What does it say?
Ezekiel’s 25th chapter consists of prophetic utterances against Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia. These are Israel’s four closest neighbors and they are gloating over Jerusalem’s destruction at the hand of Babylon. They are also Israel’s oldest enemies. God announces through his prophet that they will suffer judgment for their vengeful attitudes. Within a short time invading tribes will overrun all four of these peoples. The Philistines will never recover and disappear from history by the second century before Christ.
Chapters 26 and 27 of Ezekiel focus on Tyre, another neighboring nation. Tyre is a city-state at the foot of the Lebanese mountains that flourishes because of being situated on the best harbor of the eastern Mediterranean. Tyre also relishes the fall of Jerusalem believing that her demise will result in Tyre’s opportunity for even greater wealth. Through Ezekiel, God promises that he will likewise bring judgment upon Tyre. Chapter 27 is in the form of a lament. Tyre is fabulously wealthy, her ships and commerce legendary. Ezekiel fittingly pictures her in chapter 27 as a sailing vessel laden with the finest of merchandise and predicts that her sinking will throw the world into mourning.
What does it mean?
Jerusalem is being judged rightly due to her many sins and rebellions and for having totally lost sight of God’s purposes. The common thread in these chapters is how God judges those neighboring peoples that rejoice in Jerusalem’s downfall. The principle is the same expressed by Paul in Romans 12:19 that vengeance belongs to God. Seeing even our enemies receive their just rewards should not give us cause for rejoicing but rather somber reflection.
How will I respond?
Do I rejoice when others fall? Even those who obviously deserve their fate for their evil deeds? What should my attitude be when others fall and justly suffer for their sin? What is the most recent example that I can remember of a wicked person who fell? Specifically, what can I learn about myself from this example?