Ezekiel 29, Know What God Is Against
1. God Is Against Broken Commitments (v1-7)
2. God Is Against Self Reliance (v8-12)
3. God Is Against Excessive Punishment (v13-16)
4. God Is Against Unfair Wages (v17-21)
Ezekiel 29, Know What God Is Against
Ezekiel 29, Know What God Is Against
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Well, as we look at Ezekiel Chapter 29 this evening, I've titled the Message No What God is against no what God is against a lot of times as we look through the scriptures, we're looking at the blessings that God announces the promises that God gives and all of the many ways that God is for us and on our side. No matter how messed up we've become, or no matter how far we fall in that we can run to the Lord, experience his grace and mercy and know that he is for us and working for our. Or good but one of the realities of God being the Lord is that it's important for us to also understand not just what he is for and all the different ways that he is for us. And working good in our lives, we also need to come into submission to God in what he declares and what he says. Is right and what is wrong? And so sometimes we need to be reminded about what God is against. And there are some things here in Ezekiel chapter 29. Line that are appropriate for us to consider in that regard. Now he starts out in this prophecy speaking against the nation of Egypt. Saying that he is against some things in verse 2. He says son of man set your face against. Pharaoh King of Egypt. And prophesied against him, and against all Egypt. Speak and say in verse 3 thus says the Lord God, behold, I am against you. And so God is clearly coming out against some things here. Now the prophet Ezekiel, for the earlier part of the book chapters one through 24 he was focused on the people of Israel in Babylon and the people of Israel in Jerusalem. But starting in chapter 25. Through chapter 32 he's addressing various nations and collecting a group of different prophecies together by nation. So he dealt with tire in Chapter 26 through 28. Now he's switching. Here's to deal with the Nation of Egypt for a few chapters to talk about the word of the Lord, to the Nation of Egypt. And here, as he begins that, it starts out very clearly, God positioning himself, saying I am against Egypt. I am in opposition to Egypt. I am not for Egypt. I am against Egypt. It's a very clear declaration and God is making his position very clear and the purpose of this. He says four times throughout this chapter, that famous thing that Ezekiel is known for and then they will know that I am the Lord, and so the purpose here of God being against is not just, you know, because he's upset or angry, but the purpose is so that Egypt he's positioning himself. Against Egypt so that Egypt will know. So that he is the Lord, and so as usual, gods punishments, gods judgments are always opportunities for repentance, and God is always seeking to reconcile. And so when we think about knowing what God is against understand, it's not just. Knowing what God is against because he is going to bring judgment upon these things, but it's so that we can then know that he is the Lord and understand that when he. Demonstrates and expresses his position against these things, whether in Word or in actual judgment upon them, that the purpose is, and God's intention through that is to reveal himself, and to give people an opportunity to respond to him, and to know. And so for us, who do know the Lord as we look at these things, we are reminded here of some important truths about what God is against, as he addresses Egypt. There's some things we can kind of grasp, hold on and understand he he wants to deal with and address these things in our lives as well. So that we can know that he is the Lord and that our lives will be lived out as an expression of his Lordship and submission to him, so that we would not continue in these kinds of things, but that we would turn from them and walk with him in the. Way that he's called us to. And so we're going to walk through four points this evening looking at Ezekiel Chapter 29, considering what God is against verses one through 7, gives us .1 and that is God is against broken commitments. God is against here's something that we need to. Know God's. Business position very clearly the making of a commitment. Or you might say a covenant or a promise or a vow. All of these things amount to the same thing. God is against broken commitments, broken promises. Broken vows, broken covenants and broken contracts God is against. These things, and he sees we see that expressed here in these initial verses. Verse one and two. It says in the 10th year and the 10th month, on the 12th day of. The month, the word. Of the Lord came to me saying, son of man, set your face against Pharaoh King of Egypt, and prophesied against him, and against all Egypt. Now here esequiel sets the time, and Ezekiel is very good about recording the timing of his prophecies, and so because of this, we know that this prophecy is happening being delivered around 588 or 587 BC, and that's significant because at this time the City of Jerusalem has not yet been destroyed. For that final. One, even though it's kind of leader in the book of Ezekiel, and we've talked about the judgment of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar, laying siege to Jerusalem, that that has not been completed yet. And so at this time the Exiles, the Jewish people in Babylon, were still hoping. That Jerusalem would survive this attack of King Nebuchadnezzar. Upon Jerusalem and the people in exile, we're still hoping that Egypt would come to the aid of Jerusalem and beat back the King of Babylon and defend them in this attack that is going on. And, of course, the Jews in Jerusalem were still. Hoping that Egypt would come to their aid and defend them. They were still hoping that all of the prophecies of Jeremiah would not come true and that they would have victory over Babylon. But of course, we know that that was not the case, and so we're looking at the timeline here briefly, just to understand 5. 