As I was reading Ezekiel today, I paused when I read this verse.

“‘And if the prophet is enticed to utter a prophecy, I the Lord have enticed that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel.”

Ezekiel 14:9 (NIV)

The context here deals with hypocrites. We first read about them here.

“Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all?”

Ezekiel 14:3 (NIV)

The Lord goes on to tell Ezekiel how he will handle their inquiries. 

“‘When any of the Israelites or any foreigner residing in Israel separate themselves from me and set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet to inquire of me, I the Lord will answer them myself. I will set my face against them and make them an example and a byword. I will remove them from my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord” (emphasis added).

Ezekiel 14:7-8 (NIV)

It would seem that, in verse 9, the Lord is telling Ezekiel that any prophet who gives an answer to one of these hypocritical people was led to do so by the Lord. The same Lord who will destroy the same prophet for giving the answer. Does that seem right or fair, or is something else happening? Let’s take a look at this verse from the Amplified Bible.

“But if the prophet [who speaks without My authority] is enticed to speak a word [of his own], it is I the Lord who have caused that prophet [to speak falsely to please the inquirer, thus allowing himself to be a party to the inquirer’s sin], and I will stretch out My hand against him and destroy him from among My people Israel.

Ezekiel 14:9 (AMP)

I think the Amplified Bible makes the situation clearer. The prophet who gives a word does so without the Lord’s permission and gives his own word. This prophet tells the person who asked the question what they want to hear instead of what the Lord says. There’s still an issue of the Lord enticing the prophet, though, isn’t there?

Let’s step back and consider something. These prophets knew the will of the Lord, and so did the people inquiring of them. At least they knew they should be following the Lord and no one else. Yet, the people had “idols in their hearts.” This means they didn’t follow the Lord but chose to go their own way. Therefore, instead of forcing himself on them, God allowed them to go their own way and suffer the consequences. We saw this thing with the Pharaoh of Egypt when the Lord sent Moses to free the Israelites. 

But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses.

Exodus 9:12 (NIV)

We also saw something similar with Ahab.

“‘By what means?’ the Lord asked.”‘ I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “‘ You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’

1 Kings 22:22 (NIV)

We can also read about this sort of thing in the New Testament.

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 (NIV)

God doesn’t force himself onto anyone. However, he has allowed everyone to choose between damnation and salvation. Romans gives this insight into God’s word and how it has been deposited into everyone’s heart.

For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them (emphasis added)).

Romans 2:13-15 (NIV)

God has deposited his word into everyone’s heart. Therefore, when God calls us, we have a choice to respond to the calling of God in our hearts or to turn away and follow our desires. In this way, even Pharaoh had a choice to follow a righteous path or his own.

The best way I can see to describe the process is like this. If someone is sick and they’re given medication that will heal them but choose not to take that medication, they will succumb to the effects of the illness. Whose fault is it if the person succumbs to the illness? Is it the person who supplied the medication, or is it the person who chose not to take it? Salvation is no different. The disease is sin that leads to death, and the cure is salvation, which can be found nowhere else but through Christ Jesus. 

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.