We have here more plain dealing with the false prophets, and some further articles of their doom. We have seen the people made ashamed of the false prophets (though sometimes they had been fond of them) and casting them away, as they shall do their false gods, with indignation; now here we find them as much ashamed of their false prophecies, which they had sometimes depended upon with much assurance. Observe,
I. How the people are deceived by the false prophets. Those flatterers seduce them, saying, Peace, and there was no peace, Ezek. 13:10. They pretended to have seen visions of peace, Ezek. 13:16. But that could not be, for there was no peace, saith the Lord God. There was no prosperity designed for them, and therefore there could be no ground for their security; yet they told them that God was at peace with them, and had mercy in reserve for them, and that the war they were engaged in with the Chaldeans should soon end in an honourable peace, and their land should enjoy a happy repose and tranquillity. They told the idolaters and other sinners that there was neither harm nor danger in the way they were in. Thus they seduced God’s people; they put a cheat upon them, led them into mistakes, and drew them aside out of that way of repentance and reformation which the other prophets were endeavouring to bring them into. Note, Those are the most dangerous seducers who suggest to sinners that which tends to lessen their dread of sin and their fear of God. Now this is compared to the building of a slight rotten wall, or, according to our Saviour’s similitude, which is to the same purport with this (Matt. 7:26), the building of a house upon the sand, which seems to be a shelter and protection for a while, but will fall when a storm comes. One false prophet built the wall, set up the notion that God was not at all displeased with Jerusalem, but that the city should be confirmed in its flourishing state, and be victorious over the powers that now threatened it. This notion was very pleasing, and he that started it made himself very acceptable by it and was caressed by every body, which invited others to say the same. They made the matter look yet more plausible and promising; they daubed the wall, which the first had built, but it was with untempered mortar, sorry stuff, that will not bind nor hold the bricks together; they had no ground for what they said, nor had it any consistency with itself, but was like ropes of sand. They did not strengthen the wall, were in no care to make it firm, to see that they went upon sure grounds; they only daubed it to hide the cracks and make it look well to the eye. And the wall thus built, when it comes to any stress, much more to any distress, will bulge and totter, and come down by degrees. Note, Doctrines that are groundless, though ever so grateful, that are not built upon a scripture foundation nor fastened with a scripture cement, though ever so plausible, ever so pleasing, are not of any worth, nor will stand men in any stead; and those hopes of peace and happiness which are not warranted by the word of God will but cheat men, like a wall that is well daubed indeed, but ill-built.
II. How they will be soon undeceived by the judgment of God, which, we are sure, is according to truth. 1. God will in anger bring a terrible storm that shall beat fiercely and furiously upon the wall. The descent which the Chaldean army shall make upon Judah, and the siege which they shall lay to Jerusalem, will be as an overflowing shower, or inundation (such as Solomon calls a sweeping rain that leaves no food, Prov. 28:3), will bear down all before it, as the deluge did in Noah’s time: You, O great hailstones! shall fall, the artillery of heaven, every hailstone like a cannon-ball, battering this wall, and with these a stormy wind, which is sometimes so strong as to rend the rocks (1 Kgs. 19:11), much more an ill-built wall, Ezek. 13:11. But that which makes this rain, and hail, and wind, most terrible is that they arise from the wrath of God, and are enforced by that; it is that which sends them; it is that which gives them the setting on (Ezek. 13:13); it is a stormy wind in my fury, and an overflowing shower in my anger, and great hailstones in my fury. The fury of Nebuchadnezzar and his princes, who highly resented Zedekiah’s treachery, made the invasion very formidable, but that was nothing in comparison with God’s displeasure. The staff in their hand is my indignation, Isa. 10:5. Note, An angry God has winds and storms at command wherewith to alarm secure sinners; and his wrath makes them frightful and forcible indeed; for who can stand before him when he is angry? 2. This storm shall overturn the wall: it shall fall, and the wind shall rend it (Ezek. 13:11), the hailstones shall consume it (Ezek. 13:13); I will break it down (Ezek. 13:14) and bring it to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered; it will appear how false, how rotten it was, to the prophetical reproach of the builders. When the Chaldean army has made Judah and Jerusalem desolate then this credit of the prophets, and the hopes of the people, will both sink together; the former will be found false in flattering the people and the latter foolish in suffering themselves to be imposed upon by them, and so exposed to so much the greater confusion, when the judgment shall surprise them in their security. Note, Whatever men think to shelter themselves with against the judgments of God, while they continue unreformed, will prove but a refuge of lies and will not profit them in the day of wrath. See Isa. 28:17. Men’s anger cannot shake that which God has built (for the blast of the terrible ones is but as a storm against the wall, which makes a great noise, but never stirs the wall; see Isa. 25:4), but God’s anger will overthrow that which men have built in opposition to him. They and all their attempts, they and all the securities wherein they intrench themselves, shall be as a bowing wall and as a tottering fence (Ps. 62:3, 10); and when their vain predictions are disproved, and their vain expectations disappointed, then it will be discovered that there was no ground for either, Hab. 3:13. The day will declare what every man’s work is, and the fire will try it, 1 Cor. 3:13. 3. The builders of the wall, and those that daubed it, will themselves be buried in the ruins of it: It shall fall, and you shall be consumed in the midst thereof, Ezek. 13:14. And thus the threatenings of God’s wrath, and all the just intentions of it, shall be accomplished to the uttermost, both upon the wall and upon those that have daubed it, Ezek. 13:15. The same judgments that will prove the false prophets to be false will punish them for their falsehood; and they themselves shall be involved in the calamity which they made the people believe there was no danger of, and become monuments of that justice which they bade defiance to. Thus, if the blind lead the blind, both the blind leaders and the blind followers will fall together into the ditch. Note, Those that deceive others will in the end prove to have deceived themselves; and no doom will be more fearful than that of unfaithful ministers, that flattered sinners in their sins. 4. Both the deceivers and the deceived, when they thus perish together, will justly be ridiculed and triumphed over (Ezek. 13:12): When the wall has fallen shall it not be said unto you, by those that gave credit to the true prophets, and feared the word of the Lord, “Now where is the daubing wherewith you have daubed the wall? What has become of all the fine soft words and fair promises wherewith you flattered your wicked neighbours, and all the assurances you gave them that the troubles of the nation should soon be at an end?” The righteous shall laugh at them, the righteous God shall, righteous men shall, saying, Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength, Ps. 52:6, 7. I also will laugh at your calamity, Prov. 1:26. They will say unto you (Ezek. 13:15), “The wall is no more, neither he that daubed it; your hopes have vanished, and those that supported them, even the prophets of Israel,” Ezek. 13:16. Note, Those that usurp the honours that do not belong to them will shortly be filled with the shame that does.