From Ezekiel 28-30
The king of Tyre’s success and wealth leads to sinful pride. He believes he is a god. The LORD will put him to death. There are a few instances in the scriptures where people set themselves up to be gods. They never end well.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Today we look at what the LORD says about a city called Tyre.
28 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord GOD:
“Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas,’
yet you are but a man, and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a god (Eze 28.1-2)
Ezekiel is meant to address the ‘prince of Tyre’. Since God is the king, most rulers of the earth are described as ‘princes’ in comparison to him.
The king is proud. His rule has gone to his head and he thinks he is a god.
The LORD puts him in his place. He may think he is a god, his head puffed up from his rule, but there is only one God and he is not the one.
3 you are indeed wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you;
4 by your wisdom and your understanding you have made wealth for yourself, and have gathered gold and silver into your treasuries;
5 by your great wisdom in your trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart has become proud in your wealth (Eze 28.3-5)
‘Wiser than Daniel’. Daniel was known for his wisdom. His interpretation of secrets, dreams and his administrative ability.
The king of Tyre claims the same wisdom for himself. He believes his wisdom is the reason why he has become so rich in gold and silver.
God is the ultimate reason why he has been so prosperous. He has not given glory to God.
6 therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you make your heart like the heart of a god,
7 therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon you, the most ruthless of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor. 8 They shall thrust you down into the pit, and you shall die the death of the slain in the heart of the seas. (Eze 28.6-8)
The LORD will humble the king and send a foreign nation to punish him. The king of Tyre will be killed and thrust into the pit. Sheol, the place reserved for the dead. He will die in the ‘heart of the seas’. The place where he exalted himself (Eze 28.2) will be the place of his demise.
9 Will you still say, ‘I am a god,’ in the presence of those who kill you, though you are but a man, and no god, in the hands of those who slay you?
10 You shall die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of foreigners; for I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD.” (Eze 28.9-10)
“The climax comes in the strongest language of Hebrew scorn. As the uncircumcised were to the Israelite (1 Sam. 17:36; 31:4), so should the King of Tyre, unhonoured, unwept, with no outward marks of reverence, be among the great ones of the past who dwell in Hades.” (Spence-Jones, H.D.M. ed., 1909. Ezekiel, London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.)
“The first prophecy against the king of Tyre does confront him about a sin which would particularly characterize the leadership of this particular city-state with its worldwide economic significance, his pretension to a godlike wisdom evidenced by his economic success.
Wisdom is of course a necessary attribute of leadership, not least for its economic benefits. Thus once the monarchy is accepted in Israel, Solomon’s story emphasizes the king’s need and receiving of this gift. But it emphasizes that for all the human effort to acquire it, paradoxically it nevertheless comes as God’s gift.
The besetting temptation of leadership is to assume the credit for the gift and thus to see itself as godlike (28:2). Israelite tradition also emphasized that the wisdom that counted was linked with just management of the affairs of state as well with right attitudes to God; it was not merely a matter of shrewd business acumen.
The king of Tyre’s sin thus has nothing to do with the city’s attitude to Israel (contrast ch. 25). It has to do with its attitude to God.” (Goldingay, J.A., 2003. Ezekiel. In J. D. G. Dunn & J. W. Rogerson, eds. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, p. 648.)
In the gospel Jesus confronts the Jews who denied he was the Christ, the son of God.
31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” (Jn 10.31-38)
Jesus draws on Psalm 82 where proud rulers thought because they sat in judgment they were gods.
6 I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;
7 nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.”
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations! (Ps 82.6-8)
All who raise themselves up against the LORD and his Christ will die. They are not gods.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.