Unlike the reprobates listening to Jeremiah’s preaching, Ezekiel’s listeners repented after 11 years under his tutelage. Jeremiah from his youth discovered how dangerous preaching could be when confronting those who valued only their opinion, not God’s word. Very much like America today. As a priest for years in Jerusalem, Ezekiel performed rituals the people loved. As a prophet in Babylon he preached God’s truth they detested and resisted. He had grown accustomed to the praise priests received. He had to LEARN to accept ABUSE prophets received.
God ordered Ezekiel to proclaim only what he revealed, not what the people wanted to hear. It’s a command that remains intact for every preacher today, without exception and subject to God’s judgment if refused. Ezekiel, therefore, preached condemnation on personal and national sins.
Then...after 11 years of captivity, hearing their prophet drum God’s wrath into their minds, the exiles: exonerated God for their condition and blamed themselves for what brought their exile Ezekiel 33:10. As always happens, where a strong action of denial occurs, an equally strong reaction of guilt savaged them. Which brought God’s comfort, with the added admonition to continue expressing repentance, 33:11-20.
That steeled them for the arrival of a lone traveler five months later, with a single sentence of four words, “The city has fallen” 33:21. They listened; heard; digested the information; contemplated the meaning. They could no longer doubt, deny or escape the truth: the city that embodied their entire culture lay in ruins. Nearly 900 years of Hebrew history vanished...nearly 500 years of great kings disappeared. FINALITY: Temple—GONE...Priesthood—GONE...Sacrifices—GONE...Homes—GONE. And the most horrifying news...DAVID’S DYNASTY—GONE!
Jeremiah’s eyewitness account of the end packs the pathos of his loss: rubble-strewn streets, buildings gutted, flattened, fires-burning unattended, forlorn people wandering everywhere, famished without caring, naked without shame, LOST in the CITY DESOLATE by being abandoned by GOD. End Part II