Ezekiel 5 … Consider Him Who Preserves His Remnant

Take also a few in number from them and bind them in the edges of your robes,” (5:3).

God’s precise instructions to Ezekiel continue. He is to shave all his hair, measure it in thirds, and do with each measured section according to the Lord’s direction: one third to be burned in the fire, one third to be struck with a sword, and one third to be scattered.

As way of reminder, Ezekiel is prophesying to the exiles who were taken captive during the first siege, and are now in Babylon, but still hoping Jerusalem would be left unscathed.

Those left in Jerusalem under the rule of Zedekiah, had continually rebelled and rejected God’s counsel to cooperate with Babylonian rule, persistent in their rejection of God’s Word sent through His prophet, Jeremiah, time and time again. And now God sends His Sign through His prophet, Ezekiel, proclaiming His wrath that would surely be poured out, leaving Jerusalem exactly as He had spoken in His zeal and leaving no room for doubt that He alone is the Lord.

“Thus My anger will be spent and I will satisfy My wrath on them, and I will be appeased; then they will know that I, the Lord, have spoken in My zeal when I have spent My wrath upon them,” (5:13).

When God speaks of His zeal, He is speaking of His righteous and holy passion that jealously guards His people and His purpose.

Zeal “7068. קִנְאָה qinʾāh: A feminine noun meaning zeal, jealousy. This word comes from the verb qānāʾ (7065), meaning to be jealous or zealous, and describes an intense fervor, passion, and emotion… Most often, however, this word describes God’s zeal, which will accomplish His purpose (2 Kgs. 19:31; Isa. 9:7[6]; 37:32); and will be the instrument of His wrath in judgment (Ps. 79:5; Ezek. 36:5, 6; Zeph. 3:8),” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

God had called a people unto Himself and brought them to the Promised Land to fulfill His Promise to Abraham, and to be a witness to the surrounding nations, that they too may come to know His blessings.

Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed,” (Genesis 12:1-3).

And as further witness to the nations on how to relate and approach an Almighty and Holy God, and to fulfill His Covenant with His servant, David, the Lord, the God of Israel, chose Jerusalem as His established dwelling place.

He said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who spoke with His mouth to my father David and has fulfilled it with His hands, saying, ‘Since the day that I brought My people from the land of Egypt, I did not choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man for a leader over My people Israel; but I have chosen Jerusalem that My name might be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel,’” (2 Chronicles 6:4-6).

Chosen as the place of His dwelling and set at the center of the nations, because of their duplicity and rebellion, Jerusalem is now chosen as the place of His wrath and set at the center of His zealous fury.

“Thus says the Lord God, ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations, with lands around her, (5:5).

“After wordlessly acting out the symbols (beginning in 4:1), Ezekiel received and probably related the divine explanations. God had chosen for His people Israel and for His earthly temple a place at the crossroads of the continents of Africa, Asia and Europe so that Israel and what He does for them might be a strong witness to the nations that He is the one and only God with whom all peoples have to do and from Whom alone come life and blessing. This made Israel’s responsibility and judgments all the more severe,” NIV Study Bible.

The people who had so casually disregarded God’s holiness and their responsibility to be His witness, who had given their attention and allegiance to the false prophets, now found themselves lulled into the dangerous plight of believing that because they were God’s chosen people, they would be kept secure apart from faith and faithfulness.

But one must never trifle with the zeal and holiness of God; and He would indeed send His wrath. And while we must not ignore the fate of the persistently rebellious, we are ever reminded that He always accomplishes all that He has spoken; therefore, He Preserves His Remnant, symbolically portrayed as Ezekiel tucked a few of the hairs in the edges of his robe

Take also a few in number from them and bind them in the edges of your robes,” (5:3).

Consider Him Who Preserves His Remnant

“Thou shall also take thereof a few in number
These are they that were left in the land of Judea by Nebuzaradan, for vinedressers and husbandmen, and such as returned out of Egypt into the land of Judah, Jeremiah 44:28: “Those who escape the sword will return out of the land of Egypt to the land of Judah few in number. Then all the remnant of Judah who have gone to the land of Egypt to reside there will know whose word will stand, Mine or theirs.
…and bind them in thy skirts;
in the pockets of them; signifying both the very small number of them, and their preservation,” Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible.

God had revealed His plan to Preserve His Remnant some 150 years earlier through His prophet, Isaiah.

“Your land is desolate,
Your cities are burned with fire,
Your fields—strangers are devouring them in your presence;
It is desolation, as overthrown by strangers.
The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard,
Like a watchman’s hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city.
Unless the Lord of hosts
Had left us a few survivors,
We would be like Sodom,
We would be like Gomorrah,:
(Isaiah 1:7-9).

And He reiterated His plan to Preserve His Remnant again when He sent Isaiah to King Hezekiah.

“‘The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 31 For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the Lord will perform this,” (2 Kings 19:30).

And through Isaiah He continued to call His people to repentance as He reminded them again and again that only a Remnant would be Preserved. But all those who survived as His Remnant would then be so blessed as to live in complete reliance upon Him Who Preserves His Remnant.

“Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.
21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.
22 For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea,
Only a remnant within them will return;
A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness,”
(Isaiah 10:20-22).

And ultimately, He would Preserve His Remnant, the few who would find His Narrow Way to eternal life through faith in His Son.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it,” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,” (John 14:6).

How do we respond to Him Who Preserves His Remnant?

It’s not easy to think of only a few coming to find eternal life, but as He revealed through Ezekiel, and as Jesus said, it is so.

Take also a few in number from them and bind them in the edges of your robes,” (5:3).

“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it,” (Matthew 7:14).

And though few may find His Way, Jesus demonstrated His heart for the lost and His desire to Preserve His Remnant as He came to seek and save the lost.

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost,” (Luke 19:10).

Yes, He Preserves His Remnant, but Scripture reveals that His heart for the lost has always been…

…that all would turn to Him and be saved.

“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
For I am God, and there is no other,”
(Isaiah 45:22).

…that whoever believes would not perish but have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life,” (John 3:16).

…that all would come to the knowledge of the truth.

…God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

…that all would come to repentance.

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance, (2 Peter 3:9).

…that those who hear and recognize their thirst would take the water of life without cost.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost,” (Revelation 22:17).

Let us ask Him to grow our zeal and desire for the lost to come to repentance, that we would daily be on mission with Him as we prayerfully seek the lost and look for opportunities to share His heart and the hope of eternal life through His Way, His Narrow Way that few find.

Oh, may we never ignore the destiny of the lost as we live in the blessings of our salvation. Let us ask Him to conform our heart’s desire to His, that He would use us wherever He sends us to teach His commands and make disciples, that others would also hear His call to become the few, to believe and obey through faith, to be Preserved as His Remnant.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:18-20).

Let us be diligent to answer His heart’s call as we depend in faith on the power of His Holy Spirit to be His witnesses; and perhaps through our witness, He will add to His Remnant He Preserves for all of eternity.

“but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth,” (Acts 1:8).

Let’s Grow Together!

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