09/09/Th – Delayed No Longer

Ezekiel 12:1-28; Hebrews 7:1-10; Psalms 105:16-26; Proverbs 22:28-29

OT: “Again the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, what is this proverb you people have about the land of Israel, which goes, ‘The days keep passing by, and every vision fails’? Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Lord God says: I will put a stop to this proverb, and they will not use it again in Israel.’ But say to them, ‘The days have arrived, as well as the fulfillment of every vision. For there will no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. But I, the Lord, will speak whatever message I will speak, and it will be done. It will no longer be delayed. For in your days, rebellious house, I will speak a message and bring it to pass. This is the declaration of the Lord God.’”” (‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭12:21-25‬ ‭CSB)

Warren Wiersbe wrote this in The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: “During the siege of Jerusalem (606-586 BC), error had the support of government and religious leaders, and most of the Jewish exiles in Babylon agreed with them. “We will never give in to the Babylonian army!” was the cry of the Jewish people in Jerusalem. “The Lord will never allow the Gentiles to destroy His Holy City or defile His holy temple!” One dissenting voice in Jerusalem was Jeremiah; in Babylon it was Ezekiel.”

Throughout scripture, there have been times when God has sent a prophetic voice to a people to confront them of their sin and warn them of judgement to come. God then delays His judgement to give the people the opportunity to hear His words, respond to His words and repent of their sin and unrighteousness. If the prophetic warnings are not responded to, eventually judgement comes. In the case of the city of Nineveh, the people heeded the words of Jonah and judgement was averted. Other times, as it was with Israel and Judah, the prophetic warnings were ignored and judgement eventually came.

For some time, Ezekiel had been sharing his visions with the Babylonian exiles, warning them of the impending fall of Jerusalem – but nothing had happened. Instead of heeding Ezekiel’s warnings, the people began to ridicule them… even coming up with a proverb about his visions that never came to fruition. Though God had delayed His judgement for a time, the merciful delay of the Lord had come to an end. God’s word to Ezekiel was, “The days have arrived, as well as the fulfillment of every vision… it will no longer be delayed.”

There is a phrase that the pastor of my church often says: “Judgement delayed is not judgement denied.” God is merciful and longsuffering, slow to anger and abounding in love. He delays judgement for our sakes – to give us the opportunity to repent and be saved from judgement and wrath. But we can’t confuse His delay with a denial of judgement. His judgement will come. For nearly two millennia, the church has been both looking forward to and warning of the immanent return of Christ… and for nearly two millennia, nothing has happened. God delays because it is His desire that all will be saved and come to the knowledge of Christ. He is waiting for every language and every people group on earth to have the opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ, respond, repent and believe. When that happens, the end will come and God’s final judgement will be delayed no longer.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for Your mercy and longsuffering to humanity – giving everyone time to hear Your words, be convicted of unrighteousness, repent and believe on Christ for salvation. Help me to not grow doubtful in the waiting, but to be like Ezekiel: a consistent voice to all who will hear, proclaiming the gospel and calling people to repent and believe. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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