Today: [Ezekiel 25] Are You an Ammonite? In this chapter, Ezekiel prophesies against the Ammonites, Moabites, Edom and the Philistines. We have to remember that for us, this is more than biblical history. Each one of these nations represents an attitude, a posture or an inner stronghold that can influence our lives. As we see the judgment of God against these ancient enemies of Judah they are a caution to us not to find anything in our lives compatible to what they represent.
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[Eze 25:1-17 KJV] 1 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them; 3 And say unto the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou saidst, Aha, against my sanctuary, when it was profaned; and against the land of Israel, when it was desolate; and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity; 4 Behold, therefore I will deliver thee to the men of the east for a possession, and they shall set their palaces in thee, and make their dwellings in thee: they shall eat thy fruit, and they shall drink thy milk. 5 And I will make Rabbah a stable for camels, and the Ammonites a couchingplace for flocks: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD. 6 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast clapped [thine] hands, and stamped with the feet, and rejoiced in heart with all thy despite against the land of Israel; 7 Behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and will deliver thee for a spoil to the heathen; and I will cut thee off from the people, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries: I will destroy thee; and thou shalt know that I [am] the LORD. 8 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Moab and Seir do say, Behold, the house of Judah [is] like unto all the heathen; 9 Therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab from the cities, from his cities [which are] on his frontiers, the glory of the country, Bethjeshimoth, Baalmeon, and Kiriathaim, 10 Unto the men of the east with the Ammonites, and will give them in possession, that the Ammonites may not be remembered among the nations. 11 And I will execute judgments upon Moab; and they shall know that I [am] the LORD. 12 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; 13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword. 14 And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD. 15 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart, to destroy [it] for the old hatred; 16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims, and destroy the remnant of the sea coast. 17 And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.
The focus of the book of Ezekiel shifts in chapter 25 to bring the word of the Lord to the nations round about Jerusalem and Judah. These nations include the:
4. Philistia (Kerethites)
The Ammonites were descended from Lot’s incestuous union with his daughters. Their name means “born from the father”, “inbred” or “tribal”. The judgments against Ammon come because v. 3 tells us they rejoiced when the saw the sanctuary of God profaned and the people of Judah given over to debauchery and idol worship. They knew because of this that God would judge them and therefore rejoiced at what they knew would be Judah’s ultimate destruction. How did they know this would come? It wasn’t because they were prophetic. Remember they were descended as a nation from the calamity that befell Sodom and Gomorrah. After Sodom fell, Lot and his daughters took refuge in one of the remaining cities of the plain that survived after Lot petitioned the angels not to compel him to return to the wilderness where Abraham lived. This speaks to us of people who don’t want to pay the price of living all out for God, yet sit back in judgment pointing the finger with glee at those who are failing to walk in covenant with the Father.
How are we to treat our enemies? When David heard that the king of Ammon had died, he sent condolences to his son and heir. When David’s enemies suffered, he prayed for them and mourned over their losses:
[Psa 35:13-14 KJV] 13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing [was] sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. 14 I behaved myself as though [he had been] my friend [or] brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth [for his] mother.
In Christian culture, it is not uncommon for believers and even leaders to find it difficult to hide their pleasure and sense of fulfilled justice when the misfortune of others falls out to their benefit. I remember visiting a large church in Springfield, Missouri and one of the pastors in private conversation with me was gloating over the failure of a nearby church. I knew that pastor as well, a good and godly man and it was sickening to hear this leader speak so callously concerning his misfortune. Why would he do this? Because like Ammon – he was tribal in his thinking and inbred in his heart. Anything that benefited the group he was a part of was a cause for rejoicing even if others suffered. You never want to find yourself in the company of or in the character of Ammon.
In v. 8 the Lord speaks against Moab as against Ammon. Moab was the cousin of Ammon also born of Lot’s sin with his daughters. Where Ammon means “born of his father (or grandfather)”; Moab means “born of his mother’s father” with an emphasis on the mother’s sin in the situation. The daughters of Lot made him drunk so they could have sex and conceive by their father. They did this because they were afraid to live among the Sodomites without a family line to protect them. In other words they were acting in fear to do a very detestable thing which was justified in their eyes due to the situation at hand. Rather than look to God to defend them, they decided to save themselves and in so doing raised up a nation that was a bitter enemy of the people of God for centuries.
The lesson of Moab for us is to refrain from those actions we justify as necessary even though we know it is contrary to God’s word. How many times do we sin, rob God, defame His testimony in our lives because we felt with had no other choice but to do so at the time. When we make such choices, we defend ourselves with excuses of the extremity of the circumstances, we couldn’t help ourselves or we just “didn’t know what came over us…” and then go on our way without repentance, and without any thought of making restitution for our actions. True repentance includes open contrition and where possible restitution being made at times even at great cost. We do not want to be “sweet rebels” as the daughters of Lot who felt they were not sinners, but just victims of circumstance who had no other choice and were therefore excused in their actions.
In v. 12 the word of the Lord reproves the Edomites. Have you ever been an Edomite? Edom was descended from Esau, who bitterly hated Jacob because of the loss of his birthright. Edom means “red man” which speaks of his hot jealousy against Jacob for the blessing his father gave to him. Edom was hateful and resentful of Jacob, but he conveniently forgot that it was his own despising of the birthright that put him in that position in the first place. How many times do we resent others and in spite of ourselves become jealous of their blessings or their successes? We do so often forgetting that there have been times we could have made different decisions, but like Esau compromised and sacrificed our future blessing for the gratification of an immediate demand. Because Edom refused to see themselves in the light of the choices of their patriarch Esau they deeply hated the descendants of Jacob and for that reason they suffer the consequences.
Finally, see the hand of God’s justice upon Philistia. The Philistines were descended from Ham, who looked on his father Noah’s nakedness when he was overcome with wine in his tent. Many scholars say this is a euphemism for a sexual assault, and that Ham actually homosexually raped his father Noah. Whatever the case may be this was a deep offence and disrespect to his father Noah. Upon learning of what had happened to him, Noah spoke a curse against Ham’s descendants that they would be slaves of the descendant of Ham’s oldest brother, Shem. Shem was the patriarch of the Semitic tribes from which Abraham sprang. When Abraham journeyed into the land of Canaan 10 generations later – it was to seek the fulfillment of the prophecy of Noah that he would rule over the descendants of Ham who settled there.
The word Philistine means “immigrant” and also to “roll in the dust”. We know that Satan was condemned to eat dust (representing sinful flesh) as a punishment for his part in the fall. The idea is that the Philistines were a restless people, always searching for the next experience, the next depravity they could degrade themselves in and therefore were inveterate enemies of the people of God who were called in exactly the opposite direction – to serve God and not themselves. Every one of us has an internal Philistine, waiting to be satiated in carnal, sinful, ungodly appetites. The Philistines were very high minded against the people of God and from them the giant Goliath and his 4 brothers were sent forth to mock the armies of God. Many times, when we give ourselves over to sinful choices we mock and despise those trying to live godly in the very areas we have given ourselves over. James tells us that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. The word resist in James means God “sets his forces in array against the proud”. Whatever our struggle is in this area, we need to be careful pointing a finger of justification at those trying to live above the standards that we have rejected in our lives let we find ourselves resisted by the God we claim to serve however imperfectly.
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