2021-7-20

以西结书Ezekiel 11:1-25 (Please scroll down for English)

  成语“冥顽不灵”,出自韩愈《祭鳄鱼文》,曰:“不然,则是鳄鱼冥顽不灵,刺史虽有言,不闻不知也。”今人醉心电玩等新奇玩意,已不怎知晓古人遗风了。所幸者,犹有出土文物如阿庆嫂与我学生等食古不化辈,虽非书不读秦汉以降,偶尔怀古,亦“足以极视听之娱,信可乐也”焉。

  这句子中,韩愈他老人家在咧咧些甚么呢?好说。原来蠢货鳄鱼秉性凶猛,但对于负责检查监督那位朝廷刺史的高论,却是听而不闻,闻而不解。此谓之“冥顽不灵“者。

  鳄鱼冥顽不灵,也就罢了,它本身就没有灵么。但以色列人背叛神,对先知的话语置若罔闻,那可真的是冥顽不灵,所谓“先知虽有言,不闻不知也”了。所以,神指导先知以西结以各种看来怪异左右侧卧,绳索捆锁、粪焙麦饼、剃头烧须等等,以期引起以色列人注意他们当中有神的先知。以色列人背离神,至此可谓铁石心肠。
记得约拿的传道么?他只不过“进城走了一日,宣告说,再等四十日,尼尼微必倾覆了。”便得到“尼尼微人信服神,便宣告禁食,从最大的到至小的,都穿麻衣。这信息传到尼尼微王的耳中,他就下了宝座,脱下朝服,披上麻布,坐在灰中。他又使人遍告尼尼微通城,说,王和大臣有令,人不可尝什么,牲畜,牛羊不可吃草,也不可喝水。人与牲畜都当披上麻布,人要切切求告神。各人回头离开所行的恶道,丢弃手中的强暴。”(拿3)约拿大概可恭列历史上最伟大的布道家之一,(荣耀归于差派他的神)但同是神的先知,以西结向神的选民宣告悔改,却是受尽磨难,因为人心已经邪恶到冥顽不灵的地步了,“先知虽有言,不闻不知也”。还有救么?

  有。神启示摩西说:“耶和华,耶和华,是有怜悯有恩典的神,不轻易发怒,并有丰盛的慈爱和诚实。为千万人存留慈爱,赦免罪孽,过犯,和罪恶,万不以有罪的为无罪,必追讨他的罪,自父及子,直到三,四代。”在细数了犹大的罪恶过犯和公义的审判后,他告诉先知:“耶和华如此说,我虽将以色列全家远远迁移到列国中,将他们分散在列邦内,我还要在他们所到的列邦,暂作他们的圣所。”(16)神是又鞭打、又缠裹的神,他的公义,不容罪恶,他的慈爱,永远长存。人算什么?“不过是尘土”(诗103:14),但“得赦免其过,遮盖其罪的,这人是有福的。”(诗32:1)神的选民是有福的。神告诉先知如此向被掳的民宣告:“你当说,主耶和华如此说,我必从万民中招聚你们,从分散的列国内聚集你们,又要将以色列地赐给你们。他们必到那里,也必从其中除掉一切可憎可厌的物。我要使他们有合一的心,也要将新灵放在他们里面,又从他们肉体中除掉石心,赐给他们肉心,使他们顺从我的律例,谨守遵行我的典章。他们要作我的子民,我要作他们的神。”(17-20)为自己的名,神要拯救以色列。

  想像我们自己,今天,虽非被掳而去国,但春节的桃花,端午的鼓响、中秋的明月、重阳的红紫、数九的飞雪,数十年挥之不去,因而偶有“此生谁料,心在天山,身老沧州”的陆游吟,不知阁下作何如想?今天虽半生已矣,更无意苏武牧羊,但遥想冥顽的地土,千百年抗拒真神拜假神,罪大了去。但主的救恩不可抗拒,救恩已临到中华。神不离弃冥顽不灵的以色列,神和主耶稣也必不离弃海棠叶上“口里认耶稣为主,心里信神叫他从死里复活”的选民。

  神差遣先知以西结,主耶稣以“天上地下所有的权柄”差遣我们。我们的回应是:“我在这里,请差遣我。” 即使,那里“有荆棘和蒺藜在你那里,你又住在蝎子中间”,“总不要怕”(2:6)。神吩咐说。    — David Yip

Ezekiel 11:1-25

  An ancient Chinese folklore teases a senseless crocodile to be ignorant of the government official announcement, concluding that the crocodile was “illiterate and unwise”. As a classic, the prose has been populated ever since the Tang Dynasty.

  Indeed, crocodile, the specie itself, is no doubt illiterate and unwise. For the creature is nothing more than instinct-driven reptile. When the people of Israel rebelled against God, they were completely senseless to the oracles of God spoken by the prophets, and they were truly illiterate and unwise. They were so stubborn that God had to direct Ezekiel the prophet with the many different gestures, in order to draw attention from the people and remind them that there were prophets in Israel. We remember Jonah the prophet. Only when he “on the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: ‘Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.’” He yielded fruitfully, for “The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.” Perhaps Jonah can be thought of as the greatest evangelist in Christian mission history. Same as the prophet of God, however, Ezekiel urged the people of Israel to repent, but they mistreated him. Is there any hope for such a corrupted people? Yes.

  ”The LORD, the LORD“, God thus revealed himself to Moses, “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” After listing the many sins and transgressions of Judah and the righteous judgments, he told the prophet, “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’” (16), God is the God who whips and heals, he is jealous of sins, yet his love endures forever. What is man? Dust we are; (Psalm 104:14) but “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” (Psalm 32:1) Blessed is God’s chosen. Through the prophet God declared, “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again. They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.’”(17-20) for his name’s sake, God will rescue Israel.

  Comparing the situation to that of China, generations our ancestors rejected the call from the above to repent and return to God. On one hand it seems to be a deserted land for hope, but the grace and salvation of God, one the other hand, is irresistible. From the countless many young Christians participating in my remote classes with hearts of thirstiness to the heavenly truth, we do see the dawning of salvation, laminating its radiance on that dark and slumbering land in the East. For since God does not give up Israel, he will not give up those who confess with their mouths, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in their hearts that God raised him from the dead, (Rom 10:9) his chosen in his timeless plan of salvation.

  God sent Ezekiel the prophet. Likewise, Lord Jesus, with “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matt 28:18) in hand, is sending us today. He is expecting our response, “Send me Lord, I am here.” Be not afraid, Jesus says, “though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions.”(2:6)   — David Yip

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