88587 BC it's in those final months leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem as Babylon Lesiege to it, and God says Babylon is going to be successful. He's going to conquer Jerusalem. Take all the people away, captive, burn down the temple, breakdown the city and leave the land desolate for 70 years. The people are going to be in captivity for 70. Years and so we've seen that over and over again in Jeremiah and Ezekiel in regards to the city of Jerusalem. But now, as God addresses the nation of Egypt, the prophecies about Egypt are going to come true as well. That's going to take place a little bit later on 568 BC is when Babylon goes against Egypt. And his victory there. But at the time of this, this was 20 years before that. This was in the time where. They're still thinking they're still hoping that all of God's promises and what he has said about the destruction of Jerusalem. They're hoping those will not come true. They're hoping that Egypt will save them. They're relying upon Egypt and so here is Ezekiel ministering to these exiles who are hooping in Egypt and announcing to them Egypt. Is in a position where God is against them and they are going to experience the judgment of God, not before Jerusalem. It'll be later, but This is why it's foolish to trust in Egypt because God is against Egypt now. Throughout the scriptures we often can look at the nation of Egypt. And recognize some typology here. There's there's a little bit of symbolism that is often brought into the mix when we talk about Egypt, because Egypt really parallels for us the. The world system or the flesh that we still battle with and deal with in our own selves. And so as we work through these things, I'm not going to spend a lot of time making that comparison. But there is a lot of comparison there for us to consider that there are many times where we still trust in the flesh, and we still trust. In the world we still trust in the world system around. That said, we need to understand from the get go that God is against that because what the world is all about is broken commitments and what our flesh is all about is broken commitments. Our flesh will make promises that it can never keep and will always you know, present to us things in a way that seem appealing but can never actually be fulfilled. That is. The typical practice of our sinful nature, as well as the world around us, which is caught up in and controlled by sinful natures. And so this idea of broken commitments is important for us to recognize that God is against Egypt. He's against those who. Go back on their word or make promises that they cannot keep moving on to verse three. It says speak and say thus says the Lord God. Behold, I am against you. Oh Pharaoh King of Egypt. Oh great monster who lies in the midst of his rivers, who has said my river is my own. I have made it for myself. But I will put hooks. In your jaws and cause the fish of your rivers to stick to your scales. I will bring. You up out of the midst of your rivers and all the fish in your rivers will stick to your scales. I will leave you in the wilderness, you and all the fish of your rivers. You shall fall on the open field. You shall not be picked up. Or gathered I have given you as food to the beasts of the field and to the birds of the heavens. Here God makes an illustration for us. He refers to Egypt as a great monster in the midst of his rivers. Now the monster that God is referring to here most look at this and understand it to be the kind of. Very well known creature that lives in the sea in that area and that is the crocodile. The crocodile, of course, is appropriate to consider them a monster average length of a crocodile in that region is about 9 feet long, but there's been records of crocodiles over 20 feet long and they're all over in that region and even the. The typical crocodile is named after the Nile River in Egypt. It's called. The Nile crocodile and the way that they would fish for these is, as God describes here. They would put hooks in them and bring it up on land. You go try to fight a crocodile in its own turf in the water, in the river, and you're going to have a hard time of it. You're going to be destroyed, but, but. They would pull. The crocodile out of the water onto the land and then they would be able to. Have a chance in having victory over it and so this is the way that God is describing it. Putting hooks in the jaws, causing you to be brought up out of the midst of the river. And then he describes the scene here of just being laid out in the field. Old and being picked apart, the animal being picked apart by the birds of the air and the beasts of the field. Speaking of, you know the the picture of destruction from battle, the slain in battle will be just laid out in the fields and food for the wild animals. Verse 6. Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the Lord. Because they have been a staff of read. To the House of Israel. Verse six is interesting because again, here God gives this. Declaration then they will know that I. Am the Lord. Then they'll finally recognize that I am the Lord, and it's always important to recognize him to understand that there is the opportunity to know that he is the Lord before the judgment hits. That's the easy way, but we can always learn the hard way. But one way or another, every knee will bow and will know that he is. The Lord, and so Egypt is only going to recognize his authority. Recognize him as. Lord, after this battle takes place and the destruction takes place and all of God's promises and prophecies are fulfilled. But also, verse six is interesting because he uses the word because because there have been a staff of read to the House of Israel. And so God explains here. One of the reasons this isn't the only reason that God is bringing this judgment upon Egypt, but but it is one that God calls. Out here in highlights. Obviously you can see the pride of Egypt and we'll talk about that a little bit more in the coming verses. But that's referred to clearly in these opening versus but, but here he highlights this issue because they have been a staff of read to the House of Israel. Here's one of the reasons God says. In fact, it's one of the reasons that's so noteworthy. I want to mention it here and to say clearly. Because of this particular thing. This judgment is coming upon the nation of Egypt. And what is that? They've been a staff of? Read to the House of Israel? Around the river there in Egypt. The Nile River and. Many other places as well, there would grow up these reeds around them, and these reeds would look good like a strong, sturdy staff. But they actually were not good Staffs because they. Could not bear. Here, wait. And so people would not actually use these reads, although they would look good. They would look really strong. Perhaps like bamboo. Like you see a nice read and you go wow that looks like great I can hold on to that. I can rest my. Weight on that and work through this difficult terrain with. With this to support me and help me through it and it would look good, it would look. Like something strong like bamboo or some strong piece of wood to rely upon. But when a read was. Experiencing pressure or weight or, you know, leaned upon in that way. What would happen is the read would begin to breakdown. That would actually Splinter, and so if you were to take a read and try to use it as a staff and walk with it when you begin to put weights. On it, the read would break and the splinters would enter into the hand or cause damage to the body. So verse seven, God says when they took hold of you with the hand, you broke and tour all their shoulder. Here's when they leaned on you. You broke and made all their backs quiver. And so not only is it the splinter and the hand kind of issue, but you know when you're relying upon something you're leaning on it and it breaks well, it it causes more damage to than just the hand. But but the shoulders and the backs are affected. Now this is just a walking illustration that God is giving. This isn't exactly what happened, but Israel trusting in Egypt and leaning on Egypt. God says this read is a perfect illustration of that. Because Israel leaned on you. But you broke your commitment. And it hurt Israel. It hurts Judah. Because you did not bear the weight you promised, you looked good. You looked like a really strong staff for them to trust in. But then when it came down to it, you decided not to fulfill your commitment and so it the history here is that as Babylon was laying siege to Jerusalem. Jerusalem and Judah. They were negotiating with Egypt. They were trying to get Egypt to come and make good on their previous promises and Egypt did make an advance towards Babylon and so Nebuchadnezzar ceased the siege for a moment and went and met. Egypt, but they didn't actually battle and Egypt just retreated and ran away and Babylon came back to lay siege to Jerusalem and then ultimately conquered it. We talked about this a little bit. In the book. Of Jeremiah, and so not getting into. A lot of detail there, but. But so you can see all this being pictured quite clearly here by this read that looks strong. That looks like you can trust in it and rest in it. This commitment that Egypt made to Judah. But then. They broke it. And all of the hope and the trust that Judah had put into Egypt was broken. They were let down. God says this is one of the reasons why I'm bringing this judgment upon you. This is one of the reasons why I am against you because I'm against broken commitments. That's really interesting to consider because. When you look at it from God's messages to Judah, we understand that Judah should never have relied upon Egypt to begin with. God told them very clearly. Isaiah Chapter 31 verse one woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses who trust in Chariots because there are many and in horsemen because they're very strong but who do not look to the holy one of Israel nor seek the Lord. And so it's very clear God told his people never trust in Egypt, and if you do it will be woe. There will be sorrow. It's going to hurt you when you trust in Egypt, and so Judah should have never relied upon Egypt. But they did. And Egypt said that they would help. But then they broke their commitment. And so even though God had told them not to rely upon Egypt. Because Egypt made the commitment and then broke it. God still is holding them accountable for that, even though his will and his plan was for his people not to trust in Egypt at all. Now, this was kind of obvious not just to the Lord, but even to Babylon back in Second Kings Chapter 18, when Babylon was threatening. I'm sorry this was in Babel and this was a Syria. When the Syrian was threatening the nation of Judah and threatening Hezekiah Second Kings Chapter 18 gives us a message from the Rabshakeh are the kind of the ambassador of the Assyrian Empire as they were threatening Judah and Jerusalem. And he warned them about trusting in Egypt and verse 21 of Second Kings 18. The