even though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,” declares the Lord God. (14:14).
Oh, the message is clear and is repeated four times as God emphasizes His Truth in naming three righteous men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, each who had found the favor of God through faith. And though they had been declared righteous by God, they would never be able to be the Righteous Deliverer His people need.
Out of curiosity, I did a little digging and discovered the possible reasons these three were the ones God chose to spotlight:
These three are selected, doubtless, not only as examples of eminent holiness themselves, but as men who had been allowed to be the means of saving others. For Noah’s sake his whole family had been spared (Genesis 6:18); Daniel was the means of saving his companions (Daniel 2:17-18); and Job’s friends had been spared in consequence of his intercession (Job 42:7-8)… The mention of Daniel, a contemporary of Ezekiel, with the ancient patriarchs, Noah and Job, need occasion no surprise… Ezekiel was a captive among the captives; Daniel had now been for about twelve years in important office at the royal court, and possessed of the very highest rank… and it has been well said that there was need of the mention of a contemporary to bring out the thought—were there in Jerusalem the most holy men of either past or present times it would avail nothing. Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
Some have thought it strange that Daniel, a contemporary, and still young, should have been classed with the two ancient worthies. But the account of him (Daniel 2) shows, that by this time Daniel was a very remarkable man (compare Ezekiel 28:3), and the introduction of the name of a contemporary gives force and life to the illustration. Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
And this portion of Ezekiel’s prophecy begins by directly addressing those who lived as the absolute antithesis of the three faithful men of faith, confronting the elders who should have led by example, but instead were led by the idols they had set up in their hearts, idols that would lead to their demise. And the idols they held dear in their hearts would exclude them from the privilege of approaching Holy God.
Then some elders of Israel came to me and sat down before me. 2 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 3 “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all?” (14:1-3).
God’s people had let go of the reality that they were created to be in relationship with the Creator and to worship Him, and the iniquity in their heart had caused a great divide between Holy God and sinful man. And He Himself would confront them with the fatality of their condition in order to lay hold of their hearts with Truth.
“…I the Lord will be brought to give him an answer in the matter in view of the multitude of his idols, 5 in order to lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel who are estranged from Me through all their idols,” (14:4-5).
And once again, we hear God’s Grace in His appeal to a rebellious people to repent and turn away from all their abominations.
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Repent and turn away from your idols and turn your faces away from all your abominations,” (14:6).
The people of Judah were nationalists and prided themselves in their heritage as the chosen people of God. They held their patriarchs in high regard, claiming every blessing conferred upon the notable men of old and believing they were safe; after all, their Deliverance was a given birth-right, or so they erroneously believed.
But again, God was making it clear, no man will bear the responsibility for another, for no man can. And no man can bear the responsibility for himself, for the iniquity in his heart disqualifies him. God’s Righteous Justice will be wrought in His punishment and each person will bear responsibility. None would be punished for another’s sins, and none would be granted immunity through another’s righteousness. And for those who would turn away from idols and turn to Him in faith, there would cleansing and restoration.
They will bear the punishment of their iniquity; as the iniquity of the inquirer is, so the iniquity of the prophet will be, 11 in order that the house of Israel may no longer stray from Me and no longer defile themselves with all their transgressions. Thus they will be My people, and I shall be their God,”’ declares the Lord God.” (14:10-11).
And four times God repeats Himself: Pay attention Judah, for your hope is not in man.
“even though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,” declares the Lord God,” (14:14).
“though these three men were in its midst, as I live,” declares the Lord God, “they could not deliver either their sons or their daughters. They alone would be delivered, but the country would be desolate,” (14:16).
“even though these three men were in its midst, as I live,” declares the Lord God, “they could not deliver either their sons or their daughters, but they alone would be delivered,” (14:18).
“even though Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, as I live,” declares the Lord God, “they could not deliver either their son or their daughter. They would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” (14:20).
And with no one able to rescue them, they were destined for severe and deadly judgment.
“For thus says the Lord God, “How much more when I send My four severe judgments against Jerusalem: sword, famine, wild beasts and plague to cut off man and beast from it!” (14:21).
And while there is absolutely not one human being, not even the most righteous one who is able to Deliver us from the iniquity in our hearts, there is One Who promised He Is Able, only One Who is Our Righteous Deliverer.
Consider Him, Our Righteous Deliverer
- He is Our Righteous Deliverer and there is no other.
- “See now that I, I am He,
And there is no god besides Me;
It is I who put to death and give life.
I have wounded and it is I who heal,
And there is no one who can deliver from My hand,” (Deuteronomy 32:39).
- “See now that I, I am He,
- Our Righteous Deliverer, our only Savior.
- “You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“And My servant whom I have chosen,
So that you may know and believe Me
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
And there will be none after Me.
11 “I, even I, am the Lord,
And there is no savior besides Me.
12 “It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed,
And there was no strange god among you;
So you are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“And I am God.
13 “Even from eternity I am He,
And there is none who can deliver out of My hand;
I act and who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:10-13).
- “You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
- Our Righteous Deliverer, and there is salvation in no one else.
- And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved, (Acts 4:12).
- He is Our Righteous Deliverer, and because He is perfectly Righteous, He alone can declare us righteous.
- Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1 HCSB)
- He is Our Righteous Deliverer Who became sin that we would become Righteous.
- He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him, (2 Corinthians 5:21).
- He is Our Righteous Deliverer, and through faith in His shed blood, He delivers us from every power of darkness that we would become a part of His Kingdom forever.
- He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, (Colossians 1:13 NKJV).
How do we respond to Him, Our Righteous Deliverer?
The people of Judah thought because they were descendants of Abraham their Deliverance was a sure thing. But His Deliverance has always been for those who believe His Promise and trust that He alone would be Our Righteous Deliverer.
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:29).
And as the saying goes, God does not have grandchildren; and this is emphatically corroborated in today’s chapter. We cannot deliver our children, nor can our parents be our deliverers. We do not come into God’s kingdom through association with our church or birth-right through our family; for Jesus Himself told us that every man must be born again through faith in Him, Our Righteous Deliverer.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God… 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” (John 3:3, 6).
Our first response must be to examine our faith. Are we trying to earn our way to God through our own efforts, through doing “good things” or have we been born again through believing Jesus Christ is Our Righteous Deliverer?
“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).
Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1 HCSB)
And if we have escaped His Judgment and have been declared righteous through faith in Christ, are we trying to live our life through our own self-righteous efforts, through doing “good things” or are we depending on Him, Our Righteous Deliverer to sanctify us by His Spirit and faith in His Truth?
But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth, (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
Oh, may we never fall into the foolish trap of thinking we can do life apart from Him, Our Righteous Deliverer. After all, that is what got the people of Judah into such a God-less mess.
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Galatians 3:3).
Lord Jesus, we humbly acknowledge that our pride will surely lead us into idolatry, to worship the gods of our own making, of works and self-righteousness, of self and pleasure. Please forgive us. We want to learn from history so as to not wander from Your Truth, that we would dwell in the security of Your Kingdom. We thank You for our salvation and sanctification. Holy Spirit, lead us we pray, to walk in Your Truth, that we would cling to Your Word and see our need each and every day for You, Our Righteous Deliverer.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (Galatians 5:6).