E Z E K I E L.
Perhaps, in reading some of the foregoing
chapters, we may have been tempted to think ourselves not much
concerned in them (though they also were written for our learning);
but this chapter, at first view, appears highly and nearly to
concern us all, very highly, very nearly; for, without particular
reference to Judah and Jerusalem, it lays down the rule of judgment
according to which God will deal with the children of men in
determining them to their everlasting state, and it agrees with
that very ancient rule laid down, Gen.
iv. 7, "If though doest well, shalt thou not be
accepted?" But, "if not, sin," the punishment of sin,"lies at the
door." Here is, I. The corrupt proverb used by the profane Jews,
which gave occasion to the message here sent them, and made it
necessary for the justifying of God in his dealings with them,
ver. 1-3. II. The reply
given to this proverb, in which God asserts in general his own
sovereignty and justice, ver.
4. Woe to the wicked; it shall be ill with them,
ver. 4, 20. But say to
the righteous, It shall be well with them, ver.
5-9. In particular, as to the case complained of, he
assures us, 1. That it shall be ill with a wicked man, though he
had a good father, ver.
10-13. 2. That it shall be well with a good man, though
he had a wicked father, ver.
14-18. And therefore in this God is righteous, ver. 19, 20. 3. That it shall be
well with penitents, though they began ever so ill, ver. 21-23 and 27, 28. 4.
That it shall be ill with apostates, though they began ever so
well, ver. 24, 26. And
the use of all this is, (1.) To justify God and clear the equity of
all his proceedings, ver. 25,
29. (2.) To engage and encourage us to repent of our
sins and turn to God, ver.
30-32. And these are things which belong to our
everlasting peace. O that we may understand and regard them before
they be hidden from our eyes!