Today is Day 66 in our journey through the Bible in 90 days.
Although we’re reading at the same pace still, it may feel like things are really picking up. Now that Ezekiel and Daniel close out the last of the “Major Prophets,” and the rest of the Old Testament is the “Minor Prophets.” It took us 5 weeks to read the last 13 books of the Bible, and it will take us less than 1 week to read the next 13! That means I have my blogging work cut out for me!
If you’ve never read Ezekiel before, you may have thought that it was set in Roswell, NM – the home of aliens and Area 51. Let me reassure you – that’s not the case. The book is, however, set in a foreign land – the land of Babylon. Israel had been warned that God’s judgment was coming and Ezekiel’s ministry to Israel begins after the attack and subsequent exile.
There are plenty of things throughout Ezekiel that may have rung a bell after reading through Jeremiah – language, wording, names, events, descriptions, etc. That would make sense because Ezekiel and Jeremiah (as well as Daniel) were contemporaries – they knew each other. Although Ezekiel never mentions Jeremiah, he eventually became known as “the prolongation of the voice of Jeremiah.”
Although they lived at the same time, they each had a different audience. Jeremiah ministered to God’s people before judgment hit; Ezekiel ministered to them as an exile after judgment had hit; and Daniel ministered to them as an exile within the kings’ courts. All 3 of them are great reminders that God has given us a specific sphere of influence. Although Ezekiel and Daniel lived in the same city, they both reached very different groups of people in very different ways. I will never meet some of the people in your life and you will never met some of the people in mine. Therefore, it’s our job to share the Gospel with those around us – don’t wait for the “pros” to come along and take care of it for you.
The book of Ezekiel is full of interesting visions and demonstrations of prophecies. Often instead of giving him the words to say, God instead gave him things to act out (the sign of the brick, the sign of famine, the sign of the sword, etc.). You could call him “The Charades Prophet,” if you’d like.
It wouldn’t have been easy to act these things out, and they probably opened him up to a lot of criticism and mockery…but he did it anyway. He was faithful to complete the task that God had given him. We need more Ezekiels!
Surely his darkest day came in Chapter 24 when God told him of the demise of the Temple as well as his wife. But God took it even further than that – He told Ezekiel to not even mourn over the death of his wife! Watch how clearly he obeyed…
So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died; and the next morning I did as I was commanded. – Ezekiel 24:18.
THAT is obedience!
Thankfully, those commands are the exception to the rule. God’s not saying there’s anything wrong with mourning over the death of a loved one, but He was giving a sign to His people through the actions of His prophet. The lesson: Ezekiel obeyed regardless how hard it was.
The great news for God’s people was that judgment wouldn’t last forever. After 70 years, the exile would be over and the future restoration of Israel lay ahead.
That’s the story for all of God’s people today. Life is hard, trials, suffering, and pain are deep and dark…but they don’t last forever. Restoration and glorification are coming.
“…And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.” – Ezekiel 48:35
One day, we’ll live in the place where the Lord is too! I. CAN’T. WAIT!!