Saturday, December 18, 2010
The Lord Rewards Unbelievers for Their Unwitting Service to Him
"In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: 'Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made his army labor hard against Tyre. Every head was made bald, and every shoulder was rubbed bare, yet neither he nor his army got anything from Tyre to pay for the labor that he had performed against her. Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and he shall carry off its wealth and despoil it and plunder it; and it shall be the wages for his army. I have given him the land of Egypt as his payment for which he labored, because they worked for Me, declares the Lord God.'"
- Ezekiel 29:17-20
The background here is that God had declared His judgment against the pagan city of Tyre. In the execution of that judgment, He had called Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian King, an unbeliever, and his army to conquer and destroy Tyre (see Ezekiel 27).
Even though Nebuchadnezzar was unwitting in his God-given role, and would certainly have rebelled against it if he had been conscious of it, God acknowledges this role, and gives him suzerainty over Egypt as a reward.
I think that there is a part of every man's soul that recoils at the thought of God's giving a blessing to a rank unbeliever, even if it is far short of salvation. And even more so, the heart of natural man recoils at the thought of even an unbeliever's serving the purposes of God! The natural man loves to believe that he is self-sovereign, unless he chooses to submit to God. This view is shared by free-will versions of professing Christianity, as well. Yet, Ezekiel reveals the error of human self-sovereignty!