1. Last Sunday evening we looked at the wall of protection or hope that the people of Israel were building around them. They were being besieged by the Babylonians and they needed protection.
2. In those days cities had walls around them to protect them from their enemies. And if the enemy could weaken or breach the wall, they would have a much better chance of victory.
3. Last week we looked at a deeper meaning of the symbolism of the wall. In Isaiah 26:1, the wall is a symbol of salvation.
Isa 26:1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts.
In Zech 2, a wall is seen as of the protection of God. In a vision of the New Jerusalem we read:
Zech2: 4b-5 "Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of men and livestock in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the LORD, ’and I will be its glory within.
4. As we have seen before, especially in our study of Revelation, the city of Jerusalem is symbolic of the people of God. The New Jerusalem will be the heavenly city. The place were God will dwell forever with His people. A place where God lived. And so as we said, it represented His protection and His favour.
5. But the people, as we saw, created their own wall of protection. And by not relying on God they were in effect, causing God to put a wall between Him and them. We saw how they had relied not on God, but on idols, on allies with other nations and on their own corruption and sin.
6. God warned the people that He would destroy their wall. This meant the wall of Jerusalem which the Babylonians would destroy. But it also meant the things that their wall was built on or based.
7. We also considered now in the world today, in the church and in the lives of believers we also build walls. How we seek security and protection from false idols or gods, from allying ourselves with the world and in sinful practices. God will destroy these walls as well. The things of the world will end one day. But not only will these walls be destroyed but also those who built them, who rely on them and especially those who whitewash them or say that all is well when it is not.
8. And that, now as then, is most destructively done, by those who claim to be prophets or people who are called to represent God. That means ministers but it also means all of who confess Jesus Christ as Lord.
9. This evening we consider how we are to respond to the building of these walls. Walls that in the end will crumble, walls that will afford no protection but lead to the downfall of many and walls that separate many from God (iron pan in Ezekiel 2).
10. In our passage today God makes it clear how sinful Israel has become
Ezek 22:4 you have become guilty because of the blood you have shed and have become defiled by the idols you have made.
Ezek 22:7 In you they have treated father and mother with contempt; in you they have oppressed the alien and mistreated the fatherless and the widow.
Ezek 22:8 You have despised my holy things and desecrated my Sabbaths.
Ezek 22:12 In you men accept bribes to shed blood; you take usury and excessive interest and make unjust gain from your neighbors by extortion. And you have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign LORD.
11. God then lets them know how great His wrath is and how strongly He will judge them. He will disperse them among the nations. Hear the anger in Godís voice as He says:
Ezek 22:20-23 As men gather silver, copper, iron, lead and tin into a furnace to melt it with a fiery blast, so will I gather you in my anger and my wrath and put you inside the city and melt you. I will gather you and I will blow on you with my fiery wrath, and you will be melted inside her. As silver is melted in a furnace, so you will be melted inside her, and you will know that I the LORD have poured out my wrath upon you.’"
12. God then declares how defiled and guilty they are - the situation affected all the levels of leadership and throughout all of society.
Ezek 22:25 There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her.