SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
12:1 The Lord’s message came to me: 2 “Son of man, you are living in the midst of a rebellious house. They have eyes to see, but do not see, and ears to hear, but do not hear, because they are a rebellious house.
3 “Therefore, son of man, pack up your belongings as if for exile. During the day, while they are watching, pretend to go into exile. Go from where you live to another place. Perhaps they will understand, although they are a rebellious house. 4 Bring out your belongings packed for exile during the day while they are watching. And go out at evening, while they are watching, as if for exile. 5 While they are watching, dig a hole in the wall and carry your belongings out through it. 6 While they are watching, raise your baggage onto your shoulder and carry it out in the dark. You must cover your face so that you cannot see the ground because I have made you an object lesson to the house of Israel.”
7 So I did just as I was commanded. I carried out my belongings packed for exile during the day, and at evening I dug myself a hole through the wall with my hands. I went out in the darkness, carrying my baggage on my shoulder while they watched.
8 The Lord’s message came to me in the morning: 9 “Son of man, has not the house of Israel, that rebellious house, said to you, ‘What are you doing?’ 10 Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The prince will raise this burden in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel within it.’ 11 Say, ‘I am an object lesson for you. Just as I have done, so it will be done to them; they will go into exile and captivity.’
12 “The prince who is among them will raise his belongings onto his shoulder in darkness and will go out. He will dig a hole in the wall to leave through. He will cover his face so that he cannot see the land with his eyes. 13 But I will throw my net over him, and he will be caught in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans (but he will not see it), and there he will die. 14 All his retinue—his attendants and his troops—I will scatter to every wind; I will unleash a sword behind them.
15 “Then they will know that I am the Lord when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them among foreign countries. 16 But I will let a small number of them survive the sword, famine, and pestilence, so that they can confess all their abominable practices to the nations where they go. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
17 The Lord’s message came to me: 18 “Son of man, eat your bread with trembling and drink your water with anxious shaking. 19 Then say to the people of the land, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says about the inhabitants of Jerusalem and of the land of Israel: They will eat their bread with anxiety and drink their water in fright, for their land will be stripped bare of all it contains because of the violence of all who live in it. 20 The inhabited towns will be left in ruins, and the land will be devastated. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
21 The Lord’s message came to me: 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb you have in the land of Israel, ‘The days pass slowly, and every vision fails’? 23 Therefore tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I hereby end this proverb; they will not recite it in Israel any longer.’ But say to them, ‘The days are at hand when every vision will be fulfilled. 24 For there will no longer be any false visions or flattering omens amidst the house of Israel. 25 For I, the Lord, will speak. Whatever word I speak will be accomplished. It will not be delayed any longer. Indeed in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and accomplish it, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
26 The Lord’s message came to me: 27 “Take note, son of man, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision that he sees is for distant days; he is prophesying about the far future.’ 28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer! The word I speak will come to pass, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
13:1 Then the Lord’s message came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to the prophets who prophesy from their imagination: ‘Listen to the Lord’s message! 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit but have seen nothing! 4 Your prophets have become like jackals among the ruins, O Israel. 5 You have not gone up in the breaks in the wall, nor repaired a wall for the house of Israel that it would stand strong in the battle on the day of the Lord. 6 They see delusion and their omens are a lie. They say, “The Lord declares,” though the Lord has not sent them; yet they expect their word to be confirmed. 7 Have you not seen a false vision and announced a lying omen when you say, “The Lord declares,” although I myself never spoke?
8 “‘Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you have spoken false words and forecast delusion, look, I am against you, declares the Sovereign Lord. 9 My hand will be against the prophets who see delusion and announce lying omens. They will not be included in the council of my people, nor be written in the registry of the house of Israel, nor enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.
10 “‘This is because they have led my people astray saying, “All is well,” when things are not well. When anyone builds a wall without mortar, they coat it with whitewash. 11 Tell the ones who coat it with whitewash that it will fall. When there is a deluge of rain, hailstones will fall and a violent wind will break out. 12 When the wall has collapsed, people will ask you, “Where is the whitewash you coated it with?”
