Talks for Growing Christians
Israel’s Furnace of Judgment
Lesson Number 23
- Jerusalem was judged because all categories of sin were committed.
- Jerusalem was judged because all classes of society had sinned.
- Here in chapter 22, three more messages of judgment pronounced against Jerusalem and Judah are given, with each successive message beginning in verses 1, 17 and 23. At this time of Ezekiel’s receiving the word of the Lord, some of the Jewish people had already gone into captivity. Had the taking of captives by the Babylonians caused Israel to turn from their abominable sins?
- The categories of the sin practiced by the people of Jerusalem and Judah are listed in some detail in this chapter. List six of the categories or areas of sin and the verses in which they are described.
- The bloodshed mentioned several times in this chapter probably included _______ ________________ as well as _________. Identify two books of the Old Testament that would give credence to this probability.
- All classes of society were involved in the excessive sinning by the Jewish people. List four of the classes of people mentioned in this chapter and the verses in which they are identified.
- Since all of the people were guilty of sinning against the Lord, was God justified in bringing judgment against the whole nation? Identify the three verses which confirm the answer.
- God’s earlier warnings of judgment including the taking of some captives by the Babylonians did not bring a response of remorse and repentance by the people of Jerusalem and Judah. Verses 1-13 clearly describe the reality of the continuing and worsening sins committed by the people.
- Six of the areas or categories of sin being committed by the people were idolatry (vs 3-4), oppression of the needy (v 7), sacrilege (v 8), immorality including incest (vs 9-11), extortion (v 12), and bloodshed (vs 3, 4, 6, 12, 13, 27).
- The bloodshed mentioned in the verses listed in answer 2 above, probably included child sacrifice as well as murder. We know from the record of Kings and Chronicles that the kingdoms of Israel and Judah both sank to the level of the idolatrous sacrifice of children to the pagan gods.
- Four classes of the Jewish society involved in the ongoing sin that God was to judge were the prophets (vs 25, 29), the priests (v 26), the princes (v 27), and the rest of the people (v 29).
- Verses 29-31 clearly explain the justification of God to bring judgment against the entire nation. All the people were guilty of continuing in all categories of sin (vs 1-28) and further more, not one person could God find to “make a wall and stand in the gap” on behalf of the land.
- Discuss what it means in application to “make a wall and stand in the gap on behalf of the land” today. Identify some examples or applications in which you are or might be involved. Consider carefully the characteristics necessary for the Christian who would be willing to “make a wall” and effectively “stand in the gap”. Discuss whether it would be likely for one believer to have all of the necessary characteristics.
- Are you willing to take a place in the gap in the wall? Have you taken time to identify gaps in the wall of your own life, or in the life of your church, or in the life of your state or nation? Have you looked for or found others to stand with you? What risks have you considered for standing in the gap . . . or for not standing in the gap?
- “As silver is melted in the midst of a furnace, so shall you be melted in its midst; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have poured out my fury on you.” Ezekiel 22:22
- “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30