Ezekiel 7:1

The bulk of men persist in thinking of God as if he were such a One as themselves. Rejecting the revelation of God's nature contained in Scripture, they conceive of him as a man greatly magnified the infirmities of man magnified, as well as his virtues. They know the proneness of man to threaten and not to perform; hence they conclude that the judgments of God, because delayed, will evaporate in empty words. God will not be hastened. Proportionate to his immeasurable power is his immeasurable patience. Nevertheless, equitable justice will be meted out. The wrath accumulates as in a thundercloud, until it is overburdened, and the storm all the more violently breaks forth. Never yet in the history of men has God failed to vindicate his righteousness. Never yet has the transgressor escaped, and never will he. As surely as the sun shines, vengeance wilt come.

I. RETRIBUTION, THOUGH APPARENTLY TARDY, HAS ITS OWN SET TIME. For the most part it is not according to human expectation. "God seeth not as man seeth." A thousand things enter into God's calculation which do not enter into man's reckoning. The clock of heaven does not measure days and years; it measures events and necessities. The well being of other races has to be pondered beside the race of men. Very often the doom of the ungodly is a fixed and irreversible fact long before that doom is felt and endured. From that moment gracious help is withdrawn, and the doomed man becomes the victim of his folly. To God's eye, the end is seen long before it is seen by man. While he is yet promising himself much delight, lo! by an invisible thread the sword is suspended over his head.

II. RETRIBUTION IS NOT A HAPHAZARD ACCIDENT. It is the outcome of infallible wisdom and righteous deliberation. The Supreme Ruler of heaven says, "I send." As nothing is too great for his management, so nothing is too minute to engage his notice. He who nourishes myriads of myriads of blades of grass, and clothes the hills with majestic forests, counts every hair of our heads. Too often men are so stunned with the blow of retribution that they count themselves only the victims of a great catastrophe, and look on every side for sympathy. But when conscience awakes, and connects the calamity with previous sin, then at length - too late to avert the crushing evil - they confess that it is "the Lord that smiteth." "God is not mocked." The seed we sow today will bear its proper fruit tomorrow.

III. RETRIBUTION FROM GOD IS MOST EQUITABLE. There are no scales so delicately true as those in the bands of God. The judgment is precisely" according to thy ways." It is exact "recompense for all thine abominations." Often men are so blinded by the deceitfulness of sin that they do not perceive this. But when the transient pleasure of sin has ceased, men awake to the fact that the retribution is well deserved. This will be the keenest sting of the suffering - that it is a just desert. If men could only persuade themselves that they were unjustly treated, it would be an alleviation of the woe - it would be a sweet consolation in their misery. But such alleviation is denied them. Their own consciences will confirm the sentence, an l out of the dark abyss the cry will rise, "Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."

IV. RETRIBUTION, IS CLEARLY FORESEEN BY THE RIGHTEOUS. The unbeliever has no eye with which to see the kingdom of God. The organ of vision he has first blinded, then destroyed. So, too, he is blind to the significance of passing events. He does not perceive the moral aspect of things - does not see that God's hand is behind the smoke and din of war. But the man of God has learnt to see God in everything. In all the sunshine of life he sees God, whose presence gives a brighter lustre to all earthly joy. And in all the adversities of life he learns to see the rod and the hand that wields it. Standing by the side of God, and in full sympathy with him, Ezekiel saw clearly every minute detail of the retribution that was preparing, and, until the latest moment, implored them to escape. But he foresaw also that they would delude themselves to the very last - would buoy themselves with false hopes.

V. RETRIBUTION, WHEN IT COMES, IS MOST COMPLETE. On every side there is bitter disappointment. The earthly props on which men were wont to rely, fail them. All the bonds of society relax and dissolve. To resist invasion the summoning trumpet is blown; but, alas! none respond. Anarchy is everywhere. The day itself becomes night, and every fount of joy is poisoned. Amid previous corrections and afflictions there were many forms of gracious compensation - silver linings on the black cloud. But no relief comes now. There is defeat and disaster on every side. Weeping endures through a long night, without any prospect of joy in the morning. It is darkness without a beam of light, despair without a vestige of hope. Not even shall there be the sweet relief of tears; for the hearts of men have been rendered insensible by the cursed power of sin. They are at length "past feeling" - incapable of repentance. "Neither shall there be any wailing for them." it is abasement the most profound. The first has become the last.

VI. THIS RETRIBUTION IS THE NATURAL FRUITAGE OF SIN. Our wise and gracious God has constructed his universe on this principle, that every form of rebellion shall bear in itself the seed of penalty. The pivot on which everything turns is righteousness. There is no occasion for God to issue any code of penalties commensurate with acts of transgression. Sin and punishment are one and the selfsame thing. Retribution is simply full-grown sin. It is often sweet in the bud, but the ripened fruit is bitterness absolute. As gunpowder is, in its nature, explosive, so that it is madness to set alight to it and expect it not to explode; so sin is, in its very nature, destructive, and can lead to nothing else than destruction. Love cements and unites; transgression dissolves and separates. And separation from God is ruin. Where God is, there is life; where God is not, there is death. Where God is, there is heaven; where God is not, there is blackest hell. - D.

