“So you shall know that I am the LORD”
The above phrase occurs so often in Ezekiel. For example, chapters 28, 29 and 30 all conclude with these words. In today’s chapter 32 it occurs in verse 15 after predicting the downfall and disgrace of Egypt where the remnant of the people from Jerusalem had gone for safety, taking a reluctant Jeremiah with them (Jeremiah 43).
Egypt had been a great nation for centuries as archaeology shows – and we particularly remember the experience of Joseph. So what does this phrase mean? I concluded that it means that events prove that those who know and listen to the words that the prophets utter in the name of the Lord – the one and only God – will know that he is the only Lord and he means what he says. We can therefore see that the fulfilment of God’s words in the past – and how they gave confidence and faith to those who took serious notice of his words.
Today’s chapter lists all the great nations that had come and gone – and Egypt was to join them in obscurity. Some we know, like Assyria (verses 22,23), some we are not so sure of the detail about, like Elam and Edom. It is interesting that Meshech gets a mention (verse 26) as a nation of the past – before Ezekiel’s time. To equate this name with Moscow, as some have, a city which did not come into existence until 1,500 years later, seems totally unreasonable.
One could compile an up-to-date list of Empires that have come and gone. The Roman Empire became nominally Christian in the third Century but perished in its own corruption 200 years later. And what of the British Empire, the Spanish, and so on? Human Empires come and go, but when God’s ‘Empire’ is established over all the earth then ALL people “will know” – but it will be of no special benefit to those who do not “know … the LORD” now! Indeed it may well be a disaster to many!
God also causes the prophet Joel to paint this picture of the future, “The LORD roars from Zion … the heavens and the earth quake. But the LORD is a refuge to his people … so you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it” (3:16,17). It is also inspiring to ponder the words of Zechariah 10:6!
Those who KNOW their God now will have an eternal role in His service from that time.