13 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: In my rage I will make a violent wind break out. In my anger there will be a deluge of rain and hailstones in destructive fury. 14 I will break down the wall you coated with whitewash and knock it to the ground so that its foundation is exposed. When it falls you will be destroyed beneath it, and you will know that I am the Lord. 15 I will vent my rage against the wall and against those who coated it with whitewash. Then I will say to you, “The wall is no more and those who whitewashed it are no more— 16 those prophets of Israel who would prophesy about Jerusalem and would see visions of peace for it, when there was no peace,” declares the Sovereign Lord.’
17 “As for you, son of man, turn toward the daughters of your people who are prophesying from their imagination. Prophesy against them 18 and say ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to those who sew bands on all their wrists and make headbands for heads of every size to entrap people’s lives! Will you entrap my people’s lives, yet preserve your own lives? 19 You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and scraps of bread. You have put to death people who should not die and kept alive those who should not live by your lies to my people, who listen to lies!
20 “‘Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Take note that I am against your wristbands with which you entrap people’s lives like birds. I will tear them from your arms and will release the people’s lives, which you hunt like birds. 21 I will tear off your headbands and rescue my people from your power; they will no longer be prey in your hands. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 22 This is because you have disheartened the righteous person with lies (although I have not grieved him), and because you have encouraged the wicked person not to turn from his evil conduct and preserve his life. 23 Therefore you will no longer see false visions and practice divination. I will rescue my people from your power, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”
14:1 Then some men from Israel’s elders came to me and sat down in front of me. 2 The Lord’s message came to me: 3 “Son of man, these men have erected their idols in their hearts and placed the obstacle leading to their iniquity right before their faces. Should I really allow them to seek me? 4 Therefore speak to them and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When anyone from the house of Israel erects his idols in his heart and sets the obstacle leading to his iniquity before his face, and then consults a prophet, I, the Lord, am determined to answer him personally according to the enormity of his idolatry. 5 I will do this in order to capture the hearts of the house of Israel, who have alienated themselves from me on account of all their idols.’
6 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Return! Turn from your idols, and turn your faces away from your abominations. 7 For when anyone from the house of Israel, or the resident foreigner who lives in Israel, separates himself from me and erects his idols in his heart and sets the obstacle leading to his iniquity before his face, and then consults a prophet to seek something from me, I, the Lord, am determined to answer him personally. 8 I will set my face against that person and will make him an object lesson and a byword and will cut him off from among my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
9 “‘As for the prophet, if he is made a fool by being deceived into speaking a prophetic word—I, the Lord, have made a fool of that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel. 10 They will bear their punishment; the punishment of the one who sought an oracle will be the same as the punishment of the prophet who gave it 11 so that the house of Israel will no longer go astray from me, nor continue to defile themselves by all their sins. They will be my people, and I will be their God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
12 The Lord’s message came to me: 13 “Son of man, suppose a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it, cut off its bread supply, cause famine to come on it, and kill both people and animals. 14 Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would save only their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord.
15 “Suppose I were to send wild animals through the land and kill its children, leaving it desolate, without travelers due to the wild animals. 16 Even if these three men were in it, as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, they could not save their own sons or daughters; they would save only their own lives, and the land would become desolate.
17 “Or suppose I were to bring a sword against that land and say, ‘Let a sword pass through the land,’ and I were to kill both people and animals. 18 Even if these three men were in it, as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, they could not save their own sons or daughters—they would save only their own lives.
19 “Or suppose I were to send a plague into that land and pour out my rage on it with bloodshed, killing both people and animals. 20 Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, they could not save their own son or daughter; they would save only their own lives by their righteousness.
