The Downfall of Tyre
Open Your Bible
Ezekiel 25:1-17, Ezekiel 26:1-21, Luke 10:13-16
BY Erin Davis
Few things inflame my momma bear instincts faster than someone making fun of my child. You are free to call me any name in the book. Chances are, that water will roll right on off my back. But direct your sneers at one of my four boys and you’re sure to see my scrappy side.
I see the Father’s heart on full display in the middle of Ezekiel. The pagan nations that surrounded Judah watched God’s judgment unfold on His people—and they laughed, like children cheering during a playground fight.
The people of Ammon celebrated when God’s sanctuary was desecrated (Ezekiel 25:3). They clapped and stomped and sang when God’s judgment fell hard on the shoulders of His children (v.6). They whooped and hollered when the people of Judah were carted away as slaves. The people of Moab and Seir took God’s judgment as a sign that there was nothing really special about God’s chosen people (v.8). Edom took advantage (v.12). Philistia looked on with a you-got-what-you-deserved glare (v.15). Judah’s enemies clearly thought God, and His judgment, was a joke (v.3). Because God was angry at His people’s sin, we might expect Him to tolerate such shenanigans. That’s not what happened. Like a momma bear defending her cubs, God responded to these taunts in a way that let Judah’s mockers know that His love for His children was unshaken.
For Judah, God’s judgment was a mercy, a chance to turn their hearts back fully to Him. For the others, it was a reckoning, a harsh reality check that the God of Israel is the only one on the throne and that He will always defend His children.
Beyond the fall of nations, a greater gospel reality is illustrated in these passages. For those who call upon the name of the Lord, judgment doesn’t last forever. Because He is a devoted Father, sin doesn’t make us any less His. But for those who refused to worship God, in Ezekiel’s day and in ours, His judgment is total and final.
“I will destroy you” (v.7).
“They will know my vengeance” (v.14).
“You will never be rebuilt” (Ezekiel 26:14).
“I will bring you down to be with those who descend to the Pit” (v.20).
Ezekiel’s book is a profound declaration that for God’s children, His judgment and mercy are always intermingled. Though He temporarily allowed the people of Judah to experience the consequences of their sin, His judgment is never a sign that He has stopped loving us.
This Lenten season, take heart, child of God! Even as He disciplines us, He defends us. Even when He places us under the heavy hand of His rebuke, He holds us tight.