-The LORD calls on Ezekiel, not to judge the bloody city (Jerusalem), but to “cause her to know all her abominations (Ezekiel 22:1-2).” The theme of this chapter and section can be found in verse 30, “I (the LORD) searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” Their idols had defiled the righteous land that God had given to them. The people of Judah had become guilty by the blood which they had shed and their false religious practices. Their year and day of judgment was now very near to make them a reproach and a mocking before all the nations of the world. From near and far the nations of the earth would scoff at and scorn the country of ill repute and full of turmoil (Ezekiel 22:3-5).
-The ruling powers in Judah were then chastised by the prophetic word. Their purposes were exposed as those who shed innocent blood with their schemes and programs. They had treated fathers and mothers lightly (without respect, Exodus 20:12). The alien had been oppressed in the land. The orphans and widows had also been wronged in this unjust society (Exodus 22:21-22, Deuteronomy 10:17-19, Isaiah 1:17). They had despised the holy things of the LORD and profaned His Sabbaths (Exodus 20:8-11). Slander had been accepted leading to violent outcomes, and idol worship had been permitted with acts of lewdness (Jeremiah 13:27, Ephesians 4:31). Sexual misconduct and impurity had been blatant along with the taking of bribes to shed blood, taking interest for profits, and injuring neighbors for gain by oppression (Exodus 22:25;23:8, Leviticus 25:36-37; Deuteronomy 16:19, 2 Chronicles 19:17, Amos 5:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:3). In all this God rightly concludes that they have “forgotten Me (Ezekiel 22:6-12).”
-Because of all these atrocities in obvious rebellion against a holy God and towards their fellow men, God declares that He will smite their dishonest gain which they have acquired and bring retribution for the violence they have perpetrated. His Hand will be strong against them and they will be scattered among the nations, dispersed because of their uncleanness. They will profane themselves in the sight of the nations, and they will “know that I am the LORD (Ezekiel 22:13-16).”
-Israel, the LORD now declares, has become “dross to Me (Ezekiel 22:17-22).” These precious metals that are delineated here are refined by intense heat into a molten state to remove the impurities. The dross (rubbish, scum, waste, garbage) will be thrown away in disgust and wrath. While there would be a glimmer of hope in the Father’s future restoration, at this time He was consumed with melting the trash that had developed in His Promised Land.
-In the final thoughts for this chapter, God lists again the sins of specific leaders in the land of Judah. The prophets are guilty of conspiracy in acting in cohort to devise ruinous false tales to devour lives and take treasure and precious things. They are compared to a roaring lion as they have made many widows in the midst of their land (Ezekiel 22:25, 28). The priests have done violence to God’s Law and have profaned His holy things. They made no distinction between the holy and the profane and did not teach the difference between the clean and the unclean. They hide themselves from the LORD’s Sabbaths causing God to be profaned in the land (Ezekiel 22:26). Judah’s princes are compared to wolves tearing apart their prey by shedding blood and destroying lives in order to get dishonest gain and wealth (Ezekiel 22:27). And finally, the people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery wronging the poor, the needy, and the sojourner without justice (Ezekiel 22:29). God’s final analysis of the situation where no one would stand up for righteousness is this, “Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads (Ezekiel 22:31).”
-*Application* The LORD is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24, Hebrews 12:29). While He reaches down to help us and pull us out of our depravity through the suffering and sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, we must accept the free gift or His wrath remains upon us. Forgiveness and restoration only comes through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Believe in His Name to be delivered! Also, remember that God is always looking for that one good and righteous person to stand in the gap for a wayward and crooked society. Be the change in your culture. It could very well halt the anger of a Mighty God.
Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 22:30