Rab Sheika, the ambassador says, now look, you are trusting in the staff of this broken Reed Egypt, on which if a man leans that will go into his hand and Pierce. It so is. Pharaoh King of Egypt and all who. Trust in him. And so even unbelievers could recognize that trusting in Egypt was a bad idea. Even unbelievers would use the same illustration of this read that would be leaning upon and then leaning upon. It would bring this damage. It was so obvious and so clear that Judah should not have leaned. Upon Egypt. And yet They did. Even though God warned them, even though unbeliever, Assyria warned them they did. They entered into a covenant. They entered into an agreement. And Egypt broke the agreement. And God is against broken commitments. And so. God says even. Though that wasn't his plan, he didn't. Want Israel to trust in Egypt? God is saying to Egypt. You should have kept your commitment. You should have fulfilled your agreement you committed to it. I'm holding you accountable to that. Because you've been a staff of Reed to the House of Israel instead of providing. And fulfilling what you agreed to. You have hurt and harmed. The people of God God is against. Broken commitments. In Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus talks a little bit about taking oaths, making promises. These kinds of commitments and. He warns against it. He warns against the kind of swearing that the religious leaders were doing where they would have all kinds of outs and loopholes. You know for how they could get out of their. Swearing, but he. Simplifies and kind of summarizes the whole thought there in verse 37 in Matthew 5, when he says, let your yes be yes and your no no, for whatever is more than these. Is from the Evil 1. And so this evening, the Lord. Sets this before us to remind us. We need to be men and women. Of our word. That our yes means yes. And our no means no. And that if we are men and women who are breaking commitments that are. Known for our broken commitments that are in the process of, you know, engaged in regularly, consistently breaking commitments we need to understand God is against broken commitments, and even if they weren't good commitments to begin with or even if you know that wasn't God's original plan or God will or God designed like even then. God is serious about these commitments when we agree to things when we promise things when we commit to things that there is a weight that goes with that, that God says, OK, you agreed to it, you committed to it. Now, that doesn't mean literally every commitment we have to fulfill their. There is an opportunity in time to break commitments. If you promised us in, you should break that commitment, right? You probably break that promise and so so you know, not any legalistic way to insane degree but, but to understand that. If we're the kind. Of people who enter into agreements and sometimes keep them and sometimes don't. That's not what God wants for his people. He's against broken commitments. He takes them seriously and he will bring judgment. And deal with and bring consequences for commitments that are broken, especially when those commitments are affecting or those broken commitments are affecting his people and those in need, and so God is against broken commitments. Well, moving on to point #2 as we continue on in verses 8 through 12, God is against self. Reliance Verse 8 says therefore, thus says the Lord God. Surely I will bring a sword upon you and cut off from you man and beast. And the land of Egypt shall become desolate in wyst. Then they will know that I am the Lord, because he said, the river is mine, and I have made it. Here God addresses the pride of Egypt. The pride of Pharaoh Hophra, who was the the Pharaoh the the lead of Egypt at that time the pride of Egypt and their self-reliance. The the Pharaoh says the river is mine. I have made it and of course the Nile River is the noteworthy and primary source of Egypt and and all of Egypt had all of the substance was provided for by the Nile River and. The Pharaoh, the nation of Egypt the land of Egypt was so trusting in that Nile river, and really thinking that they didn't need to trust in God. They didn't need to listen to anything that God said they didn't need to submit to God because they had all the resources that they needed provided. For in the river and it's mine, and I've made it, I've made it. You know, the all of the. Technology to take from the river and to water all of the various things and the tools and ways that we've learned to survive off the river. Like look at what we have done. We have everything that we need. We do not need. The Lord is the attitude and the heart of Egypt and all this. And so God says in verse 8 therefore thus says the Lord God. Surely I will bring a sword upon you and cut off. From you man and beast. Notice the word therefore. He's directly applying this and addressing this issue of Egypt declaring the river is mine and I have made it. And so their trust in themselves. They're exaggerated pride in thinking how great they are because of how they have utilized and capitalized on the Nile River. God says, therefore I will bring a sword upon you and cut off from you man and beast pride, self-reliance. That arrogance. That idea? That we do not need the Lord. God is against. All of that. And so he says in verse nine that the land is going to be lead waste. It's going to be desolate and then they will know that I am the Lord and again notice that the idea here. Here's the purpose. Here's what God is seeking after to reveal himself, and again, we have the easy way and the hard way to know that he is the Lord. We can. Submit to the Lord now. And surrender our self-reliance and