The Woman in the Ephah
Outlines by London Minister
Zechariah 5:5-11
Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said to me, Lift up now your eyes, and see what is this that goes forth.…

The question of the angel, and the answer of the prophet, suggest —

1. That the medium of Divine thought may be obscure to human understanding.

2. That which we are to communicate to others must be seen clearly by ourselves.

3. That what is difficult to one servant of God may be clear to another. The vision probably refers to the general sin of the nation, which reached its height in the rejection of Messiah, after which the nation was entirely removed from the land. It suggests —

I. THAT TIME IS NEEDED FOR A NATION TO COMPLETE ITS DESTRUCTION, AS WELL AS FOR ITS CONSTRUCTION. The ephah is a measure of considerable size; the idea conveyed is that, when it is full, it is lifted up and carried away. The filling takes time, and the nation to which the vision pointed did not all at once fill up the measure of its iniquity. Wickedness is allowed to go on unchecked for a certain period, but only to give space for repentance.

II. SIN FIRST IMPRISONS THE SINNER, AND THEN SEPARATES HIM FROM THE DIVINE PRESENCE. A talent of lead shuts the woman into the ephah, which is then borne into the land of Shinar. This foretells the constant dwelling of the Jews among the Gentile nations. The man who finds himself in a condemned cell is really shut in and banished from his own choice. So it was with the Jewish nation, and so it is with every man who rejects God's plan of regenerating him. He is self-imprisoned and self-banished.

III. THOSE WHO REJECT GOD'S PLAN OF RESTORATION WILL BE LEFT TO THEIR OWN. God offered to the Jewish nation a sure foundation upon which to rebuild their national greatness (see Isaiah 28:16). This they would not accept. Therefore they were banished from their land, and, in the words of this prophecy, "set there upon their own base." They were left to be their own national architects and defenders, and the history of their bitter sufferings for many centuries, and their present inability to gather themselves into a national whole, shows how ill they succeed who prefer their own way to that which God offers to them. This truth applies equally to every man who rejects the only foundation upon which his character can be rebuilt into its original greatness.

(Outlines by London Minister.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth.

WEB: Then the angel who talked with me came forward, and said to me, "Lift up now your eyes, and see what is this that is appearing."

The Woman in the Ephah
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