21 “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: How much worse will it be when I send my four terrible judgments—sword, famine, wild animals, and plague—to Jerusalem to kill both people and animals! 22 Yet some survivors will be left in it, sons and daughters who will be brought out. They will come out to you, and when you see their behavior and their deeds, you will be consoled about the catastrophe I have brought on Jerusalem—for everything I brought on it. 23 They will console you when you see their behavior and their deeds, because you will know that it was not without reason that I have done everything that I have done in it, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
15:1 The Lord’s message came to me: 2 “Son of man, of all the woody branches among the trees of the forest, what happens to the wood of the vine? 3 Can wood be taken from it to make anything useful? Or can anyone make a peg from it to hang things on? 4 No! It is thrown in the fire for fuel; when the fire has burned up both ends of it and it is charred in the middle, will it be useful for anything? 5 Indeed! If it was not made into anything useful when it was whole, how much less can it be made into anything when the fire has burned it up and it is charred?
6 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Like the wood of the vine is among the trees of the forest that I have provided as fuel for the fire—so I will provide the residents of Jerusalem as fuel. 7 I will set my face against them—although they have escaped from the fire, the fire will still consume them! Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I set my face against them. 8 I will make the land desolate because they have acted unfaithfully, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
16:1 The Lord’s message came to me: 2 “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her abominable practices 3 and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Jerusalem: Your origin and your birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. 4 As for your birth, on the day you were born your umbilical cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water; you were certainly not rubbed down with salt, nor wrapped with blankets. 5 No eye took pity on you to do even one of these things for you to spare you; you were thrown out into the open field because you were detested on the day you were born.
6 “‘I passed by you and saw you kicking around helplessly in your blood. I said to you as you lay there in your blood, “Live!” I said to you as you lay there in your blood, “Live!” 7 I made you plentiful like sprouts in a field; you grew tall and came of age so that you could wear jewelry. Your breasts had formed and your hair had grown, but you were still naked and bare.
8 “‘Then I passed by you and watched you, noticing that you had reached the age for love. I spread my cloak over you and covered your nakedness. I swore a solemn oath to you and entered into a marriage covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.
9 “‘Then I bathed you in water, washed the blood off you, and anointed you with fragrant oil. 10 I dressed you in embroidered clothing and put fine leather sandals on your feet. I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk. 11 I adorned you with jewelry. I put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck. 12 I put a ring in your nose, earrings on your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 You were adorned with gold and silver, while your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidery. You ate the finest flour, honey, and olive oil. You became extremely beautiful and attained the position of royalty. 14 Your fame spread among the nations because of your beauty; your beauty was perfect because of the splendor that I bestowed on you, declares the Sovereign Lord.
15 “‘But you trusted in your beauty and capitalized on your fame by becoming a prostitute. You offered your sexual favors to every man who passed by so that your beauty became his. 16 You took some of your clothing and made for yourself decorated high places; you engaged in prostitution on them. You went to him to become his. 17 You also took your beautiful jewelry, made of my gold and my silver I had given to you, and made for yourself male images and engaged in prostitution with them. 18 You took your embroidered clothing and used it to cover them; you offered my olive oil and my incense to them. 19 As for my food that I gave you—the fine flour, olive oil, and honey I fed you—you placed it before them as a soothing aroma. That is exactly what happened, declares the Sovereign Lord.
20 “‘You took your sons and your daughters whom you bore to me and you sacrificed them as food for the idols to eat. As if your prostitution was not enough, 21 you slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols. 22 And with all your abominable practices and prostitution you did not remember the days of your youth when you were naked and bare, kicking around in your blood.
23 “‘After all your evil—“Woe! Woe to you!” declares the Sovereign Lord— 24 you built yourself a chamber and put up a pavilion in every public square. 25 At the head of every street you erected your pavilion, and you disgraced your beauty when you spread your legs to every passerby and multiplied your promiscuity. 26 You engaged in prostitution with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, multiplying your promiscuity and provoking me to anger. 27 So see here, I have stretched out my hand against you and cut off your rations. I have delivered you into the power of those who hate you, the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your obscene conduct. 28 You engaged in prostitution with the Assyrians because your desires were insatiable; you prostituted yourself with them and yet you were still not satisfied. 29 Then you multiplied your promiscuity to the land of merchants, Babylonia, but you were not satisfied there either.
