If the shear volume of words, and the number of times something is repeated is an indicator of certainty, then that God was going to judge Jerusalem was without dispute. And nothing was going to prevent it. The nation had stepped over the line. They had so hardened their hearts, they had so set their affections on other gods, they had so bought into the lies of false prophets, that the only way they were ever going to look up again, and know that God is the LORD, was to be knocked down. There would be no deliverance, not even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in their midst.
And the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, when a land sins against Me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out My hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord GOD . . . even if these three men were in it, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters. They alone would be delivered, but the land would be desolate.” (Ezekiel 14:12-14, 16 ESV)
In Ezekiel 14:12-23, God says He will send four “disastrous acts of judgment” upon Jerusalem, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence. And four times He declares that even if such men of faith and righteousness as Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the midst of the city they could but only deliver themselves . . . they could not deliver even one son or daughter of someone else.
Noah, because of reverent fear and a divine plan of escape ,was able to save His family (Hebrews 11:7). Daniel, because of divine insight to a crazy king’s dream, was able to deliver from a death sentence the wise men of Babylon (Daniel 2). Job interceded for his faux friends and God accepted Job’s prayer and relented from dealing with his coarse comforters according to their folly (Job 42:8-9). But though they all lived in Jerusalem, though the accumulated godliness of such a powerful triumvirate were present in the city, “they would neither deliver sons or daughters.”
And what comes to mind as I think about the inability for three godly men’s righteousness to cover the sin of even one other, is the sin-covering righteous of the Man, Christ Jesus, sufficient for, and available to, all who believe.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one mans trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one Man Jesus Christ abounded for many. . . . Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one mans disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one Mans obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:15-, 18-19 ESV)
What undeserved favor that God would send within the midst of our rebellious Jerusalem One whose righteousness IS ABLE to deliver. What out of this world love that such deliverance was accomplished as He who knew no sin became sin for us and took upon Himself the just judgment of God which we deserved. What infinite compassion that such rescue is offered to all men and women through the quiet, patient, persistent wooing of God’s Holy Spirit.
Noah, Daniel, Job . . . mighty men of faith, but unable to deliver even one soul. Jesus the Christ . . . blessed Son of God able to deliver another. And to save to the uttermost all who believe (Heb. 7:25).
Blessed redeemer. Fountain of overflowing grace. All for the Father’s eternal glory.
To Him be praise forever! Amen?