I’m biting off a little more than my usual 3 chapters today, because the context really didn’t end until the end of Ezekiel 28. Even so, the judgments on the nations around Israel continues on through to chapter 32. But I think you’ll find these four chapters worthy reading and interesting in a number of ways…
No more briers
The LORD specifically lists the destruction of these nations as a sort of weeding out the thorns and briers in the sides of His people Israel. Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, and Tyre had all been long-standing, sworn enemies of Israel. Now God was going to eliminate them. Although it is doubtful that enemies of God’s people, the church, will sit up and take notice of God’s judgments, God’s people themselves should notice something: God will take care of those who wish us harm and evil. When people do persecute, scorn, and treat us with contempt, it is hard not to want to fight fire with fire — get our revenge. But God has, of course, forbidden that we do this; instead, He insists that we wait for his vengeance. In Revelation we are assured that the LORD will let nothing and no one who is sinful into Heaven — all of His and our enemies will have been “weeded”, no more thorns and briers. Just like this passage talks about for Israel.
Ezekiel 28 is often cited as a possible telling of the origin of Satan. The passage is, of course, talking about the king of Tyre specifically; but those who see Satan’s origins here see the context as a sort of metaphor or parable to explain Satan. The fact that he is called a “cherub who covers” (referring to the angels overshadowing the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant) is cited in proof.
There might be some merit to this proposal, although just a little reasoning would probably bring the Bible student to the same conclusion about Satan’s origin. God wouldn’t create a purely evil being (James 1:16,17), but we know that He did create both angels and men with free will to choose good or evil. Some angels fell (Genesis 2:6; Jude 1:6), referring clearly to a evil choice they made, just like men often fall. Satan appears to be one of them.
Beware of rejoicing over God’s people
Ammon, Moab, and Edom were singled out specifically as peoples who would be overtaken and completely “possessed” by others, because they rejoiced over the hard times and destruction of Israel, God’s people. It was especially offensive because all three were blood relatives of Israel — Ammon and Moab were “cousins” of Israel (sons of Lot, nephew of Abraham) and Edom was a “brother” (descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau). The lesson here to us is to be careful not to rejoice over the demise of enemies. It may be very tempting to dance on the grave of an enemy, but God considers it “poor form” — wrong. We can be grateful for relief, but rejoicing is excluded as Christian behavior. God Himself doesn’t rejoice over punishment of His creation; we shouldn’t either.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.