–And they shall know that I am the Lord–
This phrase repeats again and again throughout these chapters of Ezekiel. It brought to mind this completely opposite clip from the Wizard of Oz . . .
When the Lord speaks, it is not as some charlatan from behind the curtain. His promises will be kept. His judgements will be carried out. His people will be protected or chastened as appropriate. What he has said he will do.
When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.John 2:9-11 ESV
And, when Jesus steps foot on this earth, we find these same attributes as well. The powerful God, in human form, is not bound by the laws of science (although He created those, too, and as a general rule works within them) and can make water into wine, the best wine, with no effort.
And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”John 2:15-17 ESV
He of course has no tolerance for those that ignore His law, or deface His house. Jesus is wholly God, the same from before the beginning of time.
But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.John 2:24-25 ESV
The evil hidden away in the heart of man was all too familiar to Jesus. He had watched the people of Israel vacillate between following and ignoring the law for thousands of years at this point.
2 “Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, 3 and say, You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. 4 Your altars shall become desolate, and your incense altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain before your idols. 5 And I will lay the dead bodies of the people of Israel before their idols, and I will scatter your bones around your altars. 6 Wherever you dwell, the cities shall be waste and the high places ruined, so that your altars will be waste and ruined, your idols broken and destroyed, your incense altars cut down, and your works wiped out. 7 And the slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the Lord.Ezekiel 6:2-7 ESV
The destruction prophesied in Ezekiel seems so harsh, and critics show no surprise at the fire and brimstone God of the Old Testament. However, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The condemnation He gave out to Canaan, to Babylon, to Assyria, and ultimately to Jerusalem was all in response to their gross sins and their rejection of Him. People like to portray Jesus as loving and a “fresh” view of God. Just because He came with a different focus (to serve, not be served, to sacrifice Himself for all mankind), does not mean that He was any softer on sin. In fact, He was coming to take all that judgment on Himself. He knew the full power of God’s wrath, as only a person can truly know Himself. These chapters of John open our eyes to who this God-man is, and prepare us for the momentous occasion when God will both pour out and be the recipient of His great wrath. Not until we have a clearer understanding of the intensity of God’s incredible wrath toward sin, can we begin to understand the enormity of what Christ bore and satisfied on the cross.
And, when those dark hours hang over the earth, people would again know that He is the Lord, for He has spoken.
Lord, you are powerful! You are steady,constant. And, You stepped in the way of Your own wrath to save my life. When You speak, help me to listen and act. Help me to hate my sin as much as You do, and to hold tightly to Your hand and Your perfect way. Help me to trust the power of Your words. In Jesus name, Amen.