Friday, October 7, 2016

Ezekiel 31: The Lessons Of History

You may be wondering what all these ancient prophecies from Ezekiel have to do with us today.  Many of them are about specific situations in the sixth century before Christ to nations that no longer even exist.  For instance, in chapter 31, Ezekiel is sharing a message from the Lord to Egypt using a parable about the long-dead empire of Assyria.  While it may have been "God's Word" 2600 years ago, is it really still God's Word to us today?  How is it relevant?

While the context of the Bible (Old and New Testaments both) is locked in history and culture, the truths that it contain are timeless.  Just like God is sending Egypt a warning based on the example of Assyria, an empire that had ceased to exist by Ezekiel's day, the past still speaks today.  Ezekiel is saying that what was true for Assyria (its loftiness, its greatness, its pride, and its downfall) are equally true of Egypt.  The names and locations have been changed, but the lesson applies.  Just as Assyria was high and mighty yet destroyed, so, too, is a day of reckoning coming for Egypt.

Is there a contemporary meaning for us in these prophecies?  Isn't God revealing through Ezekiel what happens when a nation grows large and powerful and forgets God?  Isn't that a prelude to its destruction?  These words may not bear directly on our experience in the 21st century, but at least the implied principles have an indirect application.

We must learn from the errors of Assyria and Egypt (and countless other nations that have gone before us) so that we do not repeat their mistakes.  Let us be humble enough to learn the lessons of history.

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