30 “‘How sick is your heart, declares the Sovereign Lord, when you perform all these acts, the deeds of a bold prostitute. 31 When you built your chamber at the head of every street and put up your pavilion in every public square, you were not like a prostitute, because you scoffed at payment.
32 “‘Adulterous wife, who prefers strangers instead of her own husband! 33 All prostitutes receive payment, but instead you give gifts to every one of your lovers. You bribe them to come to you from all around for your sexual favors! 34 You were different from other prostitutes because no one solicited you. When you gave payment and no payment was given to you, you became the opposite!
35 “‘Therefore, you prostitute, listen to the Lord’s message! 36 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because your lust was poured out and your nakedness was uncovered in your prostitution with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols, and because of the blood of your children you have given to them, 37 therefore, take note: I am about to gather all your lovers whom you enjoyed, both all those you loved and all those you hated. I will gather them against you from all around, and I will expose your nakedness to them, and they will see all your nakedness. 38 I will punish you as an adulteress and murderer deserves. I will avenge your bloody deeds with furious rage. 39 I will give you into their hands, and they will destroy your chambers and tear down your pavilions. They will strip you of your clothing and take your beautiful jewelry and leave you naked and bare. 40 They will summon a mob who will stone you and hack you in pieces with their swords. 41 They will burn down your houses and execute judgments on you in front of many women. Thus I will put a stop to your prostitution, and you will no longer give gifts to your clients. 42 I will exhaust my rage on you, and then my fury will turn from you. I will calm down and no longer be angry.
43 “‘Because you did not remember the days of your youth and have enraged me with all these deeds, I hereby repay you for what you have done, declares the Sovereign Lord. Have you not engaged in prostitution on top of all your other abominable practices?
44 “‘Observe—everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb about you: “Like mother, like daughter.” 45 You are the daughter of your mother, who detested her husband and her sons, and you are the sister of your sisters, who detested their husbands and their sons. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. 46 Your older sister was Samaria, who lived north of you with her daughters, and your younger sister, who lived south of you, was Sodom with her daughters. 47 Have you not copied their behavior and practiced their abominable deeds? In a short time you became even more depraved in all your conduct than they were! 48 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, your sister Sodom and her daughters never behaved as wickedly as you and your daughters have behaved.
49 “‘See here—this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters had majesty, abundance of food, and enjoyed carefree ease, but they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and practiced abominable deeds before me. Therefore, when I saw it I removed them. 51 Samaria has not committed half the sins you have; you have done more abominable deeds than they did. You have made your sisters appear righteous with all the abominable things you have done. 52 So now, bear your disgrace, because you have given your sisters reason to justify their behavior. Because the sins you have committed were more abominable than those of your sisters; they have become more righteous than you. So now, be ashamed and bear the disgrace of making your sisters appear righteous.
53 “‘I will restore their fortunes, the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters, and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters (along with your fortunes among them), 54 so that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all you have done in consoling them. 55 As for your sisters, Sodom and her daughters will be restored to their former status, Samaria and her daughters will be restored to their former status, and you and your daughters will be restored to your former status. 56 In your days of majesty, was not Sodom your sister a byword in your mouth, 57 before your evil was exposed? Now you have become an object of scorn to the daughters of Aram and all those around her and to the daughters of the Philistines—those all around you who despise you. 58 You must bear your punishment for your obscene conduct and your abominable practices, declares the Lord.
59 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will deal with you according to what you have done when you despised your oath by breaking your covenant. 60 Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish a lasting covenant with you. 61 Then you will remember your conduct and be ashamed when you receive your older and younger sisters. I will give them to you as daughters, but not on account of my covenant with you. 62 I will establish my covenant with you, and then you will know that I am the Lord. 63 Then you will remember, be ashamed, and remain silent because of your disgrace when I make atonement for all you have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”