They shall loathe themselves.
We never realise what sin is till its passion is over, and we have time quietly to remember. Oh, the terror of those hours of remembrance and remorse! Sitting in the captivity of its prison, or serving in the heavy bondage of its fetters, the soul has time to review the bitter path by which it has come to such a pass, and the way it has broken the hearts of those who loved and trusted. But the most terrible element in remorse will be the personal one: "Shall remember Me." One of our great writers depicts a heartless, thoughtless husband standing beside the newly covered-in grave of his wife, and saying, "Ah, Milly, Milly; dost thou hear me? I was not tender enough to thee; but it is too late to alter it now." The child who has given way to fits of ungovernable passion, which have broken up the home, and brought down grey hairs with sorrow to the grave, will loathe itself. Similarly, as we review our past life, and see how we must have grieved the tender Spirit of God, we fall at the feet of Jesus and cover them with tears and kisses.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.).

Ground, Moreover, Saying, Thus
1. The final desolation of Israel
16. The mournful repentance from that escape
20. The enemies defile the sanctuary because of the Israelites' abominations
23. Under the type of a chain is shown the miserable captivity of all orders of men

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ezekiel 6:14

     1265   hand of God
     1310   God, as judge
     5508   ruins

Motives to Holy Mourning
Let me exhort Christians to holy mourning. I now persuade to such a mourning as will prepare the soul for blessedness. Oh that our hearts were spiritual limbecs, distilling the water of holy tears! Christ's doves weep. They that escape shall be like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity' (Ezekiel 7:16). There are several divine motives to holy mourning: 1 Tears cannot be put to a better use. If you weep for outward losses, you lose your tears. It is like a shower
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

Healing a Demoniac in a Synagogue.
(at Capernaum.) ^B Mark I. 21-28; ^C Luke . IV. 31-37. ^b 21 And they [Jesus and the four fishermen whom he called] go into { ^c he came down to} Capernaum, a city of Galilee. [Luke has just spoken of Nazareth, and he uses the expression "down to Capernaum" because the latter was on the lake shore while Nazareth was up in the mountains.] And ^b straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue and taught. { ^c was teaching them} ^b 22 And they were astonished at his teaching: for he taught
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Hebrew Sages and their Proverbs
[Sidenote: Role of the sages in Israel's life] In the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel (Jer. xviii. 18; Ezek. vii. 26) three distinct classes of religious teachers were recognized by the people: the prophets, the priests, and the wise men or sages. From their lips and pens have come practically all the writings of the Old Testament. Of these three classes the wise men or sages are far less prominent or well known. They wrote no history of Israel, they preached no public sermons, nor do they appear
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament

"And There is None that Calleth Upon Thy Name, that Stirreth up Himself to Take Hold on Thee,"
Isaiah lxiv. 7.--"And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold on thee," &c. They go on in the confession of their sins. Many a man hath soon done with that a general notion of sin is the highest advancement in repentance that many attain to. You may see here sin and judgment mixed in thorough other(315) in their complaint. They do not so fix their eyes upon their desolate estate of captivity, as to forget their provocations. Many a man would spend more affection,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Blessed are they that Mourn
Blessed are they that mourn. Matthew 5:4 Here are eight steps leading to true blessedness. They may be compared to Jacob's Ladder, the top whereof reached to heaven. We have already gone over one step, and now let us proceed to the second: Blessed are they that mourn'. We must go through the valley of tears to paradise. Mourning were a sad and unpleasant subject to treat on, were it not that it has blessedness going before, and comfort coming after. Mourning is put here for repentance. It implies
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

"Thou Shall Keep Him in Perfect Peace, Whose Mind is Stayed on Thee, Because He Trusteth in Thee. "
Isaiah xxvi. 3.--"Thou shall keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee." All men love to have privileges above others. Every one is upon the design and search after some well-being, since Adam lost that which was true happiness. We all agree upon the general notion of it, but presently men divide in the following of particulars. Here all men are united in seeking after some good; something to satisfy their souls, and satiate their desires. Nay, but they
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

There is a Blessedness in Reversion
Blessed are the poor in spirit. Matthew 5:3 Having done with the occasion, I come now to the sermon itself. Blessed are the poor in spirit'. Christ does not begin his Sermon on the Mount as the Law was delivered on the mount, with commands and threatenings, the trumpet sounding, the fire flaming, the earth quaking, and the hearts of the Israelites too for fear; but our Saviour (whose lips dropped as the honeycomb') begins with promises and blessings. So sweet and ravishing was the doctrine of this
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

To a modern taste, Ezekiel does not appeal anything like so powerfully as Isaiah or Jeremiah. He has neither the majesty of the one nor the tenderness and passion of the other. There is much in him that is fantastic, and much that is ritualistic. His imaginations border sometimes on the grotesque and sometimes on the mechanical. Yet he is a historical figure of the first importance; it was very largely from him that Judaism received the ecclesiastical impulse by which for centuries it was powerfully
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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