our pride and our you know, excitement about who we are or what we can do. And all of our reliance. Upon those things, and we can submit. To the Lord or. We can hold onto how great we think we are and our ways and our methods and ignore what God is saying. And the result will be that God will put himself. He will position himself against us. God opposes the proud, but he have lifts the humble, humble he he resists the proud he is against the proud. He's against those who trust in themselves. Pastor Warren Wisby says his major sin was pride. Taking credit for what the Lord God had done. Whatever greatness belonged to Egypt, it was because of the gracious gifts of God and not because of what Pharaoh and his people had accomplished. And it's important to remember this pride. This taking credit was what they were doing and God says I hate that I'm against that. And even this ungodly nation, the land of Egypt. Had experienced gracious gifts of God in and needed to submit to and recognize that it was God who provided these things. Now this is important to consider. As you think about all of. The nations of the world around. Us today, even our own nation. We need to understand that God. Expects nations to give God credit. For the good things. That have been accomplished. The good things that have been provided. You know it's not hard. I mean, just take a normal business. You know in a booming economy it's easy to have a successful business and it's easy to take the credit into the. I think it's my great idea and it's you know our wonderful technology that has established all of these things and everything is great and it's because you know we're so wonderful and smart and intelligent way more than previous generations before and and under the right circumstances it it can easily look that way and we can become convinced. That that is the truth. And we can be persuaded to rely upon ourselves because of our successes. But if we fail to give credit to God and to recognize and honor God. For those good things that he has done, every good and perfect gift is from God. Every natural resource, every breath that we have. You know, every good thing that happens in our society. In our in our community. In our country. We need to. Every nation needs to recognize the role of God in that and we can't trust in, you know our. Natural resources even and and be proud and reliant upon those. At the expense of relying upon the Lord. But it's so hard not to do that. You know you see those natural resources, those things that you know you. You wake up every day and you have strength and you have breath and you have life and you have you know vision and you have until you don't and then you're like oh man I can't. Believe I've been. Taking it for granted this whole time. I just woke up. I didn't even. Think about it, but. I had everything that I needed to to get out of bed and. And and to face the day. It's so easy to have self-reliance when. We have this track record of. Good things and victory and successes. In our own strength in our resources and our natural resources and the things that are provided to us that we. Forget they're provided to us, verse 10 says, indeed. Therefore, I am against you and against your rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate from migdol to syrene. As far as the border of Ethiopia. And so God says, you're you're so reliant upon yourself, and you think so greatly about what you've done with this river. And so I'm against you and I'm. Against your rivers. And this thing that you've taken so much pride in this thing that you have relied upon instead of relying upon me, it's going to be utterly wasted, and. Desolate, it's going to be destroyed. Trade and any points. Some references here from Migdal to Syene, and so the idea here is you might be familiar with, you know from Dandy. Beersheba is the way that we talk about it. For the nation of Israel, we see that throughout the scriptures that Dan is at the top of Israel, Bathsheba, at the bottom of Israel. So from top to bottom, you know God when he refers to. All of the land of Israel. He often will use that phrase from Dan Taberski, but well, migdalia psiren that's a similar way, but in the land of Egypt. 2 geographical points to see from. Top to bottom. Egypt is going to be waste and desolate. Because God is against self-reliance. Verse 11 neither foot of man shall pass through it nor foot of Beast Pass through it, and it shall be uninhabited. 40 years I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate and among the cities that are laid waste, her cities shall be desolate 40 years. And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them throughout the countries, and so here we have an interesting thing that. Egypt is going to be desolate for 40 years, very similar to how Israel was going to be desolate for 70 years, right that Egypt will be desolate for 40 years now, Egypt was conquered by Babylon, much like Judah was, but later and so it seems like we don't have all of the the pieces in place to say this with 100% certainty. But it seems like around the same time when the Medo Persian Empire conquered Babylon, that not only did they allow the Jews to go back to their hometown, but they also allowed the Egyptians to go back to Egypt. And so after about 40 years, then they're allowed to go back. But in the meantime, for 40 years, God is showing how much he is against self-reliance. You're trusting in yourself. You're trusting in your resources, your technology, your inventions or creations, and not trusting in me and God. Says you're going to know that I'm the Lord and you're going to come face to face with the reality that those things are provided for by me