TODAY’S READING: EZEKIEL 25-27
“The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Now you, son of man, raise a lamentation over Tyre, and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrances to the sea, merchant of the peoples to many coastlands, thus says the Lord God.” – Ezekiel 27:1-3
The rest of Ezekiel 27 details the lamentation against Tyre.
But, what does lamentation have to do with Jesus?
Knowing the meaning of the name Tyre gives us a clue. Tyre simply means rock. And, while there was an old part of the city on the mainland, the city proper, the fortified city, was on a rock out in the sea.
After Moses told Israel they would do evil in the sight of the Lord and provoke him to anger, Moses wrote a song. Deuteronomy 32:31 records a very interesting line in this song. It says, “For their rock is not as our Rock.” At times, gods in the ancient world were thought of as rocks. Here, Moses is saying that that the gods of the peoples around Israel, their rock, was not as the Rock of Israel. Of, course we know that this Rock that Moses referred to is Jesus.
So, we have Tyre. A rock that dwells at the entrances to the sea. The sea often symbolizes a great mass of humanity in the Bible. The sea can also symbolizes evil and wickedness. It is where one of the beasts of Revelation came from.
And, Tyre, this rock in the sea, was the merchant of the peoples to many coastlands. As you read through the lamentation, you see all sorts of material goods that Tyre was the merchant or trader of among all the peoples. And, as you read through the lamentation, you will note that there are 37 peoples or lands listed that Tyre did commerce with.
Throughout the Bible, the number 37 symbolizes inheritance. Study the lives of the patriarchs and you fill find that often times the 37th mention of their name is associated with an inheritance or reward. Caleb’s name appears 37 times in the Bible. And, he is specifically noted for the inheritance he received in the promised land.
So, this lamentation of Tyre, a rock for the great mass of peoples, has to do with the what the people received through their commerce with Tyre. The lives of the peoples were derived and founded upon this commerce, this rock. In a sense, this lament is about the peoples of the world founding their lives on materialism and the things of this world.
But, in Jesus’ first sermon in the Matthew, his first sermon as king, the sermon on the mount, Jesus says some interesting things about building the foundation of your life on the rock of materialism.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves, break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money [mammon or possessions].”
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
In everyone of these statements, Jesus is saying not to have the foundation of your life be material possessions, the things of this earth, the things of this life.
Instead, God is spirit. And, we need to put ourselves in a position to worship God in spirit. And, this spirit has to do with Jesus, the Rock, and the rock we build our lives on.
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.”
What was the rock Jesus said he would build his church upon?
The answer is in the previous verse. Jesus said, “Blessed are Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
Instead of the rock of commerce and the material world, we are to build are lives on the rock of spiritual revelation directly from the Father. And, that spiritual revelation from the Father is always about the Rock, Jesus.
When we will build our lives upon the Rock, Jesus Christ, we receive, not an earthly, but a spiritual inheritance, which will become a material inheritance as we receive the whole earth. Just read Ephesians 1 and Romans 8. And, of course, Matthew 5:5, which says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”