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Insincere Seekers & the Deception of God

This time, fearfully, the word of the LORD was fiercely opposed to the inquirers (the Good Figs). With disdain, far beyond former times, the LORD rhetorically questioned and emphatically denounced the whole affair, saying,

Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them? Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.” – Ezek. 14:3-5

The people of Israel in Babylon and in Judah were relentlessly enticed by the fantasies of false Prophets. Time and time again they and their followers were found to be deceived, thus disillusionment progressed. The sheer magnitude of deception and the perpetuity of its onslaught amidst the Great Falling Away was alluring “believers” in the LORD to be practical atheists, as formerly noted (“The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not.” – Ezek. 9:9). In an attempt to rouse the lulled hearts of the people and contradict the widespread disillusionment, the LORD testified to the operation of His hands in the midst of it all, declaring,

“I the LORD will answer him” - Ezek. 14:4

“I the LORD will answer him by Myself” - Ezek. 14:7

“I will set My face against that man” - Ezek. 14:8

“I the LORD have deceived that Prophet” - Ezek. 14:9

What do these threats mean? What end goal is hereby accomplished? The LORD invariably decreed deceptions to arrest every impenitent Israelite who came to the Prophets for inquiry, promising, “I the LORD will answer him” (Ezek. 14:4, 7). They came for a word from the LORD, so they feigned. God answered! By means of God-sent deceptions the LORD tactfully orchestrated (“I will set My face against that man” – Ezek. 14:8) and notoriously displayed (“I…will make him a sign and a proverb” – Ezek. 14:8) the death of “every one of the House of Israel” who was impenitent and insincere. “I will cut him off from the midst of My people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD”, God said (Ezek. 14:8)! And for what end goal? For the establishment of Church Purity, of course. Herein, the Lord exercised ultimate, sovereign, and transcendent rule of Israel via the heart by spiritual judgments. In other words, the Lord was utilizing strong delusions (the Deception of God) for the enforcement of justice and judgment to the establishment of Church Purity. Remember, though, these divine mechanisms are a last resort utility used to target men who have become an abomination to the Lord, a source of incurable pollution! Speaking of this, the LORD’s stated purpose was:

“That the house of Israel may go no more astray from Me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be My people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord GOD.” – Ezek. 14:11

The false Prophets claimed intercessory powers they did not possess (Jer. 27:18). They preached fantasies of life and peace in a day of death and destruction for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Therefore, the LORD had a controversy with the so-called intercessors, on this wise: pointing to the four judgments divinely orchestrated to annihilate the inhabitants of Jerusalem (“the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence” – Ezek. 14:21), the LORD testified, “Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it…”, intercession was impossible (Ezek. 14:13-14, 15-16, 17-18, 19-20)! Amidst the merciless swords of barbaric manslayers, the slow death of an irresistible famine, the poisonous breath of unforeseeable pestilences, and the human-hunting wild animals gone mad with hunger, the LORD operated a person-specific and person-targeted annihilation until at last, in the latter end, the narrowly escaping remnant (hand-selected for survival to tell the story) found repentance and gave glory to God! To live through the stormy tempest that will nearly annihilate the population of Evil Figs was nothing short of a miracle! This was the performance of life-securing promises recorded in Ezekiel 3:18-21, assuring the penitent: “he shall surely live” (Ezek. 3:21). Testifying to what would happen to these survivors, the LORD said,

Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it. And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD.” – Ezek. 14:22-23

This is a gracious amendment to the hopelessly damned basket of Evil Figs, my reader. By right of sovereign election and for the preservation of God’s own Name, He did it. “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?” (Dan. 4:35).