and you are nothing without me. Well, point #3 is we move on to versus 13 through 16. God is against excessive punishment. God is against excessive punishment. Verse 13 and 14 says yet, thus says the Lord God at the end of 40 years, I will gather the Egyptians from the peoples, among whom they were scattered. I will bring back the captives of Egypt and cause them to return to the land of pathrose, to the land of their origin, and they and there they shall be a lowly Kingdom. Here I I. I think this is interesting to consider because you have God calling Nebuchadnezzar his servant, his instrument all throughout Jeremiah. Throughout Ezekiel, making it very clear that Nebuchadnezzar is appointed by God to bring this judgment, and many of the nations around Israel and Judah were conquered. By Nebuchadnezzar for good, they will never come back and become a nation again. The Ammonites are not a Kingdom. The Moabites are not a Kingdom. Many of the nations that. Were in that same time frame and experiencing a very similar fate and being conquered by Babylon, they were never restored, and so there was different levels. Of destruction that was brought by God's instrument Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon. Israel Judah, we know when they were conquered, God promised they would be taken captive, but then they would be brought back into the land and of course we see that fulfilled and we've talked about that extensively. But here Egypt. Gets a similar promise. And I don't. Know I just in my head, I wonder why why didn't God just wipe out Egypt completely like he did some of the other nations? Why? Why did they get? This opportunity to come back. And be restored, why did he? Say he would bring back the captives of Egypt. Well, we also see here that says then they would know that I'm the Lord. And so you know, perhaps there was some real personal things that God was doing in the lives of the Egyptians in that day. Now you know the Egyptians today are not necessarily as a nation. It's not a Christian nation, right in that way, but. But perhaps there was a very real thing that God was doing in the lives of those people. And then they. Knew that he was the Lord, and so it's very possible. I would say it's likely that it was for those people that generation that was brought back and they're understanding their recognition of the Lord. At that time. And so to wipe them out completely would have been excessive. God judgment is always precisely measured. It's always exact. It's it's never more than is necessary. It's always just the right amount. Because his interest is always restoration, reconciliation and opportunity to repent. And so the other nations that never came back. That was the right amount of judgment for them. There was no, you know, coming back and experiencing repentance and reconciliation and restoration for them that they were beyond that place beyond that spot and so. The just the right amount of punishment for them was complete desolation destruction and never becoming a nation again. But for Egypt, God says I'm going to bring you back. I'm going to bring back the captives of Egypt, return them to the land and there. They're going to be a Kingdom again, but he goes on to say a lowly Kingdom. Verse 15. It shall be the lowliest of kingdoms shall never again exalt itself above the nations. For I will diminish them, so that they will not rule over the nations. No longer shall it be the confidence of the House of Israel, but will remind them. Of their iniquity, when they turn to follow them, then they shall know that I am. The Lord. So they're going to come back, but God says from here on out they're going to be a lowly Kingdom. They're not going to be the world power now that that may not sound strange to us because we've never known Egypt to be a world power in our current times, right? But but all the way up. To this time Egypt has. Always been a world power, a significant force. In the the known world at that time it was always a prominent place and ruled over nations. But from there on out. We can look through history and see this prophecy has been fulfilled. It has been the lowliest of kingdoms. It is not a world power. It does not dominate other nations any longer. God is against. Excessive punishment, he could have just wiped out Egypt completely. No problem for him. Would wasn't any harder or easier for him to do one or the other. He he could have done either, but but he executed just the right amount. To give the people of Egypt another opportunity to know that he is the Lord and so just the right amount of punishment for the chance of reconciliation and restoration. Well, finally point #4 in verses 17 through 21, God is against unfair wages. God is against unfair wages. Let's read all these verses. Verse 17 through 21 says. And it came to pass in the 27th year in. The first month. On the first day of the month that the word of the Lord came to me, saying, son of man. Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, caused his army to Labour strenuously against tier. Every head was made bald, and every shoulder rubbed raw. Yet neither he nor his army received wages from tire for the Libre, which they expanded on it therefore thus says the Lord God. Surely I will give the land of Egypt. To Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. He shall take away her wealth, carry off her spoil, and remove her pillage, and that will be the wages for his army. I have given him the land of Egypt for his labor because they worked for me, says the Lord God. In that day I will cause the Horn of the House of Israel to spring forth and I will open your mouth to speak in their midst. Then they shall know that. I am. The Lord. Here in these final verses, we're entering into a second prophecy. Here in this chapter. We started in chapter 29, verse one in the 10th year in the 10th month. But here now we're in the 27th year. In the first month, so 17 years later, verse 17 happens, and so that puts us around 571 BC that Ezekiel receives this prophet. See and again he's collected these chapters that we're reading in his echo right now by topic, and so the next couple chapters are all dealing with the nation of Egypt, and so there are groups together here. And and here's an. Interesting thing that God says about Egypt is that God is going to give Egypt. As a reward, as a payment to King Nebuchadnezzar for his labor. And what we are skipping ahead on in the gap here of what? We were talking about in the first part of the chapter. And then this part of the chapter is after Babylon conquers Judah. Babylon goes to work in conquering the city of Tyre. Entire was north of Israel on the coast of the Mediterranean. It was a very wealthy and prominent city, and it was very. Fortified and so. Nebuchadnezzar does not conquer this city as easily as he conquers Jerusalem. In fact, he lays siege to tyre for 13 years and just try to think about that for a moment. Where were you? 13 years ago, right? Like 13 years. Because of a battle against this city of Tyre, that's how fortified this stronghold was. That's how well positioned they were for this battle. 13 years Nebuchadnezzar and his men laid siege and battled against the city of Tyre well during that time. During that 13 year siege. The city of Tyre moved everything all of their wealth and all of themselves off of the place where they were on the coast of the Mediterranean to an island that was just short of 1/2 mile offshore. And so there was a siege on one side, but Nebuchadnezzar didn't have a Navy, and so they were able to just take ferry boats all day. You know every day, just back and forth back. And forth, back and forth back. And forth moving all of their wealth and their resources across to this place. And so here's a quick look at the city of Tyre today in the circle. Orange there you can see, that's where the original city was. That's what Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to. And then the yellow circle there represents the island that was half mile offshore, and that's where. They moved to. And so although Nebuchadnezzar conquered the city on the shore, the people survived and all of their wealth stayed with them because they were safe on the island from King Nebuchadnezzar. Well, what happens later? A few 100 years later, Alexander the Great comes. And he takes all of the rubble from the city of Tyre, and builds a Causeway to the. Island and is able to conquer Tyre in that way, and that Causeway exists and remains today in this connection of the original city to the island that was just offshore. And so Nebuchadnezzar goes through this great long 13 year battle against tire but doesn't get.
You know, normally at the end of the battle you conquer the city and you get to. Get all the treasures of the city you get to dismantle the temple and you know keep all of the gold and the silver and the treasure. Say it's not just for King Nebuchadnezzar before his men, it would be the spoils of war that would compensate them for the work that they had done. Now you can see her God speaking very clearly, Nebuchadnezzar. As my servant he's doing my work this 13 year battle against Tyre was my call and Nebuchadnezzar life and what I caused him to do and instructed him to do. This was my work that he was doing. Thing, and now there's a problem because he didn't get paid according to that amount of work. Verse 18. Senate man Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon caused his army to labor strenuously against higher. Every head was made bald. You can think about 13 years ago some of you weren't bald, but. Now you are right. Like 13 years. Of battle will make one bald, but the idea here is that there's the the strenuous labor. The rubbing of helmets and things you know that just says 'cause this every shoulder rub draws. You're putting your shoulder to the work and it's rubbed raw by the work that is going on. Yet neither he nor his army received wages from tire, so they they were successful in the work that God had called them to, and they had victory. But they didn't get wages for it. God said this isn't right. That's unfair to have. My servant do this amount of work. And not receive the reward that is proportional to the amount of work. And so God says, here's. What I'm going to do? Verse 19 therefore thus says alert God. I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. He shall take away her wealth, carry off her spoil, remove her pillage. And that will be the wages for his army. God says it's not right. Then Nebuchadnezzar and his army worked so hard and got so little for it. So what I'm going to do is. I'm going to. Give them an easy battle over Egypt. And Egypt also is a very wealthy nation, and so they will be compensated not just for the battle against Egypt, but they'll be compensated for the battle against tier as well as the battle against Egypt in the rewards that they're able to take from the battle there in Egypt. And so God here clearly is expressing. This idea he is against unfair. Wages now we can see that in many other ways throughout the scriptures as well, and the treatment of the poor, the treatment of those who are in need is is something that God addresses often, but it's interesting to see it from this perspective as well as a unbelieving Pagan king doing the work of the Lord in attacking a city. God says even then to that extent I'm against unfair. Wages and things need to be made right, and so I'm going to give them the land of Egypt. Pastor Thomas Constable says the absolutely consistent justice of God shines through in this prediction. He would even pay back an evil. Pagan King for serving. Him unconscious as Nebuchadnezzar was of his role as God's servant. How much more can we? Count on God being fair with his own. And so, as you think about this, and God's clear position on this, we. Applying that to ourselves. Well, first of all, you know I would hope it would encourage us to instruct us to not give unfair wages, and so you know, if you're not paying your gardener well enough. If you're not providing your your employees or those that you support fair wages, then that's something that you need to address because God is against. On fair wages, if you're in a supervisory position, you know at a workplace then that's an important factor to consider. But also turning it around and recognizing we are the Lord's instruments, we are his servants. And that there is an opportunity for us to trust the Lord for the fair wages that are missing whenever the world is entrusted with the payments of those wages. Putting it this way from the apostle Paul in Ephesians chapter six, he says, bond servants be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling and sincerity of heart. Ask to Christ, not with I service as men pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill, doing service as to the Lord and not to men. Verse 8, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. Very similarly, he puts it in Colossians. As well that. You need to understand when you're doing work, and even if it's any Pagan workplace. When you do it as unto the Lord and do it with all your heart, you do it. Even though you may not get paid the amount that you deserve for the amounts of Labor that you're putting in, even though you're not rewarded or compensated for that in a secular workplace. You can do that with all of your hearts representing Christ, and trusting Christ knowing you will receive the same from the Lord. God's against unfair wages. And so when you are diligent in your role and in your calling, even in a a secular workplace, you can trust that. Even if the wages are not fair right now. There will be a reward later on and God will have the land of Egypt for you to conquer that. That will make up for those lost wages that were invested in those earlier years. And maybe it's a long 13 year period of, you know, working hard with very little to show for it, but but you can trust God. Gods against unfair wages and. And Paul is telling us here in Ephesians 6 that that you can trust and you need to do your best. And to be a faithful and diligent servant of the Lord in whatever circumstance you're in, even if the payment is not just. Because you can trust that God will bring justice that he will make things right. God is against unfair wages. Another important passage to consider is first Corinthians 1558. Where Paul tells us to be steadfast and immovable and abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. You know many things that we do for the Lord. We don't see the reward immediately. All the effort that we put into light tonight. Hopefully Lord Willing will get to see some of the fruits of that, but much of the effort and the fruit like it's not going to be visible immediately. But we can be steadfast and immovable and abounding in the work. Knowing that it's not in vain. That it will accomplish what God set it forth to accomplish, and that he will reward those who serve him in the calling that he's placed in our lives, and so, whether it be, you know, in Sunday school whether it be in some outreach or some ministry, some diligent, faithful service. That sees no thanks. No gratitude, no reward we can trust. And it might be years and years and years of no reward, but God will make things right. He is not going to leave himself in his, uh, in the position of, you know, being a debtor to anyone like saying, Lord I, I served you so well, I served you so much you know, and I I never got compensated for that I I never. You know, received what was just in right according to that and God, it would say no way that that his servants will always, even if it's key Nebuchadnezzar, a Pagan king of a ungodly nation. He's against unfair wages and he is going. To make things right to bring reward and compensation for all who does. The work that he's called them to. So no, what God is against, he's against broken commitments. He's against self-reliance. He's against excessive punishment, and he's against unfair wages. Lots of ways for us to think about these things in the world that we live in for our own hearts and the end result, hopefully, is to know that he is. Award to submit to him recognizing what he's against and seeing these things and. Making sure that I live. My life in a way that does not continue on these patterns and paths. All of these things are. Typical in the world around us. Broken commitments, self-reliance, excessive punishment, unfair wages. I mean the world will do all of these things. Our society will engage in all of these things. But we need to be those who know that he is the Lord and know what he is against. And to turn from those things and to submit ourselves to him and trust in him. But we think. Thank you. For your word, and these reminders that we need Lord as we understand and know what you are against, I pray that you would give us clear steps forward, Lord, that we can become Lord in line with you and your will. Your character in your nature, Lord, may we know you and submit ourselves to you completely and fully. Absolute surrender. Holding nothing back, I pray this in Jesus name.