This morning I read in Ezekiel 27-28, and wrote down in my journal some simple observations, applications and questions. It’s not a well- crafted article, nor a formulation of a single idea…it’s just smattering of observations as they came to me, a recorded list of things which spoke to me. Maybe some of them will speak to you.
- As I read these chapters, I’m struck by how sad everyone is at the downfall of Tyre. There’s a feeling of nostalgia, you know, those good ol’ days when Tyre was prosperous. When it prospered, everyone was blessed. 27:33 says, “When your wares came from the seas, you satisfied many peoples, with your abundant wealth and merchandise you enriched the kings of the earth.” And again in 28:12b-13 we see, “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering.”
- Not only was it prosperous and beautiful and wise, but in 28:14 we learn that it was also appointed by God. “You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.” God places everyone. His “chosen” people, obviously, but here we see that He also carefully places the nations, not just Israel, but all of them.
- We also see that God blesses people. He wants to bless people so that they can be a blessing to others. He does that with His people, so that they can be a blessing in HIS name to the world, but He also blesses non-Christians so that they can be a blessing to His people. Tyre was placed so that they could be a blessing and a protection to God’s people.
- Tyre’s downfall was two-fold: pride and corruption. Pride was the main problem, and I am fairly certain the corruption was a by-product of the pride, but both were a problem. Tyre thought itself a god. (It was the same kind of thinking that got Satan into trouble.)” Three times we see mention of their proud hearts (in 28:2, 6 & 17). And 28:18 makes mention of their sin and corruption, “the multitude of your iniquities…the unrighteousness of your trade.”
- Tyre isn’t going down alone. Unfortunately, those who aligned themselves with Tyre, its merchants and employees, etc. are going to be affected. “Your merchandise and all your crew in your midst have sunk with you” (27:34).
- Tyre “corrupted [her] wisdom for the sake of [her] splendor” (28:17). Her beauty, her splendor was the god to which she sacrificed her wisdom, and it was a huge mistake.
- Even though this passage talks about Tyre, we see that it’s not just about them. When they were on the rise and things were going well for them, things were going well for everyone around them too. When they fell, their fall was equally felt by those around them. You see, when someone rises or falls, it’s not just them that rises or falls. It’s never just them. No one lives in a vacuum, and there are always ripple affects.
- Tyre fell because she failed to keep sight of those around her; she had no humility. Tyre felt that she was the point, forgetting that others were affected by her actions. When she began to be a blessing to her own self, her own beauty and splendor became her chief concern, rather than focusing on wisdom and being a blessing to others. Beauty and splendor were never to be the point. They were the natural result, the by-product of the wisdom and honest dealings of Tyre. Tyre did right by others, and God blessed her, strengthened her, made her lovely. Unfortunately, Tyre became obsessed with the results (her splendor) when she should have remained focused on the process (wisdom and character). It was because of this that God removed her from power.
- Tyre’s downfall was that she thought that she was the point. In a beautiful case of poetic justice, at the end of these two chapters which appear to be all about Tyre, we see that even the chapters about Tyre aren’t really about Tyre—I mean, they may be about her, but she isn’t the point. Don’t miss this! Even though Tyre may get a lot of press, Tyre is still not the point. See what it says in 28:24, “For the house of Israel there shall be no more a brier to prick or a thorn to hurt them among all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God.” It’s expanded just a little in the next two verses, God’s plan for His people. And then, the final sentence says it again, “Then they will know that I am the Lord their God.” “THEN”—this one little word clues us into the why, the real why of it all. ALL of this talk about Tyre, it’s for Israel, and the reason it’s for Israel, the why behind it all, is ultimately so that God’s people will know that HE is God. It’s for GOD’s glory and renown.
Questions to think about:
- Are you Tyre, on the rise? A leader? How can you learn from Tyre? How can you humble yourself? How can you remain a blessing to others?
- Are you like those who rose and fell with Tyre? Who are you following? Are you watching out to be sure their hearts and actions are humble and right, or are you caught up in the excitement of their success (and yours along with it)? Do you realize that just as you are sharing in their success, you will also likely share in their fall, should it come? How can you be sure you are following Jesus and Jesus alone?
- Who or what seems to be the point as you look around you? Who or what is getting all the press? They may be getting all the press, but God and God showing you His love is still the point – it’s always the point. How can you see God showing you His nature and His love, showing you that HE is the point, even through the things that seem to be getting all the attention?
- Are you like Israel, God’s chosen, surrounded by “neighbors” who would do you harm? Can you wait on the Lord? Know that He is God? And trust Him to remove the thorns in His time? Do you believe that HE wants to bless you, protect you, love you and show Himself to you?
- Do you know that All God does is to show you that He is God? How can you keep God the point, the focus of all you do?