“The word of the Lord came again to me, saying: ‘Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,’ says the Lord God.”
Basically, even these three great men of faith couldn’t intercede for the people at this point; they would only save themselves by their righteousness. The multitudes are not saved by the righteousness of a few. We saw this in the days of Noah. Each individual will be judged based on their heart, whether or not they have a heart of stone or a heart of flesh transformed by the power of the Lord.
The Lord compares Jerusalem to a useless vine. The people believed that the Lord wouldn’t judge them because they were His chosen people so the Lord says “Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so I will give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will set My face against them. They will go out from one fire, but another fire shall devour them. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I set My face against them. Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have persisted in unfaithfulness,’ says the Lord God.”
God also compares Jerusalem to an unfaithful wife. He says He cared for her from her birth through His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and He raised her, clothing her in fine linens and jewels. However, Jerusalem is guilty of several things:
- “you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame”
- “you have slain My children and offered them up to [Molech] by causing them to pass through the fire”
- “you built for yourself a shrine, and made a high place for yourself on every street”
- “you committed harlotry with the Egyptians, your very fleshly neighbors, and increased your acts of harlotry to provoke Me to anger.”
- “you multiplied your acts of harlotry as far as the land of the trader, Chaldea; and even then you were not satisfied”
God tells Jerusalem that she has become like her older sister, the corrupt capital of Northern Israel, Samaria, that was destroyed by the Assyrians about one hundred and thirty years before the fall of Jerusalem. The Lord goes on to say that Jerusalem is even worse than her older, Sodom, whom the Lord destroyed by fire back in the Patriarch Era. The Lord brought judgment upon the cities of Samaria and Sodom, and He is doing the same to Jerusalem. Later in the Story Jesus will also use the comparison to Sodom when speaking about the judgment that will come upon those who reject Him. He will say it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for the ones who reject Him (Matthew 10:15, Matthew 11:24).
However, despite the judgment, the Lord says He will never forget His covenant that He made with Israel and the promise of the new covenant under Christ- “Nevertheless I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed, when you receive your older and your younger sisters; for I will give them to you for daughters, but not because of My covenant with you. And I will establish My covenant with you. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, that you may remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth anymore because of your shame, when I provide you an atonement for all you have done.”