Ezekiel 3:16-6:14; Hebrews 4:1-16;
Psalm 104:24-35; Proverbs 26:27
As Daddy said, life is 95 percent anticipation.
Have you ever wondered what God's purpose is for you? Do you sometimes wish that He would just come down and tell you what you are supposed to do with your life? Well, that is exactly what happens to Ezekiel. He has already had his vision of God's glory by the Kebar River. It has left him dumbstruck with awe. After seven days of silence, the Lord speaks to Ezekiel again. He tells Ezekiel that He is going to make him a watchman for Israel.
Today, Ezekiel is to give God's messages to Israel during their dark times of sin and rebellion. He will have to warn the community of God's coming judgment of sin. Ezekiel will have to be a physical representation of many of God's messages. In our passage today, Ezekiel is asked by God to do seven different things as a sign to the Israelites of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and God's punishment for their sin of idolatry. Here are God's illustrations through Ezekiel:
- Ezekiel was to shut himself up in his house, where God would bind him in ropes so that he could not go out among the people. He would be unable to pray for the people or speak to them until God decided He was ready for a message to be given to the Israelites.
- Ezekiel was to take a large brick and draw a map of Jerusalem on the brick. He was to build siege ramps and surround the model of the city of Jerusalem with enemy camps and battering rams. An iron griddle was to be placed between Ezekiel and this model to show how Babylon would destroy Jerusalem.
- Ezekiel was to lie on his left side with the sins of Israel upon him for 390 days. He was then to turn over and lie on his right side for 40 days to also carry the sins of Judah upon himself. Are we having fun yet?
- He was to continue to lie there and demonstrate a siege situation on Jerusalem.
- He was to store various grains in a jar and make bread from those grains to eat in rations. He was also to ration water to drink each day. The bread was to be baked over human dung to represent the Israelites being unable to gather fire wood. Ezekiel protested to God about this as it would defile him. God agreed that Ezekiel could use cow dung as fuel, instead. Small victories...
- Ezekiel was to shave his head and beard. He was to burn one third of it on the brick model of Jerusalem, scatter a third across Jerusalem (model), and scatter the last third to the wind. This represented the destruction of the people in Jerusalem and a scattering of a remnant.
- Ezekiel was to prophesy to the mountains, where so much idol worship took place under the large oak trees and every green tree in the mountains. He was to say that God would destroy the pagan shrines and altars and would litter the mountains with corpses.
Do you acknowledge that God is the only god in the universe? Are you a watchman against evil in our day?
Last time the author of Hebrews presented the concept that Jesus was greater than Moses and able to give believers a Sabbath rest. Today, he continues with this concept. Those who believe in Christ and have not hardened their hearts against his teaching and bodily sacrifice are able to enter into a rest that was planned and prepared before the foundation of the world.
This Good News was available to the Hebrews even in the Old Testament as they looked forward to the work of the Messiah, but just as the Jews wandered in the desert for forty years because of their unbelief and died in the wilderness never having reached the rest of the Promised Land, people now can miss the opportunity to experience the rest we have in Christ by not entering into faith.
Just as God rested after His work of creation, believers in Christ can rest from their labors of trying to please God by obeying the Law. Believers simply rest in the work of Christ on the cross.
This is how we can come boldly before the throne of God's glory. It is nothing short of miraculous. There we find grace and mercy, rather than judgment. Praise God!
Do you thank God for Jesus' role as our merciful High Priest?
Notice verse 30 that explains that God's Spirit is what brings forth new life. These thoughts and meditations about God are important and pleasing to our Creator. Think upon them today.
What you do to others will come back upon you. Be careful with how you act.
What did you notice as you read today?