“I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I take vengeance on them.” (Ezekiel 25:17)(NIV)
“Because you think you are wise, as wise as a god, I am going to bring foreigners against you, the most ruthless of nations; they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom and pierce your shining splendor.” (Ezekiel 28:6-7)(NIV)
“Vengeance for the Vain”
Who doesn’t love a good come-uppance? There’s something that thrills the soul when a vainglorious villain takes the ultimate fall. What a relief it must have been to the displaced Hebrews – toiling, longing and struggling in exile – to hear Ezekiel’s message shift from one of Jerusalem’s destruction and her whoreish-ness, to the predicted downfall of the powerful nations bordering Israel on all sides. “Oh, you mean they’re gonna get it, too? There is justice in the world, after all!” Yes – God’s justice: broad, even-handed, enduring. The kind that makes a mockery of supposed importance. Here, as Ezekiel condemns Tyre, he points out that their callous rejoicing in Jerusalem’s downfall – seen as an opportunity to enhance their domination of Mediterranean trade – wouldn’t go un-punished. Because though God’s patience is great, He will not be denied forever.
Though I spend more time steeped in self-doubt than humming with hubris, I have my moments. Moments like, “I know better than you do, God,” or “I’m too tired for Church,” or “there are other things I’d rather do than spend time in the Word.” I could go on, but frankly, I’m too embarrassed to list the really atrocious stuff. I imagine He gets as tired with my fair-weather affections as he did with Judah’s. Truly, it’s only by His grace I haven’t been more sternly reprimanded. So I take an odd solace in passages like this, wherein I’m reminded that my vanities and my chicaneries break God’s heart. And they might just be setting me up for a fall.
Heavenly Father, vanity is easy. It doesn’t take much – just a commitment to self above all else. And I can do that in three seconds flat. Please remind me every day of your Greatness, and your superiority over everything in my life. Use whatever means You must to break bad habits and preserve my humility. For you are the “God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome” (Deut. 10:17), and you will not be denied. Amen.