The glory of Yahweh leaves Jerusalem (Ezek 11:22-11:23)

“Then the cherubim

Lifted up

Their wings,

With the wheels

Beside them.

The glory

Of the God of Israel

Was above them.

The glory of Yahweh

Ascended

From the middle of the city.

The glory of Yahweh

Stopped on the mountain

East of the city.”

Now we return to Ezekiel, the cherubim, and the glory of Yahweh. The cherubim have their wings and wheels as before. However, the glory of God or his presence left Jerusalem. The glory of the God of Israel stopped on a mountain east of the city, probably the Mount of Olives. Yahweh was no longer in his beloved city of Jerusalem.

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The weakness of these false idol gods (Bar 6:36-6:40)

“These gods cannot

Save anyone

From death.

They cannot rescue

The weak

From the strong.

They cannot

Restore sight

To the blind.

They cannot

Rescue anyone

Who is in distress.

They cannot

Take pity

On a widow.

They cannot

Do good

To an orphan.

These things

Made of wood,

Overlaid with gold

Or silver,

Are like stones

From the mountain.

Those who serve them

Will be put to shame.

Why then must

Anyone think

That they are gods?

Why call them gods?”

This diatribe against false gods continued with an attempt to show how impotent these gods are, since they cannot save anyone from death. They cannot rescue the weak from the strong. They cannot restore sight to the blind. They cannot rescue anyone in distress. They cannot take pity on a widow nor do any good for an orphan. They are made of wood, covered with gold or silver, like stones from a mountain. They cannot help those who worship them. They will be put to shame. How can anyone think that they are gods or call them gods? They are useless.

The threat of the imminent exile (Jer 13:15-13:17)

“Hear!

Give ear!

Do not be haughty!

Yahweh has spoken.

Give glory to Yahweh!

Your God!

Before he brings darkness.

Give glory to Yahweh!

Your God!

Before your feet stumble

On the mountains at twilight.

While you look for light

He turns it into gloom.

He makes it deep darkness.

But if you will not listen,

My soul will weep in secret

For your pride.

My eyes will weep bitterly.

Tears will run down my cheeks

Because Yahweh’s flock

Has been taken captive.”

Jeremiah talks about an imminent captivity. They seem to have one last chance to listen to the words of Yahweh and not be proud. They would have to give glory to Yahweh, their God. Otherwise their feet would stumble as if they were on a mountain at twilight. The light was soon going to turn to darkness and gloom. If they did not listen to God, then Jeremiah would weep in secret because of their pride. He would weep bitterly with tears running down his cheeks, because they were going to be taken into captivity.

The refusal of the Israelites (Isa 30:15-30:17)

“Thus said Yahweh God,

The Holy One of Israel.

‘In returning

You shall be saved.

In rest,

You shall be saved.

Your strength is in quietness.

Your strength is in trust.

But you refused.

You said.

‘No!

We will flee upon horses.’

Therefore you shall flee!

‘We will ride upon swift steeds.’

Therefore your pursuers shall be swift!

A thousand shall flee

At the threat of one.

At the threat of five,

You shall flee,

Until you are left

Like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,

Like a signal on a hill.”

This oracle of Isaiah has both titles, Yahweh God and the Holy One of Israel. Yahweh shows the Israelites how they can be saved. They have to be quiet in a trustful rest, which would then be their strength. However, they refused. They wanted to get on their fast horses and ride away. However, Yahweh reminded them that their pursuers had swift horses also. These combatants will chase them until they become like a flagpole on the top or a mountain or a signal on the top of the hill. They should have stayed quiet and relied on trusting Yahweh, not their fast horses.

Confidence in Yahweh (Ps 11:1-11:3)

To the choirmaster leader, of David.

‘In Yahweh I take refuge.

How can you say to me?

‘Flee like a bird to the mountains!

Look!

The wicked bend the bow!

They have fitted their arrows to the string,

They shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.

If the foundations are destroyed,

What can the righteous do?’”

Once again in Psalm 11, the theme of confidence dominates. The opening remarks are only to the choirmaster leader as this is a generic psalm of David. David or the psalmist takes refuge in Yahweh. Are you really safe if you fly to a mountain like a bird? The faithful ones are often compared to birds. Mountains were considered a safe place. However, the problem was more immediate as the wicked ones had their bow and arrows ready to shoot at them. They could shoot in the dark. What can the righteous ones do?