The King Behind the Puppet Ruler

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), August 25

UnknownThe tiny nation of Tyre touched the world through its shipping yards, “Tarshish was your merchant because of your many luxury goods. They gave you silver, iron, tin, and lead for your goods. Javan, Tubal, and Meshech were your traders . . . those from the house of Togarmah traded for your wares . . . the men of Dedan were your traders . . . Syria was your merchant . . . Judah and the land of Israel were your traders” (Ez. 27:12-17). Many other nations joined in: Damascus, Dan, Arabia, Sheba and Raamah, Haran, Canneh and Eden. The world came to Tyre’s docks to trade. No wonder the ruler had such an exalted opinion of himself and his nation.

The ruler of Tyre ascribes the success of his tiny nation to his wisdom: “‘Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god” (Ez. 28:6). Little does he know that he is simply a puppet ruler of a spiritual king. The LORD therefore instructs Ezekiel to pronounce judgment against Tyre’s ruler, “The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, ‘Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, “Thus says the LORD God: ‘Because your heart is lifted up, and you say, “I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, in the midst of the seas . . .”’”’” (Ez. 28:1-2).

Ezekiel sees both the ruler of Tyre—the puppet governor—and the king and kingdom behind Tyre’s greatness, “The world of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him: “Thus says the LORD God: ‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God’”’” (28:11-13). Behind Tyre’s worldwide influence stands the masquerader himself, the clever serpent who entered the garden of Eden to take, by trickery, the dominion God had given to man. He now disburses that dominion to whomever He pleases—to rulers join forces with him in pride.

Since the Fall, two sources of wisdom have been revealed in Scripture: the serpent’s wisdom, offered through the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and God’s wisdom, manifested through His promise of redemption and the substitutionary death of the innocent on behalf of the guilty. God’s wisdom was especially highlighted during the Kingdom Era under Solomon’s reign, when the world came to Jerusalem to see the place where God had bestowed His Name and glory, and to marvel at the wisdom God had granted Solomon. Sadly, Solomon’s idolatry diminished the worldwide influence of his wisdom and his nation. The world was bereft of that wisdom until God’s wisdom was revealed, exalted, and incarnated in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, “who became for us wisdom from God” (1 Cor. 1:30).

Behind every proud man who thinks that he may do as he pleases stands a tyrant-king and a powerful spiritual kingdom. That king, however, will “become a horror, and shall be no more forever” (28:19).

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Ez. 26:15-28:26; 2 Kings 25:3-7; Jer. 52:6-11; 32:2-10):
What does the pronounced judgment against Trye reveal about God and arrogant nations?
What does the LORD promise Ezekiel that He will do for the house of Israel?
Review Deuteronomy 28:49-59. Describe the conditions in Jerusalem during the Babylonian siege. How does the king of Babylon treat the king of Judah when Jerusalem finally fell into his hands?