper. God insists that when judgment has been meted out, his wrath will subside and his anger will cease (Ezek. 5:13). This outbreak of wrath forms part of a list of punctuated outbreaks of wrath from the Fall on: the curse in Genesis 3, the Flood, Babel, slavery in Egypt, various judgments in the desert (including the wilderness wanderings for forty years), and so on. In cycles of judgment corresponding to cycles of particularly egregious sin, God pours out his wrath. All of this forms part of the necessary biblical theology behind Romans 3:20-26: there is no solution to the threat of God's righteous wrath upon his creatures who have rebelled against him—until in the person of his Son God himself bears the wrath we deserve, preserving his justice while justifying us.

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

  • River of Love

    There's a river of love that runs through all timeBut there's a river of grief that floods through our livesIt Read More
  • I Am Nothing

    I stutter when I tryTo speak the language of lifeI want to shout out loudBut I just cry insideSometimes it Read More
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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • Transforming this World: The Hope of Glory by NT Wright +

    Wright confronts the perspective that this world doesn’t matter, and that we live only to be in heaven. He shows Read More
  • What is Good in a World that Defies Hope: a talk by NT Wright +

    This is the second part of three talks by NT Wright at Harvard University in November, 2008 on the topic Read More
  • The Stream, the Lake and the River: NT Wright +

      Acts 2.1-21; John 7.37-39; a sermon at the Eucharist on the Feast of Pentecost, 11 May 2008, by the Read More
  • Jesus in the Perfect Storm by NT Wright +

    Zechariah 9.9-17; Luke 19.28-48; A sermon for Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011, In the University Chapel of St Salvator, St Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Christ is a Great Savior: a review of the movie Amazing Grace +

    Amazing Grace is a historical drama about William Wilberforce who was elected to British Parliament at the age of 21 Read More
  • Wilberforce, Hollywood's Amazing Grace, Charlotte Allen +

    William Wilberforce's relentless campaign eventually led the British Parliament to ban the slave trade, in 1807, and to pass a Read More
  • Making Beauty out of Ugly Things: Grace by U2 +

    Grace, she takes the blame She covers the shame Removes the stain It could be her name Grace, she carries Read More
  • The True Nature of Grace and Love: a movie review of the Soloist +

    The 2009 movie The Soloist is based on a book by the same name, written by Los Angeles Times